Ribs Pain Rhode Island Chiropractic Clinic - Chiropractor Services

Ribs Pain  Rhode Island Chiropractic Clinic - Chiropractor Services

Ribs Pain, Chest Pain, Costochondritis, and Seatbelt injuries

If you are experiencing pain in your chest or torso, such as pain radiating from the front of the chest, pain upon taking a deep breath, pain in between or under the shoulder blades, the issue is most likely the result of a problem with your ribs. Rib pain is usually described as a sharp stabbing pain.

You may have woken up with these pains after sleeping or you may have been suffering with this type of pain for some time.

Our rib cage is the body structure which protects and supports the major organs in our torso. It is a complex mixtures of bones, joints, nerves, muscles and connective tissues.

Ribs attach to your middle back (thoracic spine) and at the front at the breast-bone, also called the sternum. The thoracic spine is made up of 12 thoracic vertebrae with 12 ribs on each side. Each rib has two joints at the back the spine and the top seven ribs have a joint at the front attaching to the breast-bone. The last two ribs do not attach to anything at the front and are therefore called floating ribs. Each rib connects to the body of the vertebra and to a bone on the side of the vertebrae, and sometimes to the disks. The joints are stabilised by ligaments and muscles. There are muscles found between the ribs and there are many muscles overlaying the ribs. There is also a nerve between each rib, which extends from the spine to the sternum along the course of the rib. All of these tissues can be damaged by a rib injury.

The chiropractic examination is first aimed at ruling out serious medical problems. It is then followed by a detailed examination of the joints and muscles. Dr Hopson will assess the movement of the individual ribs.

The aim of the treatment is to restore the movement, reduce pain and reduce any muscle spasm. Chiropractic is such a versatile treatment that is does not matter how old you are, if you are affected by osteoporosis or other medical problems. There is always a suitable treatment method the chiropractor can use that is safe and effective for you.

Chiropractic treatment is always worth considering if you have any chest, shoulder or arm pain. Never delay having a check-up. The longer you leave the problem the more difficult it will be to treat.

The Rhode Island Chiropractic clinic of Dr. Stephen Estner provides rib pain and chest pain and Costochondritis relief including (Click on a topic below for more information):

Ribs Pain

Most people think chiropractors only work on the spine. But there are lots of other conditions a good chiropractor can help you with also...even rib pain.

So...How do know if you have a rib that is out of alignment?

Well...usually you have some pain...either in the mid-back or the upper back. Or in the front of your chest on your sternum. And...it hurts when you take a deep breath. If the rib pain is really bad...it can hurt with normal breathing. In addition, you can have pain that radiates all the way from the back...around the rib...to the sternum.

You actually have nerves that run along the length of each rib called the intercostal nerve. When these nerves become irritated from a subluxated rib...it can cause all of the symptoms listed above. It can also be very difficult to sleep, as it is hard to sleep on your side.

The best thing to do if you think you have a rib out is to see a chiropractor right away and put some ice on the painful area to reduce inflammation. Sometimes the rib pain goes away quick...sometimes it takes a while, so hang in there.

Contact a Rhode Island Ribs Pain Chiropractor for Chiropractic Care today at 401.275.2225 or EMAIL US NOW

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Thoracic Misalignments

Thoracic Spine & Vertebrae

The thoracic spine contains 12 medium sized vertebrae all of which form articulations (joints) with 2 opposing ribs. Like other spinal vertebras in the neck and low back, the thoracic vertebrae act as attachments for muscles and ligaments in the middle portion of the spine and also encase and protect the middle portion of the spinal cord and thoracic nerve roots.

Because the thoracic vertebrae form strong articulations with the ribs, the mobility of the thoracic spine is less than that of the cervical and lumbar spines. Conversely, the restricted mobility of the thoracic spine protects the thoracic intervertebral discs and facet joints from the wear and tear experienced by the same structures in the other areas of the spine.

Common vertebral problems in the thoracic spine include vertebral subluxations, a condition where the vertebrae of the thoracic spine become statically misaligned and/or function abnormally resulting in pain, muscle spasm, and possible nerve malfunction.

Rib Articulations

The thoracic spine is unique in that a pair of ribs attaches to each of its vertebrae. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae and therefore, 24 ribs (12 on the left and 12 on the right). Just like the thoracic vertebrae can misalign and biomechanically malfunction, so too can its adjoining ribs. When ribs "go out" or misalign in relation to their connecting vertebrae, the individual will often experience sharp pains in the area of the misaligned rib head, especially on twisting movements, and difficulty and discomfort with taking a complete breath.

