Chiropractors/Slipped rib syndrome?


I'm a 28 year old woman.

My question is about an upper left abdominal ache that I think may be related to the slipped rib syndrome, but I'm not sure.

2-3 weeks ago, I've noticed a sensation of feeling full around my stomach area, especially after eating. A few days after that, I started developing an unpleasant dull ache around that area (right under my left rib cage, above my stomach). It feels like a knot in there, but there's nothing hard on palpation. Sometimes the pain radiates to my back or my arm but it's very diffuse.

I've had an abdominal ultrasound done which showed no problems, however the discomfort continues.

I can reproduce this pain (and it's much more intense) when grabbing (hooking) the margin of my left ribcage, in front of the stomach - it's painful right underneath the ribcage margin, along the 7th, 8th and maybe 9th rib cartilage as well.

I've been worried about ulcers, or even cancers like lymphoma... but the pain on the underside of the ribcage seems odd. Do you think this can be the slipped ribcage syndrome causing me the pain? Is it possible that it is exacerbated by eating a big meal?

Or should I see a gastroenterologist instead? I have no nausea or gas, my stools are normal. I just feel easily full and a weird, almost constant pressure around my stomach/rib area with dull aches.

Hi Cristina,

You can first try to a massage therapist or chiropractor to release any possible adhesions under the rib or near the diaphragm.  It's not an easy place to get to.  Odds are, with a negative sonogram you don't have a tumor or cancer.   You also can go to the orthopedist for evaluation to see if the pain truly is mechanical in nature, e.g. hooking/pulling the rib causing pain.   If it is, and it's not alleviated with manual therapy, and you really have a slipping rib syndrome, then you would have to consult with the surgeon.  The easiest first step is to see if manual therapy by a chiro, PT, or massage therapist alleviates the pain.   

I hope this helps,

Dr. G


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Scott F. Gillman, DC, DACBSP


21 Years in practice: I can answer any question regarding chiropractic and sports medicine treatment. Mostly, I can help the unknowing public understand what is safe, valid, reasonable and evidence-based, and what kinds of unscrupulous chiropractors and fraudulent methods to stay away from. I have an advanced specialty degree in Chiropractic Sports Medicine. I have experience treating elite and Olympic athletes.



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