Rib pain, or rib flare, is a common problem that most likely occurs during the third trimester. It can occur on either side of the rib cage and in various areas. It can be a constant discomfort or ache, or intermittent sharp pain on breathing, moving, carrying or exercising.
Causes of rib pain:
- The growth of baby and subsequent displacement of internal organs, causing pressure on the rib cage. The ribs are forced to shift position to accommodate this and expand to increase your lung capacity, causing strain on the joints.
- Rigidity, or poor movement, of the thoracic spine
- Increased weight of breasts, leading to altered posture
- Hormonal changes affecting muscle, ligament and cartilage resulting in pain in-between the ribs
While there is usually nothing to worry about with regards to rib pain, you will nevertheless find that it is uncomfortable and undesirable, and you will probably be looking for ways to alleviate the pain.
Most women find that the pain disappears within a few days or weeks of delivery.
Physiotherapy for Rib Pain:
- Assessment of the thoracic spine, ribs and shoulders
- Assessment of posture and movement
- Manual therapy (including joint mobilisations, soft tissue manipulation) as indicated
- Advice on posture, work ergonomics, positioning and daily activities
- Teaching breathing techniques, relaxation and yoga
- Teaching exercises and stretches to alleviate pain, improve movement and posture