As with vertebral subluxations, chiropractic spinal adjustments are successful in treating rib misalignments. The adjustment repositions the rib to its correct position and normalizes impaired motion patterns.

Causes of Mid-Back Pain

Mid back pain is most commonly caused by irritation or injury to the muscles and ligaments of the thoracic spine. The commonness of poor postural habits, lack of adequate exercise and muscle conditioning, as well as the ever more popular "seated" lifestyles are all major contributors.

Chiropractors work hard to pinpoint and identify the exact problems of mid back pain so that only the safest and most effective treatments can be provided. Since the majority of mid back pain cases have a significant soft tissue component, chiropractic treatments are extremely beneficial.

Common contributing factors to the development of mid back pain include:

  • Lack of proper and periodic thoracic spinal adjustments
  • Presence of thoracic spine subluxations
  • Poor posture
  • Incomplete rehabilitation of past injuries
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Improper workstation setup
  • Prolonged use of non-ergonomically designed equipment
  • Improper bending and lifting techniques
  • Scoliosis (lateral deviation of the spine)
  • Excessive repetitive torso motions
  • Auto accidents
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet and nutritional practices
  • Smoking
  • Structures that are often the source of mid back pain include:
  • Thoracic facet joints and capsules
  • Costovertebral joints (joints between the thoracic vertebrae and ribs)
  • Thoracic paraspinal muscles and ligaments
  • Thoracic spinal nerves
  • Thoracic intervertebral discs

Most individuals experiencing mid back pain have a combination of:

  • Vertebral subluxations
  • Faulty spinal biomechanics
  • Improper firing patterns of spinal musculature
  • Deconditioned and weak spinal musculature
  • Poor postural habits
  • History of activities generating high levels of spinal stress
  • Poor diet and nutritional practices

Through the use of natural and safe procedures Chiropractic doctors have successfully treated mid back pain for over 100 years by correcting the underlying problems which cause and contribute to the majority of mid back pain cases.

Chiropractors use the chiropractic spinal adjustment as the main treatment method. It is a noninvasive technique consisting of a gentle, manual or mechanical applied force into specific segments of the spine. Spinal adjustments have been shown to decrease pain, increase spinal range of motion, decrease muscle spasm, reduce inflammation, optimize spinal biomechanics, and reduce the recurrence of previous injuries.

Other manual therapies such as trigger point therapy, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, massage, and acupressure therapy may be utilized to assist in the relaxation of paraspinal muscles and increase spinal mobility.

Back exercises designed to strengthen the paraspinal muscles are frequently prescribed to patients suffering from mid back pain so that they are less likely to fatigue during the day. When the muscles of the mid back fatigue easily and are weak the ability to maintain proper posture throughout the day is reduced and the risk for injury is increased. Stretches are also generally recommended to stretch the muscles of the chest as tightness in these muscles can place increased stress on the muscles of the mid back. Exercises and stretches can be performed outside the office without the assistance of the doctor.

In office physical therapies may also be used and can include hot and cold applications, muscle stimulation, interferential therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and diathermy.

Diet and nutrition also play a key role in the health of the spine. Without the proper nutrients, the thoracic spine and rest of the body are less able to remain healthy and heal after an injury.

Contact a Rhode Island Thoracic Misalignment Chiropractor for Chiropractic Care today at 401.275.2225 or EMAIL US NOW

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Rib Subluxation

In the back, the rib heads connect to the body of the vertebrae as they cross the transverse process. They connect with the vertebra above, the vertebra below, and the disc between them. Subluxations of the ribs can cause many problems because of compression on adjacent nerves. Subluxation of the upper ribs can cause referred pain and numbness down the arm. The pain may be so severe that you can hardly breathe and sleeping may be next to impossible.

Any extreme motion that pulls the arm back behind the body in a sudden jerking motion can also cause ribs to subluxate. An example would be someone whose upper ribs were subluxated by the force of an automobile accident. Someone like this may be in agony because the rib, whose joint capsule and ligaments were badly strained, continues to subluxate with even minor activity.

In dance, improperly turning the body is a situation that can lead to rib subluxation. The partner needs to be certain to keep the turning arm bent at the elbow and in front of her face. Weight lifting can cause the ribs to subluxate if the weight is too great or the breathing is improper. Wrestling and tackle football are more direct causes of knocking ribs out of place. Even coughing or breathing too deeply may cause ribs to subluxate.

