What causes Slipped Ribs & How do I Heal a Slipped Rib?

What causes Slipped Ribs & How do I Heal a Slipped Rib?

What is Slipping Rib Syndrome?

Costovertebral Joints

Costovertebral Joints (where slipped rib occurs)

Slipping rib Syndrome occurs when the joint(s) that form between your ribs and spine and/or between your sternum and ribs move out of alignment.  The condition can also be referred to as tietze’s syndrome or Chostochondritis (usually referring to the joints between the sternum and ribs located in the chest wall). After this injury occurs, the ligaments that hold the joint together get stretched.   This “stretch” creates irritation, pain, discomfort in the upper back (sometimes down the arm) and the opportunity for the rib to slip out of place again. Often times, it can feel as if a dagger is digging in between your shoulder blades and can cause shortness of breath (appearing like a heart attack or panic attack).

What Causes Slipping Rib Syndrome?

Slipping Rib Syndrome occurs frequently however is often misdiagnosed and thus under-reported. It is caused by various reasons.  Bending, twisting, lifting can cause the rib to slip.  Furthermore,  it may be caused by trauma to the body such as being tackled from the side in sports or getting hit in a car accident, prolonged or forceful coughing, uneven lifting of heavy objects (furniture, heavy backpacks, luggage, lifting winter/summer tires, etc).

How Can I Treat my Slipped Rib? 

There are many approaches to treat a slipped rib: anti-inflammatories, chiropractic care, physical therapy and strengthening, and sometimes prolotherapy (Prolotherapy, also called proliferation therapy or regenerative injection therapy is an alternative medicine treatment of tissue with the injection of an irritant solution into a joint space, weakened ligament, or tendon insertion to relieve pain).

How do I treat a slipped rib with Chiropractic?

Slipped ribs can be treated by various chiropractic techniques.  One technique is to relax the musculature with heat, interferential current (electromodality that assists in pain reduction), acupuncture, and registered massage therapy.  These techniques will assist in realigning the rib(s) and vertebrae.  A second technique is to adjust the rib(s).  This will also assist in realigning the rib and vertebrae into a ‘normal’ or more comfortable position.

What is an adjustment?

The Ontario Chiropractic Association defines an adjustment as a highly skilled and precise movement usually applied by hand to a joint of the body.  Adjustment loosens the joint to restore proper movement and optimize function. When a joint is adjusted, a gas bubble escapes causing the popping noise you may have heard about. Chiropractic adjustment techniques have been researched extensively. Complications are rare and side-effects, such as temporary soreness, are usually minor.    

How is a slipped rib adjusted by a Chiropractor?

One technique is to have the patient lie on his/her stomach on a chiropractic table.  The adjustment is applied by the chiropractor to the area where the slipped rib(s) is/are irritated.  The adjustment to the area is very quick.  Following the adjustment, the patient usually knows whether or not that rib(s) is/are still irritating them.  Most of the time the pain goes away.  Sometimes, the muscles around the slipped rib remain tender to the touch.  Another techniques is to have the patient sit at the end of the chiropractic table.  The patient sits facing away from the table.  The patient is lowered onto the table and will usually feel the pop or click once he/she reaches the table.  Trained Chiropractors and other trained practitioners can perform this rib adjustment procedure in various ways.  Always consult a trained health practitioner when contemplating treatment.

Please note that I have NOT exhausted and discussed all the options for dealing with a slipped rib.  I have only touched on a few that I find work for my patient’s.  Do your  own research and if you have any questions, please send them along and I will do my best to address them. 

Hope you find this information beneficial. 

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The following information is my personal notes about this subject matter. It is intended for informational purposes only. Consult a health practitioner to help you diagnose and treat injuries of any kind.



About the Author:

Chiropractor Dr. Luciano Di Loreto

Dr. Luciano Di Loreto graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (2010) as a Doctor of Chiropractic and obtained a certificate in Medical Acupuncture at McMaster University (2010). At his practice Fit for Life Wellenss & Rehabilitation Centre located in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, Dr. Luciano Di Loreto combines evidence-based chiropractic care with a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to health care. He is an approachable, passionate, and diligent practitioner with a focus on delivering exceptional acute, preventative, rehabilitative and supportive care for a variety conditions relating to the muscle, nerve, and bone. During his spare time, Dr. Luciano Di Loreto takes pleasure in spending time with his family and friends. He enjoys fishing and playing sports (tennis, padel and soccer).



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Dr. Luciano Di Loreto