What to do for rib subluxation due to back squats?

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Rib subluxation involves slight dislocation or misalignment of a bone. It is important to note that the ribs normally move in a smooth gliding movement, but a subluxation can lead to joint jam and trigger pain that can be severe that the individual can hardly breathe.

The surrounding muscles can go into spasm and the pain can be worsened by movement or by normal breathing. Rib subluxation can also trigger costochondritis which is a form of chest pain. If the individual performs back squats, it can cause one or more ribs to subluxate.

Anatomy of the ribs

The ribs connect to the middle back or thoracic, spine and the breast bone or sternum in the front. Out of the 12 ribs, 10 ribs are attached while 2 on each side at the bottom do not attach in front which are called floating ribs. It is important to note that every rib is attached to a vertebrae or joint in the back. These connections are stabilized by ligaments and muscles along with a nerve in between every rib. When it comes to subluxation, it can cause irritation or pressure on any of these structures.

What are the causes?

Rib subluxation
Rib subluxation can occur even with sneezing, coughing or sleeping in the wrong position.

Rib subluxation can occur even with sneezing, coughing or sleeping in the wrong position. Any movement that jerks the arm behindhand the body in an abrupt jolting movement can lead to rib subluxation.

Weightlifting has been the usual cause of subluxation if the weight is too heavy or if the individual breathes incorrectly during lifting. Wrestling, tackle football and an incorrect turn while dancing can also cause rib subluxation.

Back squats

Back squats are performed in order to build up the gluteal muscles in the buttocks, quadriceps muscles in the thighs, hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh and muscles in the low back.

When performing a back squat, the individual must lift a heavy metal bar by grasping it behind the head across the upper shoulders. Even though a low back injury is quite common after performing back squats, other injuries such as rib subluxation can also occur.


In most cases of rib subluxation, chiropractic treatment can be used as a form of treatment. A chiropractor utilizes a drop table and a hand-held tool such as an activator or another type of lever to pop the rib back to its right position.

Rib subluxation can be prevented by keeping the back muscles strong and observing good posture at all times. Remember that a forward head posture can also increase the risk for rib subluxations. If an individual suspects rib subluxation, a doctor can be consulted so that proper assessment can be carried out as well as start the appropriate treatment.

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