Franklin Chiropractor | Rib Dysfunctions
Rib Dysfunction You have 12 pair of ribs that attach to the “thoracic” region of your spine. The ribs serve to protect your heart, lungs, and other vital organs. Each rib is shaped much like a “bucket handle”arching from your spine to your breastbone (sternum) in front. Your ribs must move freely when you breathe, bend, twist, and reach. The term “costovertebral dysfunction” or “rib subluxation”, means that one or more of your ribs has become restricted or slightly malpositioned from it’s attachment to the spine. You can visualize this as imagining one of your bucket handles is misaligned and not moving in sync with the others. Rib problems can develop in many ways. Sometimes they’re brought on by an accident or injury; other times, they develop from repetitive strains or poor posture. Rib malpositions are common during pregnancy or after a whiplash injury. Symptoms sometimes begin following a sudden or explosive movement, like coughing or sneezing, reaching, pushing, or pulling. Other times, a specific cause cannot be recalled. Rib dysfunction may cause pain near or slightly to the side of your spine with possible radiation of symptoms along your rib, sometimes all the way to the front. Some patients feel as though they were “shot by an arrow.” Rib problems are a frequently overlooked source of chest and abdominal pain. Be sure to tell your Franklin chiropractor if your symptoms include any unusual cough, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, fever, flu-like complaints or if you notice a rash developing along the border of your rib. Seek immediate medical treatment if you notice chest “pressure” or “squeezing”, symptoms that radiate into your arm and jaw, or if you have chest pain or shortness of breath with exertion, as these are possible symptoms of heart problems and must be addressed immediately. Most patients report rapid relief following chiropractic care. Your Franklin chiropractor can provide several tools to help ease your pain. To speed your recovery, you should avoid activities that increase your pain. Initially, you may need to limit reaching, pushing, and pulling. Women may benefit by temporarily switching to a sports bra to help better diffuse pressure over irritated ribs. Some patients report relief by using sports creams, NSAIDs, or applying ice for 15-20 minutes directly over the painful area. Our Treatment Joint Manipulation -Your Franklin chiropractor has found joints in your body that are not moving freely. This can cause tightness and discomfort and can accelerate unwanted degeneration i.e. arthritis. Your Franklin chiropractor will apply a gentle force with their hands, or with hand held instruments, in order to restore motion to any “restricted” joints. Sometimes a specialized table will be used to assist with these safe and effective “adjustments”. Joint manipulation improves flexibility, relieves pain and helps maintain healthy joints.
Therapy Modalities -We may apply electrotherapy modalities that produce light electrical pulses transmitted through electrodes placed over your specific sites of concern. These comfortable modalities work to decrease your pain, limit inflammation and ease muscle spasm. Hot or cold packs are often used in conjunction, to enhance the effect of these modalities. Another available option is therapeutic ultrasound. Ultrasound pushes sound vibrations into tissues. When these vibrations reach your deep tissues, heat develops and unwanted waste products are dispersed. Therapeutic Exercise -Muscle tightness or weakness causes discomfort and alters normal joint function, leading to additional problems. Your Franklin chiropractor will target tight or weak muscles with specific therapeutic stretching and strengthening to help increase tissue flexibility, build strength, and ease pain. Healthy, strong, and flexible muscles may help prevent re-injury. Your Home Exercises Patients often ask “What caused my problem and how do I keep it from returning?” Sometimes the origin of a condition may be easily identified as an accident or injury. More often, the exact cause is more difficult to pinpoint because the problem was generated by a series of seemingly harmless events and circumstances (i.e. your posture, increased activity, mild repetitive strains, etc). Most conditions are started by a “recipe” of irritants rather than any single “ingredient”. Muscle, bone, joint and nerve problems begin when life’s physical demands exceed your bodies tolerance for those challenges. So the answer to the second half of the “…and how do I keep it from returning” question is answered by increasing your flexibility and strength, so you can increase your “threshold” for future injury. When your injury threshold is greater than life’s demands-you win and stay healthy! The following exercises have been specifically selected by your Franklin chiropractor to assist with your recovery and help minimize future problems. Exercises should be performed slowly and within a relatively comfortable range. Maintain good posture and breathe naturally. Do not hold your breath. Unless otherwise instructed, stop any exercises that cause pain, or radiating symptoms. Foam Roller- Spine -While seated on the floor with a foam roller positioned directly behind you, lie back onto the foam roller. Elevate your pelvis and begin gently rolling back and forth over the roller. If less pressure is desired, this exercise may be performed upright, against a wall. Perform for one minute, twice per day or as otherwise directed. Additionally, laying on the foam roller with your tailbone, spine, and head resting on the roller
is a great relaxation exercise. Allow your arms fall to the side with elbows touching the ground as you relax on the roller for 1 minute. Cat/Camel -Begin on all 4’s, keeping your back in neutral position. Keep your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Extend your neck and back at the same time into a Mad Cat position. Next, flex your neck and back at the same time to drop into an, Old Horse position. Repeat in a slow coordinated movement for 20 repetitions. Perform 3 sets of 20 repetitions twice per day, or as directed. YTWL Scapular Depression -Stand with your straight arms raised above your head in a “Y” position. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and downward throughout the following sequence of movements. Lower your straightened arms to shoulder level, into a “T” position. Next bend your elbows so that your fingers are pointing straight up while slightly lowering your elbows to make a “W”. Finally, while keeping your elbows bent 90 degrees, lower your arms to your sides so that your elbows are touching your ribs to form an “L” on each side and squeeze. Hold each position for 1-2 seconds and repeat 3 sets of 10 repetitions, twice per day or as directed