Massage Therapy Notes – Iliocostalis

Therapist Notes include:
Anatomy review,
Syndromes and Conditions,
Assessment notes,
Treatment Preparation,
NMT protocols and more…

Massage and bodywork for iliocostalis thoracis may involve more than local joint work and trigger point release. Overstretching of the iliocostalis is often due to chronic flexion of the trunk. In that case, pelvic balancing focus on the anterior thorax for lasting relief. In those cases, use these suggestions for palliative relief.

This section of the erector spinae ties the lateral angles of the ribs to the lower cervicals and pelvis. Read more in this post about iliocostalis


Treatment Sequencing

MET for pelvic balancing

Pelvic balancing and postural correction facilitate lasting results in this treatment. Each approach has its process of postural correction. I start with craniostructural work and often use pelvic blocking or MET. At times, a series of sessions is needed for chronic cases.

The classical neuromuscular routine for the lamina groove routine relaxes the client and mobilizes the joints along the spine. Before and after this routine, check the tension in the erector spinae. In most cases, the back is much softer and receptive to work after this routine.

Friction along the angles of the ribs. Note how this point of attachment is much closer to the spine in the upper thoracic region. In the mid-back, along rib R7-R8, the angle of the ribs is further from the spine. Stimulating the tendon attachments of iliocostalis releases the muscle proprioceptively.

This protocol is a simple set of broad glides. Precede this treatment with appropriate joint and attachment work for the best results.



This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began improving the format. We are also adding more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We appreciate your input and feedback. You will see us adding posts and updating older posts as time permits.


Weekly Featured Post

This post shows you how to press out the trigger points and stretch the infraspinatus muscle. It’s a small muscle on the back of the shoulder but creates a number of problems, including:

  • shoulder pain when sleeping
  • loss of grip strength
  • upper neck pain
  • pain along the inside edge of the shoulder blade

Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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