Thoracic Facet / Rib dysfunction

What is it?

Localised unilateral mid back pain with altered range of motion

What are the causes?

Generally a sudden and unguarded movement. 
  • May have a history off sudden, explosive coughing and sneezing with pain on inspiration or report a sudden stabbing pain following lifting, this is indicative of thoracic facet joint sprain. 
  • A crushing blow to the chest (eg. motor vehicle accident) can also precipitate dysfunction.
  • Heavy lifting or prolonged pulling of the shoulder can also cause dysfunction.
  • Flexion/rotation injuries or the trunk are common causes of lower thoracic rib dysfunction (eg. motor vehicle accident)

What are the symptoms?

  • Unilateral pain is the most common symptom.
  • Pain is commonly described as sharp and stabbing, accentuated by inspiration and coughing
  • Rib head dysfunction commonly accompanies thoracic dysfunction as do intercostal muscle spasm.
  • Other common complaints are continuous soreness at the costovertebral junction resembling intercostal neuralgia.

Thoracic Facet / Rib dysfunction