What Is A Rib Sprain?

A rib sprain is when a stretch occurs to the ligaments that attach the rib to the spine. These areas are joints known as the costovertebral or costotransverse joint.

What Does It Feel Like?

Commonly, a rib sprain will feel like a sharp or stabbing pain slightly off to the side of the spine. It can refer pain around the side or front of the rib cage. It is normally painful on breathing and twisting but can be painful during arm movements and other movements involving the back.

What Causes A Rib Sprain? 

Image courtesy of https://www.miraclerehabclinic.com/blog/first-rib-mobilization

  • Repetitive movements
  • Quick/rapid movements
  • Sneezing/coughing
  • Prolonged postures
  • Contact sports
  • Traumas

What Can I Do When It First Happens?

During the initial phase of injury, it is important to rest the injured area. In the rib cage this is somewhat difficult to do completely as with every breath the rib cage expands in size. Decreasing the amount of aggravating activities is the best place to start, particularly avoiding anything involving excessive twisting or vigorous activity. Generally, icing the area will provide relief. You can also maintain light physical activity by walking and small movements to avoid further restriction. After the initial phase, light exercises will help regain any loss of movement.

How Can an Osteopath Help Me?

At Pakenham Osteopathy, we can assist by conducting a full history to help determine the cause of the rib sprain. From there we will conduct an examination, determining the severity of injury and the effect it has on your functional movement. We will also rule out any other conditions that may be causing you similar pain that a rib sprain does such as an intercostal muscle strain. This examination will guide how we conduct treatment, where a mixture of manual therapy techniques to promote healing, movement and relief may be used. Finally, we may work with to identify any changes you may can make in your lifestyle to decrease the likelihood of it occurring again, as well as strategies or exercises to implement to support the best possible prognosis for your recovery.

Contact us at the clinic on 5941-4157 for more information about rib sprains, including questions about the condition, ways we can help, and a full injury assessment. Or to make an appointment please click here