Rib Cage and Thoracic Spine Pain

Alleviating Upper and Mid-Back Pain by treating the Rib Cage and Thoracic spine

Ever fractured a clavicle, had the “wind knocked out of you”, fell out of a tree, or off a ladder and grabbed a rung on the way down. How about a hard football tackle or knocked about by a wave at the beach? Maybe it was a car airbag going off or a fall on your face. These are examples of trauma to the rib cage that likely sprained ligaments along with any of the other damage resulting in pain in the chest wall and thoracic spine.

The rib cage is the container that holds the lungs, heart, and diaphragm. It is generally neither noticed nor appreciated until pain arrives. Trauma to the ribs can sprain the ligaments that stabilizes the rib cage where the ribs connect to the vertebra (a common problem) or where the ribs connect to the sternum (less common). A sprain can also create scapula pain where the levator tendon attaches.

Some neck pain radiates up from an injured rib cage. Many of our patients have chronic and reoccurring neck pain that radiates around the first rib. The location of the proverbial “pain in the neck” is likely at the base of the neck radiating widely into the trapezius muscle into the scapula often affecting the ligaments around the top 4 ribs. Especially and vulnerable to ligament laxity is the top of the rib cage where the first rib attaches to the vertebra at the base of the neck. Chronic and reoccurring trapezius muscle tightness and pain respond to prolotherapy.

We treat many patients with mid-thoracic back pain that can be stubborn. result from too much computer work combined with an old trauma. The ligaments that connect the ribs to the spine including the ligaments between the spinus processes are often injured in a flexion injury like with a ball on the upper back and are aggravated by poor posture.

Prolotherapy correctly applied to the ligaments of the ribs and chest strengthens them. When combined with gentle spinal manipulation, this protocol generally produces pain relief and the capacity to resume activities and exercise.

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