So many people are suffering from chronic neck and shoulder pain.  Chronic pain is frustrating!  You may have even tried multiple health care providers to find relief.  Sometimes it may feel as if a massage helps only for temporary relaxation.  You might be surprised to learn you may have a fixated or subluxated first rib.  Most people I’ve treated with this condition didn’t even realize their ribs started that high.

What is a Fixated First Rib?

shoulder pain first rib fixationMedical doctors may overlook this problem in their exam and diagnosis.  Chiropractic doctors have been trained in musculoskeletal diagnosis and palpation.  Every rib in our body moves.  As we breathe, the rib cage expands and the ribs move.  If a rib becomes fixated it will feel “out of place”.  We call that a fixated or subluxated rib.  A fixated rib will often cause neck and shoulder pain.  As the rib is fixated in an elevated position, surrounding muscles become aggravated and inflamed.  This causes pain.

Many things can cause a fixated or subluxated rib.  Common causes include bad posture, long hours at the desk, over exercising, moving heavy objects, having a physical job, or possibly sustaining an injury.


  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • A dull, heavy pain in the arm
  • Dull achy pain and tightness in upper back and shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Trapezius spasm
  • Shooting pain down the arm
  • Mid-back pain
  • Paraesthesia (tingling, prickling, or burning in the arm)
  • Chest & sternal pain
  • Pain with a deep breath



Fixated ribs are a chiropractor’s bread and butter.  After a good rib adjustment the patient will often look at the doctor as if he is magic.  “How did you make my pain go away so fast?!”  Well, it’s not magic, it’s anatomy and science.  Once that rib is “back in place” and moving properly again, your body can finally heal.  The inflamed and aggravated muscles will begin to relax and things will feel normal again.

Portland chiropractor scar tissue treatment IASTMOther treatments like Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) can help break up adhesions and trigger points that form in the angry muscles.  Someone skilled in IASTM can help you feel pain free again.  Massage therapy can help relax the muscles and restore proper blood flow to the area.  A good massage therapist will be able to find trigger points (knots) and break them up.

Treatment sometimes is very successful and can be fixed in one visit.  More commonly (especially with chronic cases) people will need additional visits to fully resolve the issue.

Portland OR Chiropractor at Cascade Chiropractic & Wellness provide customized chiropractic care to the Portland OR, Gresham OR, Clackamas OR, Beaverton OR and Vancouver WA communities.  Visit our main website at

Choose several options to schedule your appointment: call (503) 257-1324 or request with our online form.

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