How does the rib cage help me breathe?

The rib cage assists with breathing by using a pair of muscles located between each rib known as the internal intercostals and external intercostals.

The external intercostal muscles raise the rib cage and help with inspiration, or breathing in. The internal intercostal muscles lower the rib cage and help with expiration, or breathing out. (This answer provided for NATA by the University of Montana Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.