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Shifting ribs

Hypermobility Forum for people with Marfan, EDS: Dislocations and subluxations: Shifting ribs
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Rose on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 04:59 am:


All of you: it's just so nice to see there are others out there who have the same sort of problems and who might actually know what I am talking about.

My ribs keep shifting. If I tell my friends, they look at me as if I'm a martian. I don't think they are dislocating or anything, they just shift and pop all the time. When I sneeze, laugh or sigh, to mention a few. The shifting itself doesn't hurt, it just is annoying. But my ribs do hurt at times, especially my lower ribs when I sit for some time. At first, it just were my lower ribs, but now, it's also the ones connected to my sternum. Or maybe also the sternum itself, I'm not sure. When I read all the messages on this board, I start to think that maybe, just maybe, I'm NOT nuts. Really, when I mention one of my strange symptoms, people either say it's impossible, or say it's just normal. (Talking about the extremes.) Anyway, I'm pretty sure many of you know what I'm talking about. Or is popping of ribs normal? I was quite sure I didn't have this some months ago, but it's happening all day now, and it just feels so 'normal'. So I'm starting to doubt. Perhaps reading about all the hyper mobility stuff has drawn my attention to it?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Hamfist on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 11:46 am:

A ligament is a soft tissue structure made up of connective tissue. Ligaments attach bones to bones. Hyper mobiles most definitely can dislocate ribs (ribs are "held in" with cartilage, which is of course made of collagen). With so-called "normal" folk this only occurs in severe trauma like car accidents when chests hit steering wheels, sports blows etc. But in hyper mobiles it can occur from coughing, sneezing, moving wrong, sleeping and many more ways - even just lifting your arms. If a rib comes out it needs to be put back, by you or someone else, as you can puncture a lung from the rubbing on your lungs of the dislocated rib (not to mention the terrible pain, this causes). A doctor may manipulate the dislocated rib to return it to its normal position. Manipulation should be done very early after dislocation, if possible. After that time, internal bleeding and displacement of body fluids may lead to shock. Also, many tissues lose their elasticity and become difficult to return to a normal position. Rib dislocations that you can "pop" back into normal position occur repeatedly. True ribs: ribs 1-7, are directly connected to the sternum by their costal cartilage typical rib articulates with the facet on the tip of the transverse process of its own vertebra to from a synovial joint. Some said that if ribs can dislocate, it is still impossible to diagnosis but just run your finger down along the spine until you come to one that's protruding and you have now made the dx!!

For you, the ribs must be so loose all you likely have to do is put slight pressure on them and they fall into place until the next time. Of course usually, unintentional dislocation of any joint creates much pain because of muscle spasm as the body tries to stop dislocation but intentional dislocation is without pain (you can see contortionists dislocating during their act). That it just feels so "normal" to you is most unusual and I find this particularly interesting!

Regards, Ian (

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Rose on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 09:06 am:

Well, usually I just breathe a little deeper. It hurts, but most of the time they will pop back. Sometimes I wake up with such sore ribs I can hardly breathe. But most of the time something will 'pop' just behind the sternum very soon, and the pain will decrease gradually during the day. Sometimes it takes a few days, and the pain seems to just go away by itself.

You make it sound quite dramatic, but as I said, I don't think they are dislocating, as it doesn't hurt that much. But if it feels like something must be out of place, I can't find out exactly what seems to be the problem. As you say: running your finger along the spine, well, mostly it's in the front, but I don't feel my ribs protruding there either. They just do not feel comfortable. I don't feel like bothering my doctor with this, guess he is not used to treating martians, think he will just say... well actually I don't know what he will say. But what do you think of it?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Hamfist on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 09:23 am:

Hi Rose,

I have seen the following about rib injury in a medical book “DEFINITION--Injury and displacement of a rib where it joins the sternum (breastbone) or spinal column. DISLOCATION means the rib and adjoining bones no longer touch each other. SUBLUXATION is a minor dislocation in which the joint surfaces still touch, but not in normal relation to each other.”

All the Doctor can do is put the rib back - but you are doing this yourself! And, as you say that it is mostly in the front it is likely more easy than at the spine end.

You would be the classic case to convince folk that ribs can dislocate.

Best regards, Ian

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Rose on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 10:23 am:

So you think it is dislocation? Or subluxation, as this is a minor dislocation in your definition? I really don't feel anything sticking out or whatever. It's just that... well, yesterday was a BAD day and today isn't really better. I don't think it's much use asking if anyone knows what to do about it? Or about the pain? Maybe I could stop sleeping, it would help a lot. But I think that I'll get tired of that, eventually. Well, I don't think that's funny either. Sigh. Sorry for venting.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Rose on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 03:37 am:

quote: I don't think it's much use asking if anyone knows what to do about it?

Guess there isn't... thanks for your help, Ian.

Does anyone else recognize this? Everything just shifts, pops and subluxes with me, and until some weeks ago, I didn't even know I was hyper mobile! Hence the feeling of being a martian. But my mobility doesn't seem hyper enough to put some diagnosis on it. So I guess I am still strange, even for a specific group of patients since strictly, I don't belong to that group.

Still I'm glad I found this board, it showes me I am not some curiosity, because these things are quite normal to you people.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Deb the friendly lurker on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 04:57 pm:

Do you have other problems with hypermobility? Were you or are you limber or double-jointed? Do you have a history of joint problems?

I'm somewhere around denial on the Tell Me You're Kidding scale. I was a limber kid from a loose-jointed and athletic family. I sprained my ankles repeatedly. No one thought anything of it. Now the weight of my lower legs makes my knees hurt at night and physical therapy is the extent of my exercise. It stinks.

How do you feel?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By Rose on Tuesday, December 09, 2003 - 12:08 pm:

Yes, I have other problems, unless you consider subluxions and joint pain all over no problem? Double-jointed? Hm, no. Limber, yes. I think? Always liked to put my legs behind my head as a kid. Haven't tried it for long, though. As for my history, I have TMD, have had anterior knee pain and back troubles since I was a kid. My joints always seemed to be too weak to do any sports I wanted. People said I was being too sensitive.

Now my ribs shift, my hips seem to be a problem with a capital P in terms of pain, I can't walk for more then about twenty minutes, can't sit for an extended period of time, and everything pops and shifts. I have good days as well as bad days, but right now I guess the only thing that doesn't hurt isn't attached to my body.

I don't fit in with any official diagnosis, so I'm not supposed to have any serious problems. My physical therapist says he doesn't know what to do with me anymore, I just saw my specialist and told him I was kind of OK, for I know he wouldn't believe me anyway. And my family doctor probably doesn't know I'm hyper mobile. I feel great!

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