Friday, August 19, 2011
Do You Have Rib Head Subluxations?!
Hello everybody! I hope you guys had a wonderful week! One of the most common ailments I see walking into my office is something known as a rib head subluxation. There are so many people walking around with this particular ailment, yet they have no idea what it is or how to treat it. So what is a rib head subluxation? Well in order to understand WHAT a rib head subluxation is, let us define the word SUBLUXATION and see WHERE the rib heads are located. A subluxation is a misalignment of a bone in relation to the adjacent joint space. So for instance, a vertebral subluxation occurs when a vertebra is misaligned in relation to the joint space above or below it. Using that same train of thought, a rib head subluxation occurs when a rib head is misaligned in relation to the joint space adjacent to it. So WHERE are the rib heads and the adjacent joint space located?
As you can see in the image above, the ribs attach to either side of the vertebral column. The area where the ribs meet the spinal vertebrae is known as the rib head and the joint space is the space between the rib head and the adjacent vertebra as indicated by the red circles. The rib heads connect with the vertebra above, the vertebra below, and the disc between them. So if the rib head shifts from that position in any direction, it is misaligned or subluxated.
Dr. W. Michael Gazdar D.C., C.C.S.P. wrote a book titled, Taking Your Back to The Future, and in it, he gives a good example of a common scenario for subluxating ribs:
"Roger was lifting a heavy computer monitor when he felt something "pop" in his mid-back. He was lifting correctly from the floor to his waist by using his legs and not straining his back. Unfortunately, he forgot to exhale as he lifted, and the force of his full lungs and the increased pressure as he lifted caused one of his ribs to displace slightly. The pain was sharp, immediate, slightly to the side of the spine, and radiated around to the front of his chest."
I'm sure some of us have been involved in this type of scenario, but what else causes rib head subluxations?
Weight lifting can cause the ribs to subluxate if the weight is too great or the breathing is improper. Wrestling and tackle football are more direct causes of knocking ribs out of place. Even coughing or breathing too deeply may cause ribs to subluxate. Subluxations of the ribs can cause many problems because of compression on adjacent nerves. Subluxation of the upper ribs can cause referred pain and numbness down the arm. The pain may be so severe that you can hardly breathe and sleeping may be next to impossible. Any extreme motion that pulls the arm back behind the body in a sudden jerking motion can also cause ribs to subluxate. So now we know what rib subluxations are..how do we treat them?
The best way to treat rib subluxations is to see your chiropractor. As I mentioned earlier many of my patients are aware of the pain/discomfort but don't know what it is and decide they will "just live with it" until I point it out and correct it. Sometimes it takes one adjustment of the rib heads to relieve a person of that annoying pain and discomfort. Other times, it takes several visits to restore full function of the rib heads and relief from pain and discomfort. It is important to come in as soon as you feel the pain because scar tissue can form around the joint and cause many painful adhesions. Usually, the longer the rib is out of its natural alignment, the longer it takes to stabilize and restore full function.
For more information on this subject or any other health issue or to make an appointment for a free consultation, call my office- 908-258-7014 or email me- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, a healthy back is a happy back.
Posted by Dr. O