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Costovertebral Joint Dysfunction

Costovertebral Joint Dysfunction

The spine is a complex place, and it is the central component that has a whole manner of parts running through and connected to it, like nerves, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and even your ribs. The 12 vertebrae which ribs are attached to is the Thoracic Spine. The space where the ribs and your vertebrae meet is called the costovertebral joint. Sometimes this joint can cause pain and even make simple daily tasks difficult.

What is Costovertebral Joint Dysfunction?

There are typically 12 pairs of ribs that connect to your thoracic spine, and they provide safety to your internal organs. However, when you breathe, twist, reach or bend, your ribs must be able to move. When one or more of the ribs becomes stuck or slightly mispositioned from its normal attachment to the spine, it can make something like breathing more difficult. This is called costovertebral joint dysfunction.

There are a few key symptoms of costovertebral joint dysfunction. Of course, pain in the thoracic region is the first sign that the ribs are out of place. Typically, pain manifests as a dull ache in that upper portion of the back, between the shoulder blades, and more on one side of the spine. This pain gets worse with deep breathing or coughing. Some other symptoms that indicate costovertebral dysfunction include having poor breathing patterns, pain when deep breathing, tightness through the chest, and having the inability to stand up straight.

Causes of Costovertebral Dysfunction

Rib problems can develop from anything. Sometimes, even a violent sneeze or cough could be explosive enough to be the cause of this dysfunction. Other causes of this specific type of joint pain include prolonged periods of repetitive motions, traumatic injuries such as a car accident, any type of strenuous lifting, pushing or pulling with a rotation of the thoracic spine, or even from having poor standing or sitting posture.

Treatment methods for Costovertebral Dysfunction

There are a few different methods, but the main treatment method for costovertebral joint dysfunction is joint manipulation - which essentially is just a fancy way to say get an adjustment! Chiropractors at BC + PT are specially trained and knowledgeable about the spine and all of the different components that are connected to it. Your BC + PT chiropractor will be able to help you through these adjustments, and if needed transition you over to a physical therapist for further care - all right under the same roof!

Through the teamwork of both a physical therapist and a chiropractor at Buffalo Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, you are able to confidently get the support you need when treating costovertebral joint dysfunction. If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, then it's definitely time to give us a call to get set up for an appointment today!


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