You are here: Orthoped » Back and Spine (Chiropractor) Questions » Slipped rib – Rib subluxation :(

Slipped rib – Rib subluxation :(


Respected,I’ve been having pain for very long time now, and it seems no one can give me straight answer, or not know. Since 10 years ago I got this unfortunate happening, when I was planing in the sea with my friends, and while jumping in one time, my hands were left behind my body. They were more than 180 degrees open, on the back side. So I landed in the send and something cracked in my rib cage and I felt enormous pain. I cound’t get up. Didn’t go to doctor then, because the pain passed away after 3, 4 hours.Everything was fine after that situation, and the pain never come back. When the situation happened I was 16 years old.After 10 years now, I have been in a gym working in my chest muscles on the rowing machine, and the same thing happened. Something was moved in my rib cage, and the pain was unbelievable. Couldn’t stand, and bread properly. It was radiating from the front of the chest, to the certain points in the back area.Since then I was afraid to go to a gym, and tried to find medical help, or more information with no luck. Today, after another occurrence of medium but constant pain, I tried to find info on the net. Before I searched also, but couldn’t find. And I think I found an answer to diagnose it. It really sounds like Rib subluxation or SLIPPED RIB. All symptoms indicate the situation I am in. I tried to find more information on it, but seems like internet is not ready for this disease, as there is no valuable medical information, whatsoever. It seems like it is pretty much unrecognized ache. On the sites, that there was post from the people, having the same pains, there was advice to people, to seek help from chiropractors.I found this site, so I thought to give it a try.Can you, please, explain me more about this ache, and what I need to do to fix the problem?Can chiropractors fix this problem for good?Thanks allot in advance,D.


  1. When i was about 14 yrs old, i developed a pain right under my left breast until now. It is like i have been stabed by a sharp object and it causes me not to breath properly because the more i breath is the more it get worse. It happens even if im just sitting. I went to the doctor and he said there is a klot that develops between my ribs and it causes that pain. he advised me not to drink soft drinks. I did like he asked but still no change. Can anyone help me get the answers?

  2. I am a nurse who also has had an acute bout with this type pain. My doctor immediately told me that I had subluxation of my rib. He sent me to a Physical therapist immediately. The PT placed a rolled towel between my shoulder blades while I was lying on my back. He then had me cross my arms over my chest and rolled me from side to side. The pain was gone within seconds. When the pain first struck, I was trying to move a dresser on a carpeted floor by myself. The pain was horrible, I could not take a deep breath without severe pain. Anyway, still get pain from time to time if I twist the wrong way. Hope this sheds some more light on this terribly painful condition.

  3. I understand what everyone is saying. I am suffering the problem. I done mine in due to a heavy chest workout. Mine was misdiagnosed as acid reflux. I am currently seeing some of the top sports doctors in toronto and they are all leaning to the subluxation of the T3-T4 ribs. They have suggested proloytherapy this is insertion of injection into the pain site. this will allow the ligament to heal. I hope this information helps. i have also found that when i get the pain it almost seems liek i am having a heart attack anyone else have the same issue

  4. One of my ribs slipped while sailboat racing four years ago. The pain is the same as everyone in this forum described: sharp, with radiating burning. My left rib slipped, so my four neck muscles started working to put it back in–this only added to the pain. My big help was physiotherapy. It’s more gentle than chiro. Every 6-8 months, the soreness comes back. I’m going through it now–same rib, but a bit less pain. The issue now is that when it gets sore, I’m very afraid to do any activity that will make it slip.

  5. I’ve been having these same symptoms for over 6 months now, I have been to several doctors and at first I went to a cardiologist because it felt like i was having a sharp pin pressed into my heart! Now the pain is a sharp stabbing pain just to the right of my spine when i inhale, that radiates out to my ribs and even my left side. after all my tests returned normal i went to a general physician who referred me to physical therapy, that didnt help so then I went to a chiropractor, he says it feels like i definately have some subluxated ribs, i have only been to him twice so i know it will probably take a long time for me to feel normal again. So far I havent noticed any improvement.

    • I agree that this sure sounds like a potential rib problem. In most cases I have seen, with a chiropractic adjustment, there is instant relief to some degree. Not complete relief, but some. Did the Chiropractor do any adjustments? What is the treatment plan? Did they take films?With conservative care, this condition should show some improvement after 3 or 4 visits max. If not then there is likely a problem with the diagnosis, treatment or both.

