Differential Diagnosis of Patient Referred to Physical Therapy With Rib Pain
Rib pain is a common complaint and can range in intensity from mild to severe. It may be the result of an injury, illness or disorder and, if left untreated, could progress into a chronic discomfort condition.
What Should the Different Diagnoses Look Like in This Situation?
Our physicians will perform a physical exam and carefully review your medical and family history in order to pinpoint the source of your rib pain. They may also suggest blood work, x-rays or CT scans as additional diagnostic tools in order to pinpoint precisely what’s causing the discomfort.
In the upper to midback region, each rib forms two joints with the thoracic spine and another joint between it and your sternum (Costosternal). When these become restricted, you may experience radiating pain that wraps around one side of your chest in an ‘ice-pick’ pattern.
Slipping rib syndrome occurs when the ribs move forward and upward, eventually sliding over the vertebrae. Symptoms usually include general tenderness and pain throughout the entire rib cage.
On occasion, this can also cause a sharp stabbing sensation at the end of taking a deep breath or when twisting the chest. This is more common among elderly individuals and may manifest as difficulty breathing, coughing, arm or shoulder pain as well as rotator cuff dysfunction.
Treatment options for this condition may include manipulation, sacroiliac joint stabilization or prolotherapy. While some patients find relief with just one adjustment, others require multiple adjustments in order to correct their issue.
Chiropractic care for rib pain is usually safe and effective. Most cases of rib discomfort resolve quickly or within hours after receiving a spinal adjustment.
If a spinal misalignment is the source of your rib pain, an adjustment can stabilize the spine and eliminate irritation. Furthermore, it restores normal motion to the joint that’s causing you discomfort.
If your rib pain is due to an injury or fracture, treatment may include physical therapy and/or anti-inflammatory medication. These will reduce swelling and pain, increase blood flow to the injured area, and promote healing.
Traumatic injuries and fractures to your rib cage can cause intense pain or discomfort that’s difficult to manage. If you experience such a trauma, seek immediate medical assistance for the best possible recovery.
Bone brittleness can be caused by the body’s inability to generate enough new bone. When this occurs, bones become vulnerable to fracture from minor accidents or bumps.
Osteoporosis can result in serious injuries or even death. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for osteoporosis such as chiropractic care and weight-loss programs.
Combining these procedures is recommended for a complete and successful recovery.
Physiotherapy is a type of healthcare treatment that emphasizes physical movement and exercise. It’s typically performed by a trained therapist and can be utilized to address various conditions and diseases.