There are 12 pairs of ribs that attach to the thoracic region of the spine. The ribs protect your vital organs. Each rib is shaped much like a bucket handle, arching from the spine to the breastbone in front. The ribs should move freely when you breathe, bend, twist, and reach. The term “costovertebral dysfunction” or “rib subluxation” means that one or more of your ribs has become restricted or slightly malpositioned from their attachment to the spine. Rib problems can develop in many ways – sometimes they caused by an accident or injury; other times, they develop from repetitive strains or poor posture.

Rib dysfunction may cause pain near, or slightly to the side of, your spine with possible radiation of symptoms along your rib, sometimes all the way to the front. Some patients feel as though they were “shot by an arrow.” Rib dysfunction is a frequently overlooked source of chest and abdominal pain. Symptoms sometimes begin following a sudden or explosive movement, like coughing or sneezing, reaching, pushing, or pulling. Other times, a specific cause cannot be recalled. Rib malpositions are common during pregnancy or after a whiplash injury.

Be sure to tell your chiropractor if your symptoms include any unusual cough, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, fever, flu-like complaints, or if you notice a rash developing along the border of your rib. Seek immediate medical treatment if you notice chest pressure or squeezing, symptoms that radiate into your arm and jaw, or if you have chest pain or shortness of breath with exertion, as these are possible symptoms of heart problems and must be addressed immediately.

Most patients report rapid relief following chiropractic care for rib subluxation. Our office offers several tools to help ease your pain, including chiropractic care, acupuncture, and more.


Credit: Information on this page provided by ChiroUp.

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Dr. Kim is an excellent chiropractor. She has been able to diagnose and correct problems that other chiropractors said were chronic. Highly recommend her!

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Dr. Matt and the entire staff have been GREAT! I went in for some issues I was having with my neck and back and Dr. Matt also helped me with some other issues I was having with my calf and shoulders that have made a HUGE improvement in my overall health and comfort.

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