Chiropractor Questions slipping rib

What causes slipping rib?

My mother who is 67 years old was complaining of a pain around her back and abdomen. The doctors have detected the pain to be due to slipping rib. What could have triggered this?

18 Answers

Rib cartilage breaks down as we age. Especially if we had injuries when we were young. Chiropractic can definitely help !
I would say twisting her upper body or reaching behind her to pick up an object could cause a rib to slip out of place. Is she having trouble taking a deep breath?
It is possible that with increasing age, a mild scoliosis can occur and this could cause slippage of a rib. In the absence of scoliosis, trauma, poor muscle balance and possibly other diseases can cause this type of pain. The first thing that should be done is to get checked out by her primary care to rule out other pathology.
Great Question.

Do you live in the Rockford area?

You can always visit for updated info and to make an appointment with me.
Twisting and bending over, possibly at the same time. As in making the bed, doing laundry, vacuuming, mopping the floor, lifting a bucket of water, a number of things can cause this.
Heavy lifting, coughing really hard, sneezing...anything strenuous.
I’m assuming it's due to a trauma, unless it’s intercostal neuralgia or shingles.
A slipped rib may be caused by a simple instance such as rotating or bending the torso or a cough or a sneeze. Often the rib is not dislocated, it is just not moving properly upon inspiration and expiration. The costovertebral joint is fixed or slightly misaligned. Gentle manipulation and stretching may be very helpful.

Dr. Eric Miller
Personally, I have not heard of a slipping rib. Ribs attach to the spine and they may cause irritation at the contact point. I suggest an exam.
Dr. Hussey 636-946-2244
It's difficult to determine the exact cause without a complete examination and a movement analysis. Ribs don't necessarily "slip" but they do become misaligned for various reasons. Ribs have muscles, fascia and cartilage attached to them and articulate both in the front at the sternum and in the back at the spinal vertebrae. Most often it is due to alignment issues at either location as well as muscular imbalances in the area.
Many things from scoliosis, sneezing to direct trauma.
Ribs move all the time. Ribs move in and out to allow us to breath. The question is why is this rib moving more? The ribs attach to the spine in the back and the sternum in the front with cartilage. The cartilage can get injured and allow the ribs to move or the spine can shift out of its healthy position and change how ribs move. This is joint or ligament issue. Evaluation of motor unit (joint) would help you understand what is causing this problem. Chiropractor's review the joint and determine function, MD's would refer for PT and strengthening/ stretching. What does mom want to do?
The bones (vertebrae) that form the spine in your back are cushioned by small, spongy discs. When these discs are healthy, they act as shock absorbers for the spine and keep the spine flexible. But when a disc is damaged, it may bulge or break open. This is called a herniated disc. It may also be called a slipped or ruptured disc.

You can have a herniated disc in any part of your spine, but most herniated discs affect the lower back (lumbar spine). Some happen in the neck (cervical spine) and, more rarely, in the upper back (thoracic spine).

A herniated disc may be caused by:

- Wear and tear of the disc - As you age, your discs dry out and aren't as flexible.
- Injury to the spine - This may cause tiny tears or cracks in the hard outer layer of the disc. When this happens, the thick gel inside the disc can be forced out through the tears or cracks in the outer layer of the disc. This causes the disc to bulge or break open.

When a herniated disc presses on nerve roots, it can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the area of the body where the nerve travels. A herniated disc in the lower back can cause pain and numbness in the buttock and down the leg. This is called sciatica. Sciatica is the most common symptom of a herniated disc in the lower back.

If a herniated disc isn't pressing on a nerve, you may have a backache or no pain at all.

If you have weakness or numbness in both legs along with loss of bladder or bowel control, seek medical care right away. This could be a sign of a rare but serious problem called cauda equina syndrome.
Thank you for your question. A rib "slipping" is often associated with an improper movement that put too much strain on the area. This could include turning, lifting, bending, or a combination of the three. Typically it is not alarming and can be assessed and treated by a chiropractor who will use a small tool to apply pressure to the are to get the rib to function properly.
Depending on if there were traumas to that particular area in the past and it have become chronic or it can be “triggered” by anything that can range from turning your body around to grab your seatbelt to coughing.
I am not sure what kind of doctor would diagnose a "slipping rib." I am not familiar with this diagnosis. However, as a chiropractor I would call this a rib that is not moving properly due to postural changes (a thing we call a "subluxation.") However, those rarely cause radiating pain to the abdomen. If this has gone on longer than 6 weeks please seek care with your primary care physician.
The ribs don't often slip by themselves. Since they are connected to the thoracic vertebrae of the spine, I would look there first. The pain travelling to the abdomen could be a much more serious problem. Have her visit her primary care physician or gastroenterologist to rule out pain from problems with the digestive organs.
A slipping rib could be from many issues from an old injury to a misaligned spine. Have her see a chiropractor and have an evaluation performed.