Is it your back? Is it a muscle? Is it a nerve? Maybe it’s a rib! Rib sprains are a pain in the back, and they’re a lot more common than you might think. Read on to learn more about this interesting injury…

Each rib joins to the spine via a synovial joint. This is the most common type of joint in the body, and it allowsmovement to occur. So our ribs aren’t fused to the spine, they are capable of movement. This is what allows them to rise and fall or move in and out with breathing.

The only problem with this is that whenever there is movement available at a joint, there is the potential for abnormal movements to occur. This abnormal movement is what causes a rib sprain.

So just like you can sprain a joint in your back (‘put your back out’), you can do the same with a rib. Usually this is caused by moving in a way that your body was not expecting. Some of the examples we have seen include:

  • Reaching to pick something up
  • Washing hair in the shower
  • Twisting
  • Sleeping in an awkward position

The key symptoms of a rib sprain are:

  • Pain in the middle or upper back that is only on one side
  • Pain with deep breathing and coughing
  • Sometimes the pain will travel around the side to the front of the chest

After the rib is sprained, if not treated, it can stay in the wrong position and become an ongoing issue. Occasionally it will settle back into place on its own.

Osteopathic treatment of a rib involves relaxing the surrounding muscles and using either joint manipulation or a more gentle technique to get the rib moving the way it should.

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned, why not call us for a thorough assessment, diagnosis and treatment.