Chronic Shoulder and Neck Pain – First Rib Dysfunction.

Neck and shoulder pain - first ribChronic Shoulder and neck pain – That annoying first rib dysfunction! It may not be from your neck vertebrae being out of alignment, but from the first rib.  Shoulder and neck pain associated with the first rib is often related to a condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS).

Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib are compressed.  This condition is often referred to as thoracic outlet (TOS) syndrome, though TOS, as diagnosed by a doctor, is not always from an elevated first rib.

The first rib is located at the base of the neck, and when there’s compression of the nerves or blood vessels in this area, it can lead to pain and discomfort in the shoulder and cause numbness and tingling in the arm.  First rib dysfunction refers to a condition where the first rib, which is the uppermost of the twelve ribs in humans, is not functioning properly. The first rib is located at the base of the neck, just below the collarbone.   Common causes of first rib dysfunction include:  Poor posture, muscle imbalances, trauma or injury or repetitive strain, such as from prolonged computer use as an example.

So many patients come to me with the complaint of shoulder and neck pain that I can see is caused by their first rib being elevated or out of alignment.  Many of these patients have been to the chiropractor or physical therapy for shoulder and neck pain with short-lived or no relief, if their discomfort is from the first rib not being in proper alignment.  I have discovered over many years that chiropractors that are able to properly adjust the first rib are hard to come by.

Once you can get the rib manually adjusted properly, regular stretching, strengthening and attention to posture can help stabilize this condition.  Acupuncture treatment can help relax and balance the muscles so the first rib stays in proper alignment better.

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