Rib Dysfunction

How can ribs be “dysfunctional”

  • Nearly all your ribs are attached in 2 places: at your spine in your back & your sternum in the front of the chest.
  • Recent trauma, poor posture, less than ideal sleeping patterns & many other factors can all result in a mechanical dysfunction between your ribs & their attachments.
  • The rib cage is designed for protection (of the organs) and movement (during breathing and rotation). There are several muscles in between each rib along with nerves and blood vessels. That is why there is pain and muscle spasms that occur when a rib becomes misaligned.


  • A deep, dull, achy pain just next to your spine
  • Sharp pain underneath your shoulder blade
  • Pain or tenderness around the side or front of your chest
  • Pain during rotation of your torso
  • Pain that fluctuates or becomes sharp & stabbing with deep breathing, coughing,  laughing, or reaching.

Research shows that approximately 80% of chest pain cases are benign.


  • Chiropractors are specially trained to examine you for presence of rib dysfunction, as well as irritation & involvement of any surrounding muscle tissue.
  • Safe & appropriate adjustments to improve rib alignment & motion, as well as myofascial therapy to the surrounding muscles, often results in quick & effective recovery.
  • Recommendations on ergonomics, activity limitations & exercises are also given to aid in the healing process and prevent future rib issues.

Nearly 50% of ER or cardiac clinic visits are estimated to be spinal/muscular in origin.


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