Rib Pain

May 31, 2022

Our rib cage is an integral part of our breathing patterns, everyday movements, and protection of our organs. They can become overworked and irritated like any other joint or muscle in our body.

Some common signs and symptoms of rib pain include:

⁃ Pain with breathing, coughing or laughing

⁃ Burning or achiness in the chest that sometimes wraps to the side of the thorax 

⁃ Pain under the shoulder blade that doesn’t seem to be resolved with a massage or trigger ball (which we sell at all of our Clinic locations).

Important steps to when you think you might be dealing with rib/thoracic pain:

Check your breathing patterns

⁃ Ineffective breathing can result in the recruitment of compensatory muscles resulting in over-active/irritated intercostals/ribs especially during hard exercise bouts when your breathing is laboured.

Check your posture

⁃ Having poor posture can place unnecessary load through your quadratus lumborum, paraspinal erectors and latissimus dorsi as they compensate for the abdominal muscles and lead to rib irritation. Make sure you are sitting up straight and keep those core muscles strong while lifting and twisting the spine.

Seek an assessment from a physiotherapist

⁃ Physio will help determine the underlining cause and if more intervention is needed.

⁃ Manual therapy can be very helpful to release acute muscle spasms around the rib cage and adjust any ribs that are not moving correctly.

⁃ An exercise prescription can help build core, thoracic strength and improve breathing patterns.

⁃ Physiotherapists can also check your overall alignment during sitting and movement patterns.

Rib pain is a very common cause of chest and mid back pain and fortunately can be helped!

If you have a question or are experiencing any symptoms, call: (780)458-8505 or email clinic@activephysioworks.com to book in with one of our physiotherapists today!


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We understand that you may have a few questions before visiting our clinics for your initial appointment.

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