Thoracic, Chest and Rib Pain

The mid back, ribs and chest are commonly referred to as the thoracic cage which consists of:

  • 12 thoracic vertebrae and discs
  • 12 pairs of ribs
  • Costal cartilage
  • Sternum – which is made up of the manubrium, sternum and xiphoid process

Thoracic cage

This part of the skeleton is extremely strong as has several functions.

  1. It protects your vital organs such as the heart, lungs and liver.
  2. It forms a rigid yet expandable structure that helps you to breath.
  3. There is red blood cell formation in the ribs and sternum.
  4. There are many muscles that attach to it.


So what can go wrong? Firstly, and most importantly, if you are concerned that you have chest pain make an appointment with your GP or if it is severe and worsening then get yourself to A&E quickly or call an ambulance. Fortunately chiropractors are primary contact practitioners who are trained to give respiratory and cardiovascular examinations so if you do come to the clinic with a more serious issue we should be able to detect it and send you to the right place. It will occasionally be necessary to have an x-ray or MRI scan to further investigate any issues.


Once more serious illness has been ruled out the most likely cause of your thoracic pain is of a mechanical nature and should respond well to chiropractic treatment. Listed below are the types of conditions that we see at the clinic:

  • Thoracic facet sprain/restriction
  • Costotransverse and costovertebral sprain (The areas that join the ribs to the spine)
  • Scoliosis – see the separate section on this issue
  • T4 syndrome
  • Muscle tension
  • Disc prolapse – very uncommon in this area
  • Scheuermann’s disease


Just remember we’ve treated hundreds of cases similar to yours at the clinic and with chiropractic treatment we can significantly reduce your pain and improve your movement. With gentle adjustments and mobilisation we can free up any restrictions in the thoracic spine and give you exercises to help you to help yourself.

Let us help you achieve your goal

To make an appointment simply call us at 01372 383 050 or fill out this form to send us an email.