The lower ribs protruding outwards results in a “flared” rib cage, which is known as rib flare. Rib flare can lead to various health issues if left untreated, although it may seem like a minor cosmetic concern. In this post, we’ll explore the causes of rib flare, how to fix rib flare and the various therapy methods available to correct it.
Causes of Rib Flare
One of the most common causes of rib flare is poor posture. When we sit or stand with our shoulders slumped forward and our chest contracted, the ribs can flare outwards. Rib flare can also occur due to weak abdominal muscles since they are unable to support the ribcage adequately.
An unbalanced training regimen can also contribute to rib flare. Many people tend to focus on workouts that strengthen the chest and upper back while neglecting the muscles of the lower back and core. This can result in an imbalance in the muscles of the upper body, leading to rib flare.
Finally, genetics can also play a role in the development of rib flare. Some people are born with a broader ribcage.
Assessment of Rib Flare
One can measure rib flare using a variety of techniques. A visual assessment involves observing the patient’s posture and rib cage appearance. Palpation evaluation involves feeling the ribs and surrounding muscles for any anomalies or stress. An X-ray examination may be necessary to rule out any underlying structural concerns.
Exercises to Fix Rib Flare
Exercises are an effective way to address rib flare. Strengthening exercises for the abdominal muscles, such as planks and sit-ups, can help to support the ribcage and prevent it from flaring outwards. Stretching exercises for tight muscles, such as the chest and upper back, can also help to improve posture and reduce rib flare.
Engaging in breathing exercises may also be beneficial. Focusing on deep breathing and using the diaphragm can help improve posture and alleviate stress in the muscles of the chest and ribcage. Exercises that improve posture and reduce rib flare, such as shoulder rolls and scapular retractions, can also provide benefits.
Lifestyle Changes to Fix Rib Flare
In addition to exercise, lifestyle adjustments can help reduce rib flare. Improving posture while sitting, standing, and sleeping will help keep rib flare at bay. Avoiding behaviours that aggravate rib flare, such as slouching in seats or lifting heavy weights, can be beneficial as well. Wearing supportive garments or braces can also aid in improving posture and rib cage support.
Medical Treatment for Rib Flare
In some cases, medical treatment may be necessary to address rib flare. Chiropractic care can help to realign the spine and reduce tension in the muscles of the chest and ribcage. Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles of the back and core, which can help to support the ribcage and reduce rib flare. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the underlying structural issues causing rib flare.
Although rib flare may seem like a minor cosmetic concern, it can lead to various health issues if left untreated. A combination of exercises, lifestyle adjustments, and, if necessary, medical treatment can efficiently treat rib flare. Improving posture, strengthening back and core muscles, and addressing any underlying structural abnormalities can help reduce rib flare and improve overall health and wellness.