Rib Joint Pain, Symptoms & Treatment

The rib joints join the ribs to the vertebral bodies of the spine.They allow the ribs to move with breathing and other thoracic (trunk) movements.

Pain originating from rib joints is typically felt between the shoulder blade (scapula) and the upper back (thoracic spine). It may refer pain to the front of the chest before it is felt in the upper back at all. People have descrbed this pain as a “sharp stabbing pain,” “dull ache,” and “strange muscle pain.”

People may seek massage and dry needling to alleviate this pain, thinking is is coming from a muscle, which typically in and of itself is not effective. Inflammation may build up in the joint, cartilage may rub or catch on itself, and or the joint might be stiff.

The management typically includes:

– Education

– Postural awareness

– Manual therapy

– Thoracic strengthening

– Thoracic spine stretching

– May include strapping

– May include medication from a pharmacist

This pain may take several weeks to resolve with a proper treatment plan. Programs to minimise the re-occurrance of this pain in the future can be beneficial.

(Medical disclaimer: This is scientific information only not advice or advice to any one individual. Always consult your trusted Physio if it has been a while since exercising or for any musculoskeletal pain. Proper diagnosis and management is likely available).

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