  6. I’ve been having these same symptoms for over 6 months now, I have been to several doctors and at first I went to a cardiologist because it felt like i was having a sharp pin pressed into my heart every so often! after all my tests returned normal i went to a general physician who referred me to physical therapy, that didnt help so then I went to a chiropractor, he says it feels like i definately have some subluxated ribs, i have only been to him twice so i know it will probably take a long time for me to feel normal again. So far I havent noticed any improvement.

  7. Chiropractors give specific adjustments to ribs that are subluxated. A rib can be subluxated in many directions. For example: anterior, inferior, posterior, and superior, or combination of such. A tennis ball may work for one, but certainly not for all. Many times a thoracic vertebra is found to be correlated with the rib subluxation. In this case you would also have a thoracic subluxation. The body has the potential to subluxate anywhere. These subluxations can only be properly put back in there original positions by a skilled, and highly trained (10 trimesters/4 years on top of your BA or BS or MS in some cases) DOCTOR. It is not anything to just mess around with. Visit your chiropractor and if you dont have one, get one!! Chiropractors deal with NEUROLOGY. Bones out of their natural position can cause INTERFERENCE with the neurology between the brain and ALL the working parts of the body. Any injury, minor or major, can cause this interference. This is particularly problematic when the body heals itself after the bones are in there NEW place (subluxation) after an injury. This creates the possibility of a “chronic subluxation” that when corrected, inevitably in the future due to exacerbation of pain like Dragon mentioned, leaves a weakness for the problem to present itself again. The best thing we can all do is get monthly spinal checks done by your chiropractor and STAY subluxation FREE. This is the KEY to a healthy body and immune system. We deal with pain at its source and the dysfunction of an organ/organs, at its source. Please remember that symptoms SHOW UP long after the problem first originates (when subluxations first occur)!! Thank you 🙂

  8. I am a massage therapist and i often have a subluxation of the same rib. I find a tennis ball often helps. You can place it under you, around where the rib is out. Let your body weight sink into and gently roll around on it. It will often pop it back in. I also use an ice pack. Dont use heat because it makes the inflammation worse.

  9. My slipped ribs was caused by an auto accident. They have gotten a lot better but I don’t think they are ever going to completely heal. Medical Doctors act like they don’t know what is causing it and after a few weeks they act like it is all in your head, what jerks. They did send me to physical therapy which consisted of a heat light that made my back feel like someone threw scolding water on it that lasted for over a week. Between the medical Doctor and the physical therapy I was progressively getting a lot worse for weeks.Thank God I went to a Chiropractor. The Chiropractor knows by your symptoms what is wrong and they can feel it in your muscles, his treatments helped, I don’t know where I would be without him.

  10. Doctors don’t know it exist because x-rays and MRI’s don’t show it, there is no test for it, therefore they act like they don’t know about it and it must be in your head. Chiropractors can feel that there is something wrong and when told the symptoms can tell you what it is. Slipped ribs can cause one or several symptoms: they can cause you to think you are having a heart attack, affect your breathing like someone is sitting on your chest, feel like something is on the inside of you pushing your ribs out (pressure pushing out), cause a lot of pain in your back, side and/or chest.

  11. A Dr. Recently diagnosised my 13 year old with this, but she complains of her heart hurting and i’ve been trying to read information on it and noone else seems to complain of their heart hurting- Has anyone else heard of the heart hurting as well with this condition?

    • Can you give me any information on this-I have suffered for 2-1/2 years with pain in the ribs when I sit down-the closest diagnosis has been subluxation of the ribs

  12. Also, if your ribs are might have scoliosis which usually develops during the puberty ages..for more information look up scoliosis..and don’t worry if you’s not a big deal..just make sure you catch it now if you do and don’t wear heels..they can affect your back and ribs negatively..

  13. go to a chiropractor..also sometimes positioning your hands on both sides of a door frame and walking through it.. starting with putting your foot in front (of the side that the rib is subluxed)..while pushing your shoulder blades together in the back can relieve and POP the rib back in..I have this problem and I understand. The doctor tells me this as well that I have muscular weakness in my back which is causing it.

  14. I am a 14 year old girl who has been suffering rib pains for the last 2 1/2 years. My Ribs have always seemed a little big for my body, and i had noticed that when these pains to happen, my ribs on the left prodruded more than those on the right. I am on my high school swim team, and these pains constantly interfere with my practices. When I consulted my doctor about these pains, I was dissapointed to get a simmilar response to the last one i got, when i asked her about Jaw pains (TMJ). I was given a diagnosis to a condition with no treatment options. She Told me that what i probable had was Slipped Rib Syndrome. What she did offer me was some information about why this was happening. This is what my doctor told me I have found that my ribs will “pop back” or go back into their regular position if i stretch, especially backward, arching my back. I also tend to get some pain relief from applying slight pressure to my rib cage with my hand.Good to know that there are others out there grabbing onto their ribs in pain. All of my friends think im falling apart.