Subluxated Ribs Chiropractic Treatment

The corrective adjustment is fairly simple. The chiropractor will use a drop table, activator (a hand-held instrument), or some efficient lever to quickly "pop" the rib back into its proper position. The adjustment must be made precisely and quickly. Total relaxation on the part of the patient is absolutely essential.

Patients should always:

  • Be aware of your posture - Avoid forward head posture - Get professional help if necessary, as I have explained in previous articles on proper posture.
  • Keep your back fit - A strong back with good posture is less likely to have problems.
  • Use good lifting techniques - Avoid motions that might cause rib subluxations.
  • If a rib does subluxate, see a chiropractor as soon as possible for proper treatment.

Contact a Rhode Island Rib Subluxation Relief Chiropractor today at 401.275.2225 or EMAIL US NOW

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Costochondritis (with unknown cause) is a common cause of chest pain in children and adolescents. It accounts for 10-30% of all chest pain in children. Annually, doctors evaluate about 650,000 cases of chest pain in young people aged 10-21 years. The peak age for the condition is 12-14 years.

Costochondritis is also considered as a possible diagnosis for adults who have chest pain. Chest pain in adults is considered a potentially serious sign of a heart problem by most doctors until proven otherwise. Chest pain in adults usually leads to a battery of tests to rule out heart disease. If those tests are normal, and your physical exam is consistent with costochondritis, your doctor will diagnose costochondritis as the cause of your chest pain. It is important, however, for adults with chest pain to be examined and tested before being diagnosed with costochondritis. Often it is difficult to distinguish the two, without further testing. The condition affects females more than males (70% versus 30%). Costochondritis may also occur as the result of an infection or as a complication of surgery on your sternum.

Tietze syndrome is often referred to as costochondritis, but the two are distinct conditions. You can tell the difference by noting the following:

  • Tietze syndrome usually comes on abruptly, with chest pain radiating to your arms or shoulder and lasting several weeks.
  • Sneezing, coughing, deep breathing, or twisting your chest can increase the pain.

Unfortunately, millions of people have ribs go out of place every year - from athletics, coughing, falling, injuries, osteoporosis, and more. Most get better on their own. Some get stuck and cause week, months, and even years of pain and suffering, finally ending up with an arthritic joint. The really unlucky ones go to their family physician, who has no idea that ribs can subluxate (go slightly out of place), nor how to put them back into place.

Sometimes a highly scientific mis-diagnosis of costochondritis or neuritis will result. Doctors don’t seem to understand that ribs subluxate or go out of place from time to time. If ribs get stuck, usually nothing less than an external force or adjustment will put them back into place, thus resolving the problem.

If a patient suffers from a common rib subluxation, an adjustment is the first treatment of choice. Since 99% of cases of costochondritis are caused in this manner, you are saved from expensive and dangerous invasive procedures. And if a rib subluxation is not the cause, you will know it overnight because the adjustment will do no good.

Ribs can cause all kinds of back, side, chest, and torso pain. The ribs can get dislodged at their connection in the spine, at their connection at the breastbone, or both. The pain comes from inflammation of the cartilage, and even pinched nerves which lie immediately below the ribs.

There are many ways to correct these subluxations.

Today there are non-force adjustments available. The most common and effective of these is Activator Method. Used mostly by chiropractors, the doctor uses a little tool which delivers a tiny thrust which can hardly be felt. It can be directed precisely in the direction needed. The method is amazingly effective and relief is usually enjoyed overnight. One to six adjustments will usually quickly and effectively resolve costochondritis caused by rib sublimation.


Frequently patients turn to acupuncture treatment to help with pain reduction. The insertion of very thin needles into specific pressure points can help promote better circulation and energy flow throughout the body. Stimulation with needles also prompts the body to release endorphins, the body's own natural pain-relieving substances.

Contact a Rhode Island Costochondritis Relief Chiropractor today at 401.275.2225 or EMAIL US NOW

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Cervicogenic Headaches

Cervicogenic headaches are headaches caused by the cervical spine.

