Physical Rehabilitation Medicine/muscle injury


A few weeks ago I was trying to "fight" with a box to close the top of a large quilt to I pushed the box against the cabinets on the floor and reached, I felt/heard a "crunch" in my left upper side, ribs.  I went to my chiropractor who said,,yes, I had injured the ribs, pulled the lower two, and the connecting tissue was spasming.  It was feeling better, and now I'm having pain right under the rib cage on the left side, if I move a certain way, or don't think first...kind of a feeling of the muscle folding over and it this the muscle still injured and will it just eventually heal? Is there anything else I can do other than the chiropractor....I went back two more times, but have not gone in a week, and with the holiday and week schedule, it might be the end of this week.

Hi Liz,
You are describing beautifully your sensations which sounds a lot like a rib problem. When a person gets a rib joint (there are several that attach the rib to it's vertebra)into an awkward position, the muscles in that area will frequently go into a spasm.

Often relief can be had with Chiropractic, or a Physical Therapist who does a technique called  Strain- Counter Strain.  The idea is to help the joint reposition and the muscle spasm to abate.

You can try an exercise which is on my website,, that may help with this process.  Look on the home page under self help (left column of the home page).  The exercise called magic carpet back exercise may solve the issue for you.

The muscle is likely not so much injured as in a cramp.  It's often helpful to go on about your normal course of activity and not worry about damaging yourself.

See if this helps,

Physical Rehabilitation Medicine

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Rachel Katz, PT, SEP


I have expertise working with recovery from car accidents, RSD/CRPS, neck and back pain and chronic pain. I can answer questions about pain that is not responding to expected patterns of recovery. I can address pain issues that are associated with traumatic events, and veteran associated pain issues. If you have had abuse or periods of significant stress in your life, your pain issues may be more complicated. I authored A Consumer Guide for Recovery from Car Accidents which discusses many aspects of injury recovery as all as specific detail about PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and protective involuntary muscle spasm. The link is: I can't answer questions regarding pain medications, or some specifics related to surgical interventions.


I have over 30 years experience as a Physical Therapy clinician. I taught swimming in Michigan and skiing in Aspen. I have experience in analyzing movement patterns and muscle control. I treat all areas of pain in the body including headaches, neck pain, back pain, shoulder injuries, plantar fasciitis, nerve compression, and knee pain. I have had personal experience with chronic pain, RSD, car accident injuries, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Muscle spasm and pain is a common component of injury and response to traumatic stress. Posture patterns and habits of how your body is often used can also contribute to pain. Restoration of movement and the senses that enable you to feel it are key. Rachel developed and implemented a stress reduction program for inmates within the Boulder County jail's drug and alcohol recovery program in 2005-2006 based on trauma healing principles from Dr. Peter Levine.

Rachel holds a BS in PT from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She has over 30 years experience as a clinician. She has over 1500 hours of post graduate continuing education in many Manual Therapy and Exercise approaches. She completed her training in Somatic Experiencing under Dr. Peter Levine in 2000. This 3 year program trains therapists in treating traumatic stress conditions. Rachel has developed a body of work integrating her training and unique insights into complex pain issues. She is the developer and instructor for Sensory-Motor Manual Therapy, which is a State approved 2 day work shop for Massage Therapists through the Boulder College of Massage Therapy.

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