Rib Pain Without a Fracture: What’s Causing It?!


Hey guys it’s Hina Sheth from Rebalance Physical Therapy in Philadelphia and Narberth on the Main Line of Pennsylvania!

I’m here to talk to all of you who have been experiencing rib pain after having a fall or some type of traumatic incident around the chest or rib cage. Maybe you’ve been to the ER and they didn’t find a fracture or maybe you did have a fracture and it healed but you’re still having pain. You might be feeling chest pain, stiffness or like you can’t breathe.

All of these things could be signs that you’re still having issues around the rib joint and that there’s some sort of musculoskeletal involvement.

Rib cage 101: What muscles does my rib cage connect to?

Your sternum is at the front of your rib cage and the ribs are connected to the sternum by cartilage. In the back, the ribs attach to your thoracic spine.  Layered on top of these joints is a ton of muscle and tissue.

The intercostal muscles connect in between the ribs and the pectoralus muscles are on top of the front of your rib cage. The serratus muscles connect through the ribs and onto your shoulder blade in the back.

Shoulder and Neck Pain Could Be Related to Your Rib Pain

Your rib cage moves with your shoulder and neck. If your rib cage isn’t functioning right, those muscles can protectively tighten and prevent your head, neck and shoulder from moving properly. If the joints are moving incorrectly, over time this can cause shoulder and neck pain and become a musculoskeletal issue over time.

How can Physical Therapy help?

If you’re experiencing consistent pain, there could be something going on in between all the muscles. This means making adjustments to skeletal alignment might not be enough. An integrative holistic physical therapist can work on realigning the whole body and address skeletal, muscular and soft tissue issues that could be contributing to your rib pain.

Want more information? You can schedule a complimentary phone consultation to discuss your symptoms here.

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