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11/21/2011 11:21 AM

On subluxed rib heads

SSLMD
Posts: 1023
Member

Subluxed rib heads are one of the more common problems of people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrom or hypermobility syndrome. The ribs join the lateral processes of the spine in a joint where the rib end overlaps the front surface of the lateral process. Subluxation of this joint leads to pain at the site, most often between the shoulder blades. The subluxation often stretches the nerve for that level, which runs along the bottom of the rib. That may result in pain that seems to go through to the front or around to the side. The whole business is quite painful. I am aware of six procedures which, at least sometimes, correct the subluxation.

1. Fold your arms across your chest and twist your shoulders sharply to the opposite side.

2. Hang by your arms from the edge of a door or other overhead support. If your shoulders sublux easily, this may not be a good idea.

3. Tie a tennis ball into the middle of a nylon stocking, lay the stocking on the floor, lay down on the tennis ball (using the ends of the stocking to position the ball) so that the ball is a little to the side of the sore spot, then put enough weight on the ball to spring the rib a little away from the lateral process.

4. Have someone stand in front of, reach around and lay the base of a thumb along the rib to the side of the sore spot, then give you a firm hug. How firm will require practice. Start easy and work up to the right pressure.

5. Bend your elbows and hold them at your sides. Have someone stand behind you and lift sharply on your elbows.

6. See a chiropractor or osteopathic physician who does manipulation.

The subluxation my be brought on by coughing or by lifting/carrying heavy loads.

Chest wall pain in the front of the chest is most often costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage where it turns to bone. There are no joints in front, just a variable length of cartilage between the end of the bony rib and the breast bone. That junction is a weak point; trouble occurs there for the same reason that an iron cord always breaks right where it comes out of the iron. We usually can offer only non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease that.

Post edited by: SSLMD, at: 12/02/2011 06:03 AM

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12/05/2011 02:34 AM
Ianslife
Posts: 5
New Member

Hi there, I suffer something very similar to what you have described but, according to my wife, after sleeping on my side my chest area is smaller than it normally is and by the amount of pain I suffer I quite easily agree with her. I have to stretch my chest to re-position my ribs etc and this causes even more pain. The only thing I differ from your description is that all of my pain is in the front of my chest. From what you have written here I understand it to mean that the soft joints at the front of my ribs are so lax that they are allowing my ribs to move across each other, does this sound right?

Primarily may I ask, is there anything I can do to prevent this (other than not sleeping on my side as this happens by habit while I'm asleep) and what can I do to ease the horrendous pain I suffer 5/7 mornings?

Many thanks for your excellent description of this condition.

Ian.


12/05/2011 06:23 AM
SSLMD
Posts: 1023
Member

I don't know what is happening, but can offer some conjectures. Since there are no joints in front, just bendable cartilage, I suspect the joints in back may now be lax enough to allow for an unusual range of motion, without much pain there, that puts more strain on the cartilage. If that's the case, and I reiterate, that's conjecture, the only thing I can think of that might provide a longer term solution would be prolotherapy directed toward the CV joints in back to stabiliize them. Altering the position in which you sleep might help. If sleeping on you back is uncomfortable, sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees might work, as might sleeping in a reclining chair.

12/05/2011 12:33 PM
Ianslife
Posts: 5
New Member

Thank you so much for your response, actually I do find it a lot more comfortable sleeping in a chair than I do in bed so perhaps I should look at this as a longer term measure to ease the pain.

12/06/2011 06:44 AM
hatbox121
hatbox121  
Posts: 11022
VIP Member

I use the tennis ball on my hip areas. It helps with my issues there. I usually do a cat like bend, hard to describe, to get my ribs to pop back in. Thanks for the info. I'll have to try these the next time I'm having trouble getting the cat bend to work.

12/07/2011 01:32 PM
SSLMD
Posts: 1023
Member

ianslife:

I wonder if a Valsalva maneuver--taking a deep breath and lowing against pursed lips, so that little air escapes despite high pressure--would help set things right in the mornings. The increased pressure in the chest would also greatly reduce blood flow to the chest and thence to the brain, causing fainting, so you would want to sit down while doing that.


12/07/2011 02:10 PM
Ianslife
Posts: 5
New Member

That is very similar to what I am doing already but I generally just take a deep breath and hold it for a short while (as long as I can stand the pain!) I will definitely give the blowing a try next time. We are thinking about investing in an adjustable bed so that I am in more of a sitting position while I sleep.

I just wanted to say I have had more help and understanding from yourself in one distance conversation than I have had in years of visits to my GP! Usually She is very good but I just think she doesn't understand the processes involved in this condition.

Thank you very very much Smile

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