Rib discomfort can be one of the most severe and annoying issues that can come up seemingly out of nowhere. It can force you to stop what you’re doing and, in some cases, make you stop altogether.

Back or Front?

Ribs have two attachments, one in the back and one in the front (for most of them at least). They form a function with the thoracic spine on the backside and then come around your sides and join with your sternum (breastbone) or cartilage coming off the sternum. This cage forms a protective barrier around your squishy bits that you don’t want to get crushed.

By having two attachments, you can be feeling the discomfort either in the back, the front, or even radiating around the sides following the rib itself. Generally, discomfort in the chest is duller and achier, in the back is sharper and stabbing and around the side is more shooting, but sometimes they don’t play by the rules.

The unfortunate fact about the location of the ribs is they can cause pain around the front left of the chest, which can make people mistake this discomfort for the beginning signs of a heart attack. Rib pain will not radiate into the jaw, left shoulder or down the arm most of the time. If you’re ever not sure it’s always best to get checked by the emergency room, it’s an important thing you want to take seriously. Hopefully, with this information, it can help put you at ease if this situation arises for you.

(Baby) Back Ribs

It can be challenging to differentiate between the thoracic spine and rib subluxation because they’re within such proximity to each other. While it can very well be that the complex is the issue, there are some signs to tell if it is primarily rib.

Generally, rib discomfort will bother the patient when they take a deep inspiration. While they are mostly there to protect the body, they do expand when you take a breath in. If they didn’t, your lungs wouldn’t be able to expand, and it might be hard to get air.

So, if you’re able to stabilize the midback spine and take a deep breath and it bothers you, it leads to the assumption that the ribs are the culprit. This test isn’t a surefire thing, and it’s best to leave the diagnosis to the chiropractor, but helping to lead them to the source isn’t a bad thing either.

You’re Being a Real Pain in my Ribs

As mentioned above, rib discomfort can be one of the most uncomfortable things to experience. Manipulating such a small joint leads to being more difficult to adjust and, thus, calm down.

Even when it can be adjusted, the most common sign is a shift from the discomfort being sharp to duller if it’s in the back where it most commonly is. After restoring movement, ribs require a little more work and love to calm down and have them stay where they need to get long-lasting relief.

For more information about rib dysfunction look to another chiropractor right here for their take!

Here at Express Chiropractic of Frisco, we’re here to be able to help you through all the twists and turns of life. Whether it’s ribs, your back, your neck, or anything in between, we will be there to help guide you through your health journey and make sure you’re in the right place to receive care.

Your first visit includes a consultation, a history, exam, adjustment (if warranted), and a 10-minute massage by our licensed massage therapist to help you get back on your feet. Best of all, with this certificate, you can receive $10 off your initial visit!

We look forward to seeing you and joining you for your health voyage.