You may have not realized it, but your rib cage plays an important role in the healthy function of your respiratory system. Your rib cage is formed by the sternum, ribs, cartilage and the thoracic vertebrae. Three Important functions of your rib cage include: protecting your vital organs such as your heart and lungs, providing support for your upper extremities, and assisting with respiration.
During respiration, your rib cage expands and contracts. On inhalation your ribs elevate, and when exhaling they move downward. Your rib cage also moves up and down when you move your spine through the normal ranges of motion. When you extend backward your rib cage expands and moves upward, and when you bend forward into a flexed posture, this causes your ribs to contract and move downward.
The rib cage also becomes affected when your spine loses its healthy alignment. Spinal misalignments will cause restricted movements of both the spine and the rib cage. With chronic spinal misalignment, poor posture, and injuries, the natural respiratory health benefits of the rib cage can become impaired. If you suffer from activity induced asthma or respiratory distress, there is a possibility that your rib cage
could be involved.
Because your rib cage connects directly to the spine, a vertebral misalignment has the potential of affecting one or more ribs. Even a small amount of misalignment can have a significant effect on the health and function of your rib cage.
Occasionally if a rib becomes misaligned, it can lead to pain radiating around to the sternum or side of your chest. However, that’s not always the case. A misalignment of the rib cage can be pain-free and remain undetected for several months or even longer. Therefore, an absence of rib cage pain cannot rule out a misalignment.
Many of our patients have reported improvements in energy and respiratory function after receiving chiropractic adjustments to their spine, ribs and even their shoulder blades. With all the interconnecting muscles and joints, a chiropractic adjustment has the potential to improve rib cage motion and function resulting in better respiration.