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Back Pain Under Ribs? | Guide for Rib Pain or Muscle Strain

As a chiropractor with years of experience, I’ve seen my fair share of patients dealing with various types of back pain. One of the more concerning complaints I often come across is back pain under the ribs. This type of pain can be particularly distressing, as it may interfere with your daily activities and overall well-being. In this blog, I want to share my knowledge on this topic, providing insights into potential causes and possible relief options for this type of pain.

As a general rule, back pain under the ribs can be caused by a variety of factors including muscle strain, spinal problems, kidney issues, or gastrointestinal disorders. It is important to seek medical attention if the pain persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty breathing or abdominal pain. 

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Causes of Back Pain Under Ribs (Costochondritis)

low back pain

There are numerous potential causes of back pain under the ribs. Here are some of the most common reasons:

Muscle Strain: Overexertion, poor posture, or a sudden twisting movement can cause the muscles around the ribs to become strained. This can result in pain under the ribs.

Rib Injuries: Fractures, dislocations, or bruising of the ribs can cause significant discomfort in the affected area.

Costochondritis: This is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum (breastbone). It can cause sharp, localized pain under the ribs.

Thoracic Spine Misalignment: Misalignment of the thoracic spine (mid-back region) can irritate the nerves around the ribs, leading to pain under the ribs.

Organ-related Issues: Pain under the ribs can sometimes indicate issues with internal organs, such as the liver, gallbladder, or kidneys. In these cases, it’s essential to consult a medical professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Chiropractic Care for Back Pain or Joint Pain Under Ribs

As a chiropractor, my primary goal is to help patients find relief from pain and improve their overall well-being. Here are some ways chiropractic care can help with back pain under the ribs:

Spinal Adjustments: Gentle, precise spinal adjustments can help correct misalignments in the thoracic spine, reducing irritation to the nerves and alleviating pain under the ribs.

Soft Tissue Techniques: Chiropractors use various soft tissue techniques, such as myofascial release and trigger point therapy, to help relax tight muscles and reduce pain around the ribs.

back pain young woman

Posture Correction: Poor posture can contribute to back pain under the ribs. Chiropractic care can help improve your posture, reducing strain on the muscles and ligaments supporting the ribs.

Personalized Home Care: As a chiropractor, I always emphasize the importance of self-care in managing pain. I often provide patients with personalized stretches and exercises to help maintain the benefits of chiropractic treatment and prevent future issues.








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Additional Spine Relief Options

In addition to chiropractic care, there are other ways to find relief from back pain under the ribs:

Heat and Cold Therapy: Alternating between heat and cold packs can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can provide temporary relief. However, it’s essential to follow the recommended dosages and consult your healthcare provider if pain persists.

back pain female

Rest and Relaxation: Giving your body time to rest and recover can help relieve pain under the ribs, especially if the cause is muscle strain or overexertion.

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Middle Back Pain Around Rib Cage: Thoracic Spine and Intercostal Muscle Involvement

Middle back pain around the rib cage can be attributed to issues with the thoracic spine and intercostal muscles. The thoracic spine comprises 12 vertebrae that support the rib cage and protect vital organs. Intercostal muscles, situated between the ribs, assist in breathing and torso movement. Pain in this area can be caused by muscle strain, thoracic spine misalignment, or inflammation. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Pain Around Ribs and Back Symptoms: Muscle Strain and Intercostal Muscle Discomfort

Pain around the ribs and back can result from muscle strain, particularly in the intercostal muscles. Symptoms may include a sharp, localized pain that intensifies during deep breathing or torso movement. The discomfort can also manifest as a dull ache in the back, affecting the thoracic spine area. Muscle strains in the intercostal muscles can be caused by excessive stretching, twisting, or lifting heavy objects. Treatment options may include rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers.

