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Rib Pain: What Causes It, and How Can I Get Rid of It?

Anyone that has had rib pain can tell you it is not fun at all.  Rib pain typically presents itself as pain just outside the spine on the back; although, it can extend to the front of the chest too.  Rib issues can make also it difficult and painful to breathe.  These issues are often a result of restrictions or improper seeding of the rib head joint with the thoracic spine.  


So what causes these rib issues?  Sometimes, it can often be as simple as a hard cough or sneeze.  Another common cause of rib head issues is improper form or too much of a pushing exercise such as bench press, pushups, or punching.  When you push your arms forward and your scapulae retracts, the ribs move as well.  This produces a lever action on the costovertebral joint (the joint the rib makes with the spine).  Too much of this action or too much force, combined with weakness of the posterior muscles, can cause the rib head to push back in the joint, or in severe cases dislocate.   When the rib head is affected the muscles surrounding it tend to tighten up a lot.  This can help protect that joint, but can cause a lot of discomfort at the same time.   

So what do I do about it?  At Nashville Chiropractic we see these rib issues almost daily.  It is a very common occurrence due to people working out and neglecting the back muscles, or the back muscles becoming weak from years of desk work and sitting.  Typically, we are able to resolve these problems with a few visits.  By adjusting the rib head and promoting proper thoracic extension, usually the pain is greatly reduced after a few adjustments.  BUT that's not the end.  Ribs tend to be recurrent, so we need to address the surrounding musculature to strengthen the area around the ribs and prevent future injuries.  

If you are having, or commonly get, rib pain give us a call at (615) 620-0904.  We can address the issue and get you back to feeling and moving better.