Blog#34: Chiropractic and Rib Subluxations
Many people have not heard of a rib subluxation, or any other kind of subluxation, for that matter. Subluxation means that a bone or joint is somewhat out of alignment but not fully dislocated. Usually a person with a subluxated rib or some other type of subluxation can still function. However, some discomfort persists until the subluxation is resolved or until the body adapts to the misalignment by allowing other bones and/or joints to misalign. A person with a subluxated rib may change the position of one shoulder blade, contract the upper trapezius muscle on one side of their body, or even shift their pelvis to accommodate this rib imbalance and thus alleviate some of their pain. Although this shift may reduce pain initially, in the long run more problems usually will arise. Since musculoskeletal stability and balance are no longer optimal, problems such as shoulder, neck, and pelvic misalignments will eventually develop and injuries will become more likely. Subluxations, pain, and injuries give rise to compromised blood and lymph circulation and sub-optimal neurological function, thus giving rise to further problems.
We typically have twelve ribs. The top seven are attached to the first through seventh thoracic vertebrae in back and to the sternum (breast bone) in front. The eighth through tenth ribs connect to thoracic vertebrae eight through ten in the back. In the front, these three ribs connect to the costal cartilages of the ribs just above them. The bottom two ribs, sometimes referred to as “floating ribs” are only connected to the bottom two thoracic vertebrae in the back.
Ribs can become misaligned for many reasons, including falls or other traumas, inappropriate exercise such as an incorrect yoga posture, or by using a shovel, spade or other tool inappropriately. Rib subluxations can be extremely painful. Several times in my career, patients have come to my office after spending hours in the ER because of extreme pain. Sometimes they thought they were having a heart attack. Chiropractic appeared magical in these situations, since it usually is fairly easy to move a rib back into place. Instantaneous pain relief often results. Usually no more than two or three follow-up treatments are necessary to stabilize the rib or ribs into their correct position. Occasionally one side of the rib-cage is misaligned. Even though this sounds much more daunting, it usually is also fairly easy to remedy.
There are many ways to adjust subluxated ribs. My favorite method is a gentle, subtle technique called Ortho-Bionomy. Originally developed by an osteopath, Ortho-Bionomy includes moving the patient into a position that allows release of the tension holding the bone/joint in subluxation. This technique also helps break up patterns of pain and stress without creating more pain, and allows the resurgence of normal blood and energy (qi) circulation as well as the return of healthy muscular and neurological function.
This blog’s offer: contact me for a free consultation if you have persistent back, side, or chest pain that does not respond significantly to stretching or other exercises or to over the counter muscle-relaxant or anti-inflammatory medication. I will tell you if I think you are suffering from a rib subluxation and will let you know how I can help.