Posted On: March 6, 2020
One of my favorite things to treat is a postural rib sprain. Younger to middle aged adult patients present with a sharp pain in the middle of their back. It typically gets sharper when they take a deep breath or rotate their thorax towards the side of the pain.
These patients can have a lot of different causes of their pain. I have seen patients who have had cardiac work ups and imaging of their chest to rule out more ominous causes of the pain. Medicine in general is particular and always seeks to rule out more morbid causes of this pain so as not to miss something that may be causing it.
After having seen a lot of these over my career. Most are more painful with deep breathing and trunk rotation. Palpation reveals muscular splinting of the thoracic para-spinals on the symptomatic side. On deeper palpation there is point tenderness over where one the rib joins the thoracic spine. This joint the costo-transverse articulation typically the culprit.
The cool part about this condition is that it responds to a brief intervention with manual mobilization either by a chiropractor or a knowledgeable physical therapist. In fact a lot of manual medicine providers feel so comfortable treating this condition that it obviates the need for more expensive testing.
If all of these patients saw providers versed in this problem the public would save a lot of money. Imaging and more involved testing could be reserved for those that don’t respond or have other comorbidities or abnormal findings on exam (like abnormal auscultation findings over the chest).
Treating these problems is one of the most gratifying areas of practice as people are surprised at how fast this problem resolves.
North Shore, Dr. J and the staff were great. I started out with a pinched cervical nerve which was causing extreme pain and numbness in my arm. Surgery had been ruled out by the neurosurgeon after an MRI. My physical recommended a regimen of physical therapy which I undertook with NorthShore in November. At that time I had consistent pain in the range of 8-9 out of 10. I had trouble sleeping, driving and performing most normal daily activities due to the constant pain. I have now been through two series of physical therapy sessions with North Shore over a couple of months and the pain and numbness are completely gone. Based on my experience I would highly recommend North Shore for physical therapy treatment and the staff is extremely friendly and helpful as a bonus! Jon HeintzelmanJonathan Heintzelman
All aspects of the rehab program were done with professionalism. Intake evaluation, exercise program, massage therapy and exit evaluation were all excellent and yielded excellent results for me. All of the staff are friendly and efficient. Dr. Johnson, Jeannette, Cyprian and Mary are friendly and make an otherwise difficult experience much more tolerable. I have gone to them on two occasions over the last several years for different injuries and, in both instances, my problems were resolved. I highly recommend them.Lee Eddy
I was a patient 6 years ago, with lower back pain and herniation. My PT was excellent and I was back to exercise and resolution of pain and herniation. Recently I have had hip pain and and tingling down my leg. My evaluation with DR Johnson was very thorough and spot on. The PT with Dre was incredible. I am now pain free with a resolution of the tingling as well. I will definitely return for any future problems that may arise!Barbara Bank