Although there are many different causes of rib pain that will in no ways respond to my TISSUE REMODELING TREATMENT (costochondritis, osteoporosis, fracture, etc), there are many people whose rib pain can be effectively treated by what I do in my clinic.
Although rib problems are not typically dangerous like a ruptured disc can be (unless you happen to shatter them in a terrible accident), rib pain can be severe to the point that people think they are dying. I frequently see patients who come to me after getting an air-evac ride to the hospital, and then ending up being run through several days worth of cardio tests that cost more than the house they are living in. Their conversation with their cardiologist frequently goes something like this:
“Thank Goodness Mr Jones! We have run every conceivable test — many of them several times over. We cannot seem to find a single thing wrong with you. Everything appears to be just fine. You are as healthy as the proverbial horse, and your heart is just about perfect.“
“But doc, why am I still having the same pain that I came in here with in the first place?”
(deer-in-the-headlights look) “That is a great question Mr. Jones. Be sure and ask your family doctor when you see him later this week.“
If you think I am over-exaggerating, you would be wrong. I see at least two patients a month (often more), who have been through an almost identical scenario. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want people showing up in my office in the middle of a heart attack. But something is rotten in Denmark when it takes several days, a $20,000 helicopter ride, and the better part of a hundred grand to (incorrectly) tell someone that there is “nothing” wrong with them.
ANATOMY OF THE RIB CAGE
To understand some of the most common causes of rib pain, we have to understand a little bit of anatomy (see the picture at the top of the page). There are typically 12 pairs of ribs that make up the “rib cage”. As you already know, the rib cage surrounds and protects several organs (chiefly the lungs). All ribs attach to the spine, and the “Thoracic Spine” is the 12 vertebrates that the ribs attach to. In the front, ribs (or more correctly, the rib cartilages) attach to the sternum or breast bone. The lowest two or three ribs are said to “float” because they do not have a bony or cartilage attachment in the front.
An important fact to remember is that ribs move. I know that ribs feel like they are anchored to the spine, but trust me — they move. You can feel this simply by putting your hands on your ribs and breathing deeply. When ribs do not move properly, not only can it hurt (sometimes terribly), it almost always hurts specifically to cough, breathe, sneeze, laugh, hiccup, etc.
I frequently see patients who have ribs “out”. The technical term for this condition is SUBLUXATION. In a nutshell, “subluxation” means bones or joints that are either misaligned or not moving properly in relationship to each other. One of the beauties of subluxated ribs is that they usually respond to adjustment immediately. When they do not, I start to think of FASCIAL ADHESIONS that could be restricting rib motion and causing pain.
Another fact that people may not be aware of is just how much “tissue” attaches to ribs. Much of this is fascia, although there are ligaments, tendons, and muscles as well. Let’s look at a few pictures of the tissues that attach to ribs.
Rib pain is common. Dog common. Just yesterday I treated a woman who had torn a rib fascia while coughing. she is a tough gal, but her pain was about as severe as anything that I see in my clinic.
Rib tissues can be injured in a variety of ways. Coughing and sneezing are a couple of common ones. Throwing is also a fairly common way to injure these tissues (especially throwing something really heavy like a chunk of firewood). As you can imagine, rib injuries are common in sports. Not only are they found in contact sports like football, but they are also found frequently in baseball, softball, and even golf (swinging a bat or golf club can tear rib tissues and put even the “heavy hitters” on the D.L.).
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PAIN CAUSED BY A PROBLEM WITH, OR INJURY TO RIB TISSUES, CLICK.