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The ribs are the individual bones that form the rib cage. The rib cage serves to protect the vital organs such as the lungs and the heart. The rib cage spans from the neck to near the hips and is made of hard bone tissue for protection, but pieced together by flexible cartilage to allow for expansion of the lungs for breathing.
Muscles in between each rib hold the bones together, maintain proper spacing, and facilitate the expansion for breathing. Humans have 12 pairs of ribs: 14 true ribs that surround the body, 6 false ribs that partially surround the body starting from the sternum, and 4 false ribs that originate at the spine and do not surround the body at all.
Ribs can become bruised, broken, separated, and the muscles can be pulled or torn. Excessive strain in twisting motions, abrupt direction changes, or a blunt force can all cause muscle pain of the ribs, while blunt or sharp forces are almost always the cause of breaks or bruising. Rib pain is often felt at or around the ribs and can radiate into the back or abdominals. The pain can range from sore or annoying on inspiration to extremely painful and disruptive of normal breathing.
Use KT Tape to relieve pressure and pain, increase circulation to promote the healing process, and relax any strained muscles*. Due to the properties of KT Tape, the ribs remain flexible enough to allow for breathing, but excess motion is alleviated and increased circulation is encouraged. This flexible support provides a very unique system for managing pain and encouraging the body to heal*.
Most rib injuries are left to heal on their own with little intervention. In some cases, as with muscle tears or separation, immobilization with special belts is used to allow for proper healing. Broken or fractured ribs cannot be put into a cast or immobilized like other bones of the body making the healing process long and at times quite painful. Avoid contact sports, lightly and progressively stretch, and ice after activity. Seek additional care if breathing becomes difficult, extreme swelling or bruising occurs, or sharp pains radiate to other areas.
For additional resources, please visit the KT Tape Forum.
*NOT CLINICALLY PROVEN FOR ALL INJURIES