• Philip Hehir

Do men have one less rib than women?

In this month’s article I would like to focus on rib pain.


This is a common cause of pain that presents in our practice. Ribs can be the source of all sorts of problems, ranging from post-traumatic sprains to postural related rib misalignments, all of which can cause significant pain.


Let me explain how we look at these problems, and why chiropractic can be an effective solution to them.


There are 12 pairs of ribs in your body each attaching at the back to the vertebrae in the middle your spine – the thoracic vertebrae. 10 of these pairs come to the middle to attach onto the breast bone (or sternum) at the front via costal cartilages.


The final 2 pairs are what we call “floating ribs” as they don’t actually attach to anything at the front.


The main function of rib cage is to protect your giblets (in this case the heart and lungs) from trauma from the outside world by shock absorbance.


As you breathe in your rib cage should expand to allow your lungs to inflate as much as possible.


Guess what symptoms are commonly reported by those folks who adopt that unattractive, slumped, rolled shoulder inward posture, particularly at their desks?

You guessed it!


Rib pain or (more specifically costo-transverse joint pain).


Why should this be so?

In this position the diaphragm (the main muscle responsible for inflating your lungs) cannot work as effectively, so the nervous system recruits more muscles in the mid back and shoulders to open up the rib cage.


Over time this, in turn, causes ribs to be pulled in all sorts of directions, causing them to misalign or sprain often resulting in significant pain.


Our Guildford Chiropractors can improve the function of the spine and ribs via specific adjustments to the joints, which will improve mobility and reduce tension, often providing significant relief to the sufferer.


Following treatment, if you undertake a tailored exercise programme, rib pain can often be relegated to the past!


Individuals who suffer with post-traumatic rib injuries or bruised ribs can also benefit from chiropractic treatment. Using gentle procedures the chiropractor can dramatically lessen the pain, speed up the healing process and make the patient more comfortable during their recovery.


And the answer to the question: do men have one less rib than women? A resounding NO! Men and women have the same number of ribs as each other. 12 pairs each.

At that’s put that myth to bed.


P.S Watch this great TED video and see what other things poor posture can do to your body!


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