Whether from chronic tension or acute whiplash injury, intervertebral disc disease or progressive facet joint arthritis, the neck can be a hidden and severely debilitating source of headaches. Such headaches are grouped under the term "cervicogenic headache," indicating that the primary contributing structural source of the headache is the cervical spine. There are well mapped out patterns of headache relating to a multiplicity of muscular trigger points in the neck and shoulder-blade (or peri-scapular) region, as well as to disc and joint levels in the upper cervical spine. Even headaches located predominantly in the forehead, or behind, in and around the eyes are very often "referred" pain zones for pathology located in the back of the neck and at the base of the skull. This base of the skull area is called the suboccipital region, because it is below the occipital part of the head. The joints connecting the top two or three levels of the cervical spine to the base of the skull handle almost 50% of the total motion of the entire neck and head region, thus absorbing a continuous amount of repetitive stress and strain, in addition to bearing the primary load of the weight of the head. Fatigue, postural malalignment, injuries, disc problems, joint degeneration, muscular stress and even prior neck surgeries all can compound the wear and tear on this critical region of the human skeletal anatomy. One may also develop a narrowing of the spinal canal itself, through which runs the spinal cord and all of its exiting nerve roots, leading to a condition termed spinal stenosis, also a possible source of headaches, among other symptoms.

Chiropractic Cervicogenic Headache Treatment

Treatment requires a thorough evaluation of the possible contributing factors, several of which often exist together. Physical therapy, provided by an expert spine therapist, is critical to the success of most other treatment modalities, whether those include pain injections or surgery or relaxation and posture techniques. Injections can take the form of muscle (or myofascial) trigger point blocks, nerve blocks or epidural spinal injections. The most effective injections for cervicogenic headaches usually end up being x-ray guided facet joint blocks, especially of the upper facet levels. These should only be performed by a physician trained, skilled and experienced in such procedures, as the area in the neck where they are given is quite complex. If investigation leads to discovery of significant enough disc or joint disease in the cervical spine, leading to altered load bearing in that area and pain, surgery is sometimes the best answer. Any particular treatment, however, is provided in the context of a comprehensive program addressing all of the issues and possible contributing factors noted above.

Chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture and massage are all excellent therapeutic options to assist in managing chronic pain problems or in arresting acute flare-ups of headache pain emanating from the neck area. A word of caution about such modalities, though, is that they are passive. A critical component of any long-term effective pain-management regimen is a committed, active participation of the patient. Triggering activities need to be recognized. Early pain-building warning signs must be learned and counter-acted. Posture and exercise need to be attended to, while stress must be diffused out of the body. Medications are very effective for cervicogenic headaches, to the degree that they can be tolerated while an individual goes on living a functional life. Certainly in severe pain crises, the paramount goal is to maximally relieve pain as quickly as possible. The balance is to work toward minimizing the number of crises one has to experience, whether through corrective treatment or proactive effective management.

Severe headaches are almost universally described as "oh this was a migraine," but true migraine variant headaches are thought to comprise only 8% of all headache episodes. The much more common, but just as severe, pounding, throbbing, stabbing and nauseating headaches originate from tension, absorbed most frequently in the body in the neck and shoulder region. The majority of these can fall into the category of cervicogenic headache. TMJ and sinus sources are in actuality small fractions of the primary etiologies of headaches. They certainly can be secondary contributors, which set off a smoldering major complex headache. But beware of sinus or major dental surgical procedures without at least a thorough evaluation of all diagnostic possibilities.

Remember, pain is invisible. Very few headaches "show up" on brain MRI scans. There is much to be seen and found in the high stress zone of the neck, however, and this area should be evaluated in detail and treated aggressively in anyone with chronic or recurrent headaches. Even patients with true migraines or cluster headaches will eventually also often end up with compounding cervicogenic headaches, because of the severe stress of the original headache in the first place. One headache is bad enough. No one needs two types to suffer under.

Contact a Rhode Island Cervicogenic Headache Chiropractic Clinic today at 401.275.2225 or EMAIL US NOW

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Car Seatbelt Injury

Another common type of personal injury experienced from a car accident is seatbelt injury. This is hardly surprising really when you think what happens in a car accident. Whether some car has rear ended your car or anther car has rammed into the side of your car you will be jerked forward or sideways. This thrust will have an effect on your body even if you are wearing a seatbelt. Obviously wearing a seatbelt is law and rightly so. There have been a number of studies into the safety of passengers and the tests showed that if you ware a seatbelt you are less likely to be injured as seriously than if you were not wearing one. All the same you can still be damaged by a seatbelt and in some case quite seriously.

Although lifesaving, the seatbelt causes misaligned ribs and vertebrae which in turn pinch and pull the nerves which are connected to these affected areas. The result is pain. Why go untreated after an automobile accident? Pain does not have to become a way of life after an accident. If you’re involved in an accident, whether it occurs on the job or on the road, contact our office for a complete post accident examination. It could save you from having to say, "....it’s never been the same after the accident."

Contact a Rhode Island Arm and Leg Pain Relief Chiropractor today at 401.275.2225 or EMAIL US NOW

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