External Intercostals

Muscle Origin

Inferior border of rib above to superior border of rib below.


Upper border of rib below.

Superior border of ribs below, passing obliquely downwards and backwards.


Contraction elevates ribs for inhalation.

Fix intercostal spaces during respiration. Aids forced inspiration by elevating ribs.

Innervation – Nerve controlanatomy-model-inside-thoracic-052-edited 2

Intercostal nerves.

The intercostal nerves are part of the somatic nervous system, and arise from the anterior rami of the thoracic spinal nerves from T1 to T11. The intercostal nerves are distributed chiefly to the thoracic pleura and abdominal peritoneum and differ from the anterior rami of the other spinal nerves in that each pursues an independent course without plexus formation. Wiki


Intercostal arteries.

The intercostal arteries are a group of arteries that supply the area between the ribs (“costae”), called the intercostal space. The highest intercostal artery (supreme intercostal artery or superior intercostal artery) is an artery in the human body that usually gives rise to the first and second posterior intercostal arteries, which supply blood to their corresponding intercostal space. It usually arises from the costocervical trunk, which is a branch of the subclavian artery. Some anatomists may contend that there is no supreme intercostal artery, only a supreme intercostal vein. Wiki

Antagonist muscles

Intercostales interni muscles.

Pictures of muscles


Trigger Point Referrals


Stretching description








Additional Resources
Sports Lab
American Academy of Manual Medicine

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