• A fixated first rib

    Our previous blog described symptoms associated with a classic rib dysfuction, what some might call ‘popping out a rib’. Although most people may suspect a rib is involved when there is pain in the upper-mid back, possibly with some shooting pain into the chest, there is another condition involving the first rib that often goes undiagnosed.

    The first (and top) rib is located much higher than you would think (see the highlighted area on the image below).


    rib anatomy


    The first rib is connected to the spine in the back and breastbone in the front. This bone is able to move slightly in conjunction with the shoulder complex, allowing movements like bringing the arms overhead. When this rib gets ‘stuck’, it can cause pain as well as other symptoms.

    The first rib has several muscle connections to the vertebrae in your neck, as well as to your collar bone (clavicle). There are many blood vessels and nerves (like the brachial plexus) in the nearby area. Because of these connections,

    First rib ‘fixations’, are often associated with:
    • neck pain
    • headaches
    • shoulder pain
    • restricted shoulder movement
    • tingling/numbness in the upper limb
    • poor posture (like forward head carriage)
    Now why and how would the first rib become fixated?

    Tight muscles can have a lot to do with it. Muscles around the neck and shoulder region can get tight with poor posture, repetitive stress, and faulty breathing patterns.

    How do you fix it?

    The good news is that this is another condition that responds really well to chiropractic care. By adjusting the 1st rib so that it can move properly, as well as releasing some of the tight soft tissue surrounding the area, this condition has a great prognosis.

    Are you experiencing any of the symptoms described above, or have any more questions? 
    See your local chiropractor, or feel free to comment below.

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