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

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

Ribs, just like any joint in the body can be misaligned, lack mobility, and become inflamed creating a very painful condition. 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. 

When chiropractors adjust the thoracic spine, ribs are often adjusted as well. With any adjustment, the goal is to encourage healthy joint motion. When joints have more motion in them, it places more demand on the surrounding musculature. This is why most people have some soreness after their first adjustment. This soreness typically dissipates after 12-24 hours, followed by a noticeable decrease in pain and improved mobility.  

sore ribs after a chiropractic adjustment, gallatin valley chiropractic

Possible Differential Diagnosis of Sore Ribs Following 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. These nerves can be irritated at times due to getting movement to the ribs near one of the intercostal nerves.

Most Common Cause for Rib's Being Sore Following Chiropractic Treatment

The most common cause of sore ribs following a chiropractic adjustment is simply your body's reaction to being adjusted. Being sore following chiropractic care doesn't necessarily mean the adjustment was bad or wrong, it actually can mean it's working! It simply means the tissues surrounding your vertebrae and ribs have more demand to perform now that they are moving in their full range of motion.   This is why we at Gallatin Valley Chiropractic always explain to the patients that come in for the first time, or who haven't been adjusted in a long time that they may sore following their adjustment, almost as if they worked out really hard. 

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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