I Felt Like my Ribs Were Sore After my Adjustment at the Chiropractor

Chiropractic care is a holistic approach to treating neuromusculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. It is proven to be one of the safest and most effective forms of treatment for low back and neck pain. Like any profession, there is the risk of having an adverse response to treatment. This blog is to inform patients on the potential causes of rib soreness following treatment. 

I Felt Like my Ribs Were Sore After my Adjustment at the Chiropractor

Ribs, just like any joint in the body can lose mobility, become inflamed and be very painful. This often occurs in the same location as an immobile spinal vertebrae, as ribs attach onto the side of the first 12 vertebrae. Chiropractors are trained in palpating and finding immobile problematic ribs and often have great success in treating rib pain. 

sore ribs after a chiropractic adjustment, gallatin valley chiropractic

Possible Differential Diagnosis of Sore Ribs Following a Chiropractic Treatment

Following the first treatment, or first treatment after a long time of not receiving treatment, it is common to be sore following treatment for the first 12-24 hours. This is due to mobilizing previously immobile areas, thus placing more demand on the supporting musculature and soft tissue. Again, this is typically only following the first treatment. 

On very rare occasions chiropractic care can result in different conditions including

  • Fractured ribs. 
    • In rare cases, a chiropractic adjustment can put enough pressure on a rib to cause a fracture...more common in osteoporosis, etc..
  • Costochondritis. 
    • Costochondritis is inflammation of the cartilage that supports the ribs. It is a very slow healer, usually 6-8 weeks from the onset due to the lack of blood flow to the ribs. Applying ice and performing gentle range of motion exercises is encouraged.
  • Rib Subluxation. 
    • Sometimes your muscles can react to a chiropractic adjustment by becoming hypertonic and inflamed which pulls very hard on the rib, this causes the rib to subluxate (or misalign) resulting in chest pains and even difficulty breathing.
  • Intercostal Neuritis.
    • Intercostal neuritis is inflammation of the nerves that are between the ribs.

If you have any further questions or concerns feel free to call us at 406-551-2177 and one of our amazing doctors would be happy to help! 



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