What is slipping rib syndrome?

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According to Medical News Today, "Slipping rib syndrome is a condition where the lower ribs slip away from their usual position. It occurs because of a defect or hypermobility in the cartilage that connects the ribs to the rib cage." Slipping rib syndrome can cause a person to feel pain in their abdomen, lower chest, and lower back. The condition is rare, and it can often be difficult to diagnose. The constant slippage of the rib is also associated with past trauma, muscular degeneration, deformed rib cartilage in the lower ribs where the condition usually presents itself, or a severe cough that causes the rib to misalign according to this internet site. Medically, they often suggest anti-inflammatory medications, manipulation of the rib back into its normal position, nerve blocks, or injections. The problem with these often tried and failed methods are they rarely ever work, as the reason for the rib is often not the rib. A deep history of the patient may tell us that there was no trauma or other precipitating factor. The other problem is that the body functions as a unit from the ground up.   If a rib slips out, it is because of spinal alignment and other problems that may be contributing to the rib slipping out in the muscular system, in the gait system or there may be another chronic mechanism causing it. Who you see first for the condition will determine your course and complexity of care as well as the cost.

Why should you see a chiropractor first for slipping rib syndrome?

Mechanical problems require mechanical solutions.   Chiropractors are the body mechanics of the healthcare system.   Perhaps this is why the common medical idea of medications, injections to the area of slippage and pain, and even manipulation of the rib while failing to understand why the rib pulled out in the first place makes little sense and rarely works. There is no substitute for a deep history and a thorough evaluation of the body as a whole rather than evaluating the part that is symptomatic.  Perhaps this is why so many people are now visiting a chiropractor for the first time and getting relief while avoiding unnecessary tests, medications, and procedures.

What should you expect on your first visit?

The chiropractor will take a thorough history of your current and past physical problems such as the legs, lower and upper back, and shoulders as well as other joints.  Often these problems coincide with the mechanism behind slipping rib(s). Examples of conditions that can cause a slipping rib.
  • Chronic shoulder problem
  • Chronic mid-back tightness
  • Chronic lower back pain
  • Tight legs
  • Hip problems
  • problems in the diaphragm
A chiropractic evaluation will evaluate how you stand and walk, bend and move.  The evaluation will include orthopedic tests to consider other possible problems and even neurological evaluation when necessary. Connecting the dots during the evaluation is vital as it will often show us why the rib slips out. Sometimes x rays are taken to determine if there are other problems affecting the ribs such as old trauma. Once the evaluation is completed, treatment usually commences with the first visit.  Treatment from our office includes manipulation of the spine and involved articulations.   Sometimes a rib manipulation will also be performed if indicated.   Soft tissue methods such as myofascial release may be performed and if there is a strength deficit, exercises are often recommended on follow-up visits. If the problem is due to an asymmetry problem such as two feet that work differently (quite common), a foot orthotic may be recommended to help the patient function and ultimately feel better. Slipping ribs are often the result of other chronic mechanical problems including many listed above.   Many patients report that visiting a chiropractor is enlightening as they begin to better understand that problems such as slipping rib or back pain are related to movement and function.  Often syndromes are merely symptoms or diseases that fail to resolve on their own. Most syndromes are just problems that medicine as a profession hasn't resolved. Perhaps this is why the symptom and disease approach makes this condition difficult to diagnose medically as described in Medical News Today. Chiropractors are physicians specializing in the musculoskeletal system. They are the primary care doctors for the musculoskeletal system. Got a slipping rib?   Book online here to schedule an appointment today.