Can Osteopathy Help With A Broken Rib?

Written by Ann Wilkinson, P.T.M.S.

Q: I fell off my horse two weeks ago and broke my rib.  My hip and shoulder are sore on that side to.  I could use treatment on the hip and shoulder however, can osteopathy help with the broken rib?

 

A: In treating such an injury, I would begin globally.  First, balancing the pelvis and craniosacral system as well as releasing the transverse planes of the body (the connective tissue that runs parallel at the hips, rib cage, thorax and cranium) so as to take out the torque and twisting that sets in as a pattern of protection. 
Moving into the injury more locally would require mobilizing the bruised and tender tissue as well as using manual lymphatic drainage to decrease adhesions and swelling.  This will allow healing to occur more quickly and on the deeper layers of injury.
 

Prevention of a frozen shoulder will be a priority especially when rib cage pain and dysfunction may inhibit overhead activity on the injured side.  Mobilization of the scapula and shoulder as well as the fascia over the broken rib will be necessary.  When the rib is healed it may well be out of alignment and require mobilization.  Very gentle unwinding of the trunk, rib cage and rib itself may allow the rib to align itself without the need for manipulation even in the acute stages.

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