By: Lisa M. O'Brien, PT, DPT, Cert. DN
Our rib cage is a very complex unit involved in allowing for proper breathing mechanics as well as protection of vital organs. The rib cage is constantly moving which can lead to pain if one or more ribs stop moving in sync with the other ribs.
Rib dysfunction is often overlooked in the diagnosis of mid back and chest pain and many people live with abnormal rib function for weeks to years without proper diagnosis. Having dysfunction in one or both sides of the ribs can cause pain in the upper to mid region of the back. A common symptom of rib pain is difficulty breathing or sharp pain with inhalation or exhalation. People with rib dysfunction commonly report, taking a deep breath reproduces their pain and they may have complications rotating their torso and bending forward or backward.
Referred pain is pain perceived in a region separate from the location of the primary source of pain. Referral patterns are common with rib dysfunction including chest pain and shoulder or arm pain/ discomfort.
Yes, I said CHEST PAIN. Although, it is important not to discredit chest pain as it may be indicative of more serious health problems including myocardial infarction (heart attack). The most common symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, lightheadedness, nausea/vomiting, neck/back or jaw pain, pain in one or both arms and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms and suspect a heart attack it is important to seek medical treatment immediately.
Common causes of rib pain include trauma from a fall, car accidents or from contact sports. Other causes include poor posture, arthritis, sudden strains and overuse strains from sports or physical activity/labor. The clinical diagnosis is usually attained through an in depth evaluation of the patient's history, reported symptoms, physical exam as well as other measures to rule out serious disorders to identify the origin of pain.
At Professional Rehabilitation Services, we specialize in designing a specific program for each patient to ensure successful recovery. Treatment for this condition may include exercises to stretch and strengthen muscles aiding in dysfunction. As well as, manual therapy involving joint and soft tissue mobilization to restore normal and pain free rib/trunk movement. No one should have to live with pain…if you are tired of dealing with aches and pains on a daily basis give us a call and see what we can do for you.
So, if you or someone you know, would like to know more about physical therapy options for a variety of conditions, seek the consultation of a physical therapist at one of our five locations or see your physician for a referral to one of our facilities. For further information on this or other related topics you can contact Lisa M. O'Brien, PT, DPT, Cert. DN (Murrells Inlet) (843) 314-3224, Richard A. Owens, PT, MS, OCS, Cert. SMT/DN/ART, CWcHP, (Surfside) (843) 831-0163, Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP, Cert. DN/SMT/ART (Myrtle Beach) (843) 839-1300, Jill Phelan, PT, DPT (Conway) (843) 733-3031, or Brian P. Kinmartin, PT, DPT, MTC, OCS, STC, CWcHP, Cert. DN (Pawley's Island) (843) 235-0200 or visit our website at www.prsrehabservices.com where you can learn more about the company and even download a referral form for your physician to fill out. You can also call and schedule a free 15-minute consultation!