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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: ribs popping out of place?

 mover - Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:20 pm


I recently moved. As I was packing canned food from a bottom shelf I twisted and felt a sudden, sharp pain on my left side of my back under my shoulder blade and ribs. I saw a family friend who is a physical therapist. I was told that I popped out two ribs and after he worked with me I felt better. A few days later when I was unpacking, I twisted in sort of the same way and I think I did it again. It is not as painful, but I can still feel it. Do the ribs have to be put back or will ice and NSAIDS be enough? If I should get it checked, do I go to an orthopedic doctor and since I just moved and don't know anyone how do you go about finding a good one???
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:24 pm

User avatar Hello,
Your physical therapy friend may recommend a specific exercise or manuever which may place the rib back in place.
Best route to take for orthopedic referral is to go through a family physician who will have a good opinion of the best orthopedist. Sometimes I ask the local physical therapist who they would recommend since the therapist sees the ortho patients post - op.
Your condition obviously is not something that needs surgery but should resolve on its own with ice, NSAIDS, and perhaps some type of rotational exercise or manipulation to re- locate the ribs (if indeed the ribs are misplaced).

Sometimes what happens with pain like this is the muscles under the shoulder blade or between the ribs get strained or sprained causing pain and muscle spasm. Easing the pain and spasm with heat/ice and NSAIDS and gradual return to activity usually suffices.

Again if in doubt see your family physician.

Keep us posted.

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