What Is Rib Flare | What Are the Symptoms

Patients often hear the term rib flare in the rehab world. This condition can have many causes, but correcting the condition can improve a person’s breathing, posture, and core strength. Improperly aligned ribs and pelvis means you can’t properly engage with your diaphragm, reducing breathing capabilities.

Your core also won’t stabilize your spine properly due to not being able to create maximal intra-abdominal pressure. This restriction can lead to issues like back pain after the gym.

This condition can refer to two potential issues:

  • Abnormal rib positioning: Look for a symptom like your ribs poking out. You can easily tell when reaching your arms upwards or when lying down.
  • Rib angle changes: Check for rib angle changes by placing both thumbs along your ribs at your breastbone’s base. If your thumbs don’t produce a 90-degree angle, you may have rib flare.

What Causes Pain From Rib Flare?

An unstable spine causes tension and tightness in muscles like your hamstrings and hip flexors. 

Unfortunately, many postpartum women become susceptible to this condition following pregnancy. During pregnancy, your body undergoes a multitude of changes. These changes include moving around internal organs for the baby.

As a result, your pelvis widens. Some women return to their normal pelvis and ribcage resting position, while others don’t. 

Poor posture can also trigger this condition. It’s impossible to achieve a perfect posture, especially for the whole day. However, aligning your rib cage with your pelvis can help prevent rib flare. 

Focusing on feeling relaxed and tense-free can have a huge impact as well. If you do have pain though, a holistic chiropractor can help you achieve better posture and a neutral spine. A professional chiropractor can also help you by providing proper exercises. 

How to Relieve Rib Flare

Ideally, you should implement preventative measures to prevent rib flares from occurring in the first place. Sometimes rib flares can still happen without us realizing it or due to factors virtually out of our control, like pregnancy or genetics. 

While rib flares can be frustrating to deal with and can cause further injury and breathing issues, you can find relief in a few ways. However, your first objective is to determine if you have this condition.

One way to find out is by lying down and taking a few deep breaths. Then, let your organs relax and have someone take a picture pointing downwards to your ribs. The angle your ribs come together should be around 90 degrees. 

Specific breathing exercises can relieve this condition, but often only temporarily. The goal is to build your core strength. Doing so stabilizes your spine and prevents pain triggered by tightness and tension. 

Exercises to Help Reduce Rib Flare

A strong core is instrumental in improving your rib’s health, thus eliminating, or preventing rib flares.

When people hear the words core strength, they automatically picture doing 100 crunches daily to develop abs. However, the abs are just one core muscle out of many that work together to establish your core.

You must learn to properly engage with your core to prevent using the wrong muscles and overusing the right ones. Many refer to this process as “pulling their belly buttons into their spines,” but that is outdated information that limits your ability to maximize your core stability and strength.

Once you learn how to brace your core, you can incorporate the following exercises:

These exercises can help you learn how engage and brace your core in other workout routines. We teach you all about the core and train you how to use and maximize it in our our online core and stability course.

Rib Flare Treatment | REACH Rehab + Chiropractic | Plymouth, Michigan

You can do different breathing and core strengthening exercises at home to address rib flares. However, treating this condition often requires additional professional help. The right Plymouth, MI, chiropractor can help treat this uncomfortable condition and show you how to prevent it.

At REACH Rehab + Chiropractic, our chiropractors and movement specialists take a holistic approach. We are passionate about helping patients eliminate rib flare, no matter how severe.

Contact REACH Rehab + Chiropractic at (734) 530-9134 to book an appointment

Chiropractic Treatment

Hands-on, holistic, and customized approach to relieving muscle, joint, and nerve pain.

Massage Therapy

Goal-oriented bodywork for sustainable changes in pain, posture, and flexibility.