  15. I am 59 female and had a car wreck 4 months ago. I went to the Doctor the medicine helps,she referred me to Physical therapy which consisted of a heat light that made me worse. After 3 weeks I went to the Chiropractor, he has done wonders for me. He said I have slipped ribs, in addition to other things but I will only discuss the slipped ribs. He used a cold pack on me and sent me home with one and instructions to use it 10 minutes every hour for several days. He atarted doing adjustment and was able to releave a lot of the pressure and lower the pain level but I still have Pain on my left, 2 inches from my spine and 3 inches long at the thorasic area I had thought must be caused by my heart or other organ. I also have an area at the shoulder blade that feels like a knife is stuck in it. My breathing is affected like I have a cold and my chest feels tight but I don’t have a cold. When I lay down on my right and start to roll onto my back and my weight is on the right side of my back my left chest area feels like there is something inside pushing my ribs outwards and it hurts, I finish rolling and lay on my back and the pain stops in 2 or 3 minutes. My Chiropractor said we have pain recepters, pain and pressure use the same receptors and pressure is more dominate so I only feel the pressure of laying on my back. I am seeing the Chiropractor every 2 weeks and recieving adjustment and Physical Therapy streching and strenghening exercises from him. Even tho my Medical Doctor never told me I have slipped ribs on my last visit I asked her “Will my slipped ribs ever heal” she said “they usually don’t”. My Chiropractor says we’ll see, he says there is no test that shows slipped ribs. I am not promoting the following treatment I don’t know anything about it but claims they fix them. If anyone knows of a fix please e-mail me.

  16. Heather, My 15 year old had been seeing physical therapists, her pediatrician, and gi spesensoredts because of this horrible pain that started in her mid back and would shoot around to her chest. The pain was so bad it would take her breath away. No one seemed to be able to find a cause. They decided to do an MRI of her spine – although the report said everything was good the technician performing the MRI told us that my daughter was having muscle spasms in her upper back the entire 90 minutes of the test. We finally found a chiropractor who within minutes of hearing the symptoms told us that my daughter most likely had a dislocated rib. My daughter has been diagnosed with hypermobility syndrome and the chiropractor explained that it is common for hypermobile patients to experience rib dislocations. We have been seeing the chiropractor since Sept. 2006 and while he has not been able to keep the ribs in place (due to the hypermobility issues) at least he has them closer to where they belong and it has stopped the chest pains (except when one of the ribs becomes completely dislocated). He explained that most adults with this type of dislocation go to the ER because they believe they are having a heart attack. He said the pain is excrutiating and to make sure that no one tells your daughter the pain is not real. We have had many of the medical doctors we see tell us that they do not believe the ribs can move like this. Between the physical therapist, pain spesensoredt and chiropractor they have all confirmed this is a real condition that causes real pain. I hope you can find a chiropractor or physical therapist that can help your daughter. We are not sure we will ever be able to get the ribs to stay in place due to my daughter’s hypermobility, but the therapist and chiropractor are working together to try and strengthen the muscles in that area to see if they won’t help to hold the ribs in place. It is not a quick fix, but we are starting to see some improvement. I would love to hear from anyone if they have any other treatments they have found to be successful.

  17. I beleive I may have “slipped rib syndrome”. However, does this condition show up on an XRAY? If so, I’ve had two chest xrays and nothing was found. 🙁 How exactly is it diagnosed and what is done to fix it? Would an MRI find this? Thanks!

    • I am a nurse with a history of back problems. A week ago, I slipped a rib and have never had such pain in my life. My doctor diagnosed it quickly ran next store and grabbed a physical therapist who did a kind of a chiropractic adjustment and within seconds the excruciating pain was gone. It’s like it never happened. I am now back at the gym and lifting weights. Maybe seeing a physical therapist can help with your pain. It hurts ALOT!

      • I have had this problem for 5 years. I have learned to recognize the oncoming slip and quickly stand straight up and arch my back as far back as I can. It seems to open the cage and allow the rib to fall back into place naturally. The only time this hasn’t worked for me was in the car while driving. Ouch.

  18. I have experiebce this twice I have been to a physical therapist and chiropractor got the most relief from chiropractor and massage therapist It takes about a week for the tissue and ligaments around the slipped rib to heal after this happens..I searching for what can keep it from happening Anyone have any thoughts

  19. I have the same symptoms as you and was ecstatic when I found the following article. Finally, after 9 doctors, one who not only understands my condition, but has a way of treating it!sensored://