Rib Pain treatment in Calgary

Rib pain and rib injuries are fairly common. The causes of rib pain can include joint pain, nerve pain, organ pain, and trauma. Rib pain can be dull or sharp, throbbing or persistent, it can be chronic or acute. The good news is that chiropractic care is one of the most effective treatments for rib pain and many of the underlying causes. Depending on the cause, sometimes rib pain can even be significantly reduced with just one single chiropractic adjustment. Let's dig a little deeper into the causes of rib pain and the benefits of chiropractic care for treating all sorts of rib pain.

How Can Chiropractic Help Address Rib Pain?

What Can Cause Rib Pain?

Some of the common causes of rib pain are:

  • Injuries to the chest or abdomen
  • Bone diseases such as osteoporosis
  • Bruised or separated ribs
  • Fractured or broken ribs
  • Inflammation in the lining of the lungs
  • Muscle spasms and strains
  • Inflamed rib cartilage
  • Intercostal nerve pain

Chiropractic Treatment Options

After a thorough assessment and careful diagnosis, your chiropractor can offer several different modalities to treat your rib pain and any underlying causes. Some of the possible treatment options are:

  1. Chiropractic Adjustment
    One of the most common treatments for rib pain is a Chiropractic Adjustment. This is helpful for separated and misaligned ribs. Symptoms of separated and misaligned ribs include swelling or bruising at the affected site, pain and difficulty breathing, rib pain when sneezing or coughing, pain when sitting up, moving, or walking. Often one adjustment treatment is enough to relieve pain. Your chiropractor may suggest stabilization for a period of time to ensure proper healing.
  2. Active Release Techniques (ART®)
    ART® targets the affected area to break up scar tissue, promote blood flow, and accelerate healing. This treatment is useful for muscle spasms, inflamed rib cartilage, and certain injuries or traumas that have caused the development of scar tissue. Ribs are meant to be mobile and inflammation and scar tissue can cause them to become rigid and compressed resulting in pain.
  3. Massage Therapy
    If the cause of your rib pain is muscle spasms or soft tissue injury, massage therapy is a beneficial treatment option. Massage therapy will work to release adhesions in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments connected to your rib cage that are causing pain, inflammation, and impaired mobility.
  4. Cold Laser Therapy
    Cold Laser Therapy makes use of a lower intensity focused light to increase biochemical energy at the treatment site and accelerate tissue repair and stimulate cell growth. This treatment is ideal for rib pain resulting from trauma or injury, fractured or broken ribs, nerve injury, soft tissue and connective tissue injuries, and inflammation.
  5. Shockwave Therapy
    ESWT, or Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, is a non-invasive treatment that uses non-electrical, high-energy, sound waves to produce a rapid increase in blood flow and work to break down fibrous scar tissue. The body responds by increasing metabolic activity around the treatment site to stimulate inflammatory healing and tissue repair. This treatment option is ideal for rib pain resulting from injury and intercostal nerve pain.
  6. Kinesio Taping
    Kinesio taping is a great method to support and increase stability to muscles and joints. Using an elasticized adhesive tape, Kinesio Taping can reduce swelling, promote lymphatic drainage, increase circulation, and relax strained muscles. It can be used to support and stabilize fractured or broken ribs, and relieve the pain associated with muscle spasms and strains.

Effective Treatment Options For Your Rib Pain at Shephard Health

If you are struggling with chronic or acute rib pain due to injury, inflammation, dislocated, fractured, or broken ribs, muscle strain and spasm, nerve pain, or anything else, chiropractic care offers multiple options for treatment. Adjustments, Active Release Techniques, massage, Cold Laser Therapy, Shockwave Therapy, and Kinesio Taping are just some of the modalities your chiropractor may use to relieve your pain and address any underlying causes. Sometimes even just one chiropractic adjustment is enough to feel better and return to the activities you love. Contact Dr. Shephard and the team at Shephard Health for a complimentary consultation to assess, diagnose, and devise a treatment strategy for your rib pain today.

Dr. Shephard is one of Calgary’s Top 3 Rated Chiropractors. He and the team at Shephard Health use a variety of treatment modalities to relieve pain, restore movement and mobility, and achieve overall health and wellness at our NW Calgary clinic in Kensington. The Shephard Health team has over 20 years of experience in services ranging from Chiropractic Care and Spinal Decompression Therapy to Active Release Techniques and treatment of rib pain. We offer a no-obligation, complimentary consultation to assure you that we are the right team to help you achieve your goals for complete wellness and pain-free living. Call us at 1-403-543-7499 or fill out the form to book your appointment.


Q: What are the symptoms associated with rib injury?
A: Some of the common accompanying symptoms of rib pain are:

  • Bruising and inflammation
  • Pain and difficulty when taking a deep breath
  • Difficulty sitting up, standing up, and moving around
  • Lump at the injury site or chest deformity

It is important to note that some very serious conditions like heart attack or pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs) can present as rib pain. If your rib pain is sudden and accompanied by fever, sweating, irregular heartbeat, rapid breathing, coughing up blood, and shortness of breath, you should seek emergency medical help immediately.

Q: How can I prevent rib pain?
A: You can prevent rib cage pain due to muscle strains or sprains by stretching your muscles, using exercise equipment properly, and staying properly hydrated. If an illness is causing your rib cage pain, get plenty of rest and follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Kinesio taping can support your ribs during sports and activities and prevent injury. Self-care treatments, such as applying ice to injuries or taking hot baths to relax, can also help prevent pain.

Q: What kind of nerve injury can cause rib pain?
A: Intercostal nerves originate in your spine and travel the circumference of your ribs to your sternum. A variety of irritants and injuries can cause inflammation of these nerves resulting in pain. One of the most common causes of intercostal nerve pain is shingles, a viral infection of the nerves near the spine. Look for small blister-like bumps on your skin near the area of pain.



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