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Common Conditions

Ribs Muscle Spasm


Rib cage pain may be sharp, dull, or achy and felt at or below the chest or above the navel on either side. It may occur after an obvious injury or without explanation. This pain can be caused by a variety of things, ranging from pulled muscles to a rib fracture. It may occur immediately upon injury or develop slowly over time, or be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

The most common cause of rib cage pain is a pulled muscle or bruised ribs. Other causes of pain in the rib cage area may include muscle spasms, broken ribs, injuries to the chest, rib fractures, Osteoporosis, inflammation of the lining of the lungs or swollen rib cartilage.

Physical therapy can be helpful in determining the level of muscle spasms and is often helpful in alleviating the pain. Treatment may include manual therapy, stretching, strengthening exercises and postural work. Pain relieving modalities such as ice therapy, heat therapy, therapeutic ultrasound therapy, electro-stimulation therapy and kinesio taping are often used to help decrease initial symptoms. More severe cases of rib dysfunction can benefit from injections to decrease pain or diagnostic imaging (X-Ray) to rule out a fracture. If in doubt, seek professional advice.