Female Pain Under Left Rib Cage Back: Intercostal Muscle Strain and Rib Pain Causes

pain back and ribs

Female pain under the left rib cage in the back can be due to intercostal muscle strain, rib pain, or other underlying conditions. Pain may be felt in the thoracic spine area, which supports the rib cage. Causes can range from muscle strain to inflammation or injury. It is crucial to seek medical advice to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Left Side Back Pain Under Ribs: Understanding Thoracic Spine and Intercostal Muscle Contributions (Left)

Left side back pain under ribs can involve the thoracic spine and intercostal muscles. The thoracic spine supports the rib cage, while intercostal muscles aid in breathing and torso movement. Pain in this area may result from muscle strain, thoracic spine misalignment, or inflammation. Medical assessment is necessary to identify the cause and ensure proper treatment.

Back Pain That Wraps Around Rib Cage: Rib Pain, Muscle Strain, and Thoracic Spine Factors

Back pain that wraps around the rib cage may be caused by rib pain, muscle strain, or thoracic spine issues. The pain may manifest as a sharp, stabbing sensation or a dull, persistent ache. Possible causes include intercostal muscle strain, thoracic spine misalignment, or inflammation. Consultation with a healthcare professional is vital for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

Rib Pain: Crafting a Comfortable Chair: Advice and Recommendations

To optimize your seating situation, it’s vital to consider various factors, with chair customization being a key element. There are numerous approaches to accomplish this, such as integrating a well-designed seat pad and back support. These enhancements can reduce strain on your back and legs, improving comfort and alignment during prolonged periods of sitting. Additionally, make sure your feet are firmly on the floor and that there’s sufficient clearance between your chair and workstation. By adhering to these guidelines, any ordinary rigid chair can be converted into an ergonomic sanctuary that promotes long-term health and wellness.

posture before and after seat wedge

Ergonomic Seating Cushion

A strategically designed ergonomic seat wedge (above) can be utilized to correctly align your spine and enhance stability. This high-quality natural latex cushion assists in building core strength while alleviating pressure in other regions, such as the neck and shoulders. Furthermore, maintaining an upright position is easier on your hips and knees, as it activates more muscles concurrently compared to reclining on a softer surface. This erect posture discourages strain-inducing habits that individuals may unwittingly adopt while working.

Axial Designs® Best Seat Cushion for Back Support


Quick Guide: A 30-Second Summary 


Best Seat Cushion for Back SupportAxial Ergonomic Seat Cushion® | Seat Chair Wedge

Best Seat Cushion for Back Support

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Product Name Axial Designs™ Seat Cushion
Price $149
Warranty 1 Year
Type Posture Wedge
Top Layer 100% Natural Latex (Molded)
Bottom Layer High-Density Foam
Top Material Isometric Grippy Vegan Leather
Bottom Material Non-Slip Material
Side Material 3D Breathable Fabric



With back pain under the ribs, there is no need to worry—it can usually be managed. Seek professional help and look into different types of physical therapy, exercises, stretches, and hot and cold treatments to reduce and manage your pain. Changing the way you think about pain may also help—stop focusing on the fear of it and remember that feelings of fear generate discomfort and worsen the sensation of pain.

Create a relaxing atmosphere at home or try some light meditation sessions to connect with yourself in order to feel more comfortable with handling the discomfort stemming from this type of back pain. You can also find health professionals that provide individualized service with a caring tone of voice who are experienced in dealing with such cases, offering both direct advice for managing back pain as well as emotional support for those struggling. Don’t let your back pain under your ribs control your life: start taking steps today towards managing it more effectively!



  1. McMahon, L.E., 2018, June. Slipping rib syndrome: a review of evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. In Seminars in Pediatric Surgery (Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 183-188). WB Saunders.
  2. Cranfield, K.A., Buist, R.J., Nandi, P.R. and Baranowski, A.P., 1997. The twelfth rib syndrome. Journal of pain and symptom management, 13(3), pp.172-175.
  3. Porter, G.E., 1985. Slipping rib syndrome: an infrequently recognized entity in children: a report of three cases and review of the literature. Pediatrics, 76(5), pp.810-813.
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Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC


My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.


Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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