Mid-Back Pain and Rib Pain

Have you ever experienced back pain and rib pain simultaneously? As it turns out, mid-back injuries are often accompanied by rib pain. The rib cage and ribs are connected to the spine so an issue with one of these areas can lead to pain in the other.  Often times when your back and/or ribs are injured, it can be extremely painful.  In severe cases patients find their range of motion limited and experience pain when they cough, sneeze or laugh.

Your ribs and your spine

Your spine is made up of 24 vertebrae or spinal bones, 12 of which are known as the thoracic vertebrae.    Attached to these thoracic vertebrae are 24 individual ribs aligned in pairs. Think of the familiar photo of an upper body x-ray.  Both the spine and the rib cage are present in the middle portion of the x-ray.

What causes rib and mid-back pain?

Since we already know that these areas are directly connected, it is no surprise that an issue with the spine can cause rib pain.  How does this happen?

  • Postural strain
  • Muscle strains
  • Fractures
  • Inflammation of the cartilage
  • Overworked muscles
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Vertebral misalignments or subluxations

How can a chiropractor help with mid-back pain and rib pain?

Each year many millions of people visit chiropractors to keep their rib cage and the rest of the spine and structural system in balance.   Your lower back and neck all are connected to the thoracic spine and depend on it for stability, balance and strength. When your chiropractor releases subluxations in this area the benefits can be both physically and psychologically profound.


LiveStrong.com, “Cause of Back Pain Radiating to the Ribs,” Brady Williams, 13 June 2011

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