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The Iliocostalis Muscle of the Back: Anatomy, Attachments, Actions, Innervation, and Blood Supply

The iliocostalis is a deep muscle of the back. It is located within the erector spinae muscle complex and can be divided into three parts - the lumborum, thoracis, and cervicis.

Attachments: The iliocostalis arises from the lower thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, sacrum, posterior aspect of the iliac crest, and the sacroiliac and supraspinous ligaments. It attaches to the costal angle of the ribs and the cervical transverse processes.

Actions: Unilaterally, the iliocostalis muscle acts to laterally flex the vertebral column. Bilaterally, the muscle acts to extend the vertebral column and head.

Innervation: The iliocostalis muscle is innervated by the posterior rami of the spinal nerves.

Blood Supply: The iliocostalis muscle is supplied by different arteries, depending on its location. The iliocostalis cervicis is supplied by the occipital, deep cervical, and vertebral arteries. The iliocostalis thoracis is supplied by dorsal branches of posterior intercostal and subcostal arteries, while the iliocostalis lumborum is supplied by dorsal branches of the lumbar and sacral arteries.

The iliocostalis muscle plays an important role in providing movement and stability to the back, and thus, proper understanding of its anatomy and functions are important for effective treatment of back-related issues.

Clinical Considerations Related to the Iliocostalis Muscle

Pain in the iliocostalis muscle is a common symptom that can be caused by various conditions. Some of the most common causes of this type of myofascial pain include muscle strain, tendon injury, or irritation to the nerve root. In rare cases, the pain can also be caused by bony or disc pathologies in the spine.

Diagnosis of iliocostalis muscle-related pain is usually based on patient history, physical examination, and imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans. Treatment of iliocostalis pain typically involves the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and physical therapy. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to provide relief of symptoms.

The iliocostalis muscle is an essential part of the back, and thus, proper attention should be paid to it when assessing for any type of back-related issues. Fortunately, with proper diagnosis and treatment, iliocostalis-related pain can be effectively managed.

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