You may not realize it, but your ribs never stop moving. At all times of the day and night, when you’re awake as well as asleep, your lungs are breathing oxygen, which means your ribs are also moving. This constant movement of the ribs makes it very easy to tell when there’s a problem with them, as it can affect breathing and put a damper on your daily life. Fortunately, physical therapy can address any rib pain in New York City.
The rib cage is an arrangement of bones that protect the lungs and other vital organs of the torso. To form the rib cage, the ribs connect to the breastbone (sternum) in the front and the middle portion of the spine (thoracic vertebrae) in the back. Several joints on both sides connect these bones, and the rib cage also consists of numerous ligaments to support the joints, muscles that are essential for breathing, and protective cartilage. With so many structures, pain can occur in the ribs just like anywhere else in the body, and the results can be rather bothersome to anyone that experiences it.
One of the more common causes of rib pain in New York City is direct trauma, which can occur from a car accident, after a fall, or in contact sports. Other causes include strains of the muscles surrounding the ribs, either suddenly or over time, as well as various forms of arthritis and a condition called costochondritis. The cause of this harmless but painful condition is not entirely understood, but it typically leads to a sharp pain near the area where the ribs join the sternum, and it becomes tender to the touch.
No matter the cause, when there is pain in the ribs, it usually hurts to breathe deeply or cough. This can make normal functioning in daily life rather tiresome and frustrating, and anything that requires deep breathing—like exercise—can become very difficult. In some cases, rib pain can also cause pain and numbness/tingling in the arm, which means a rib may have compressed some nerves traveling down the arm.
If you notice any rib pain in New York City, it’s best to see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy for the best available treatment. One of our physical therapists will first perform a complete evaluation to rule out any other serious disorders (e.g. heart or lung issues) and then pinpoint the exact origin of the pain. From there, they will create a customized treatment program to address your pain that will consist of the following:
Typical physical therapy program for rib pain in New York City
- Manual therapy: one of the major components of treatment for most types of rib pain is manual therapy, in which the therapist performs a series of gentle mobilizations and manipulations to the tissues of the ribs with their hands
- Stretching exercises: these exercises will target the shoulders and the trunk, and will also focus on expanding the diaphragm to improve deep breathing
- Strengthening exercises: in some cases, rib pain is due to misalignment of the ribs; if this is the case, the therapist will first work to realign these bones, and then prescribe exercises to help maintain strength along the ribs
- Postural education: corrective exercises used to help restore and maintain the alignment of the ribcage and mid-spine will also be performed, since it’s important for the diaphragm and rotator cuff to work optimally; doing so will help ensure the ribcage is aligned over the pelvis in both sitting and standing positions
- Other passive modalities: the therapist may also apply some treatments to address your rib pain, including ultrasound, heat and a device called TENS
While you may not hear about rib pain as much as some other painful conditions, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a burden to your life all the same. Complications with breathing can do a real number on you and prevent you from living out your days as you’d like. So if you’re dealing with any sort of rib pain in New York City, contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today. For more information on rib pain, click here.