How to fix Flared Ribs

Not many people are familiar with the term “rib flare,” but it is more popular than you would believe. It’s evident from your rib cage protruding from the rest of your body by about 1-2 inches. Flared ribs may make your chest appear puffed out and your rib cage, as well. You could even see your ribs protrude from beneath your shirt. The interesting aspect about flared ribs is that the problem isn’t with the ribs themselves but rather muscular imbalances that induce poor posture. Unfortunately, these muscular imbalances can be resolved by correcting the muscle imbalances that produce your ribs to flare.

This will most likely include building core strength, breathing exercises, stretching, muscular massage, and other therapies I’ll review in this article. You should be sure to correct any rib flare that you may discover, as it might produce back pain, neck discomfort, and shoulder agony and can also affect your respiratory system. In this article, I’ll go over some of the most effective stretches, workouts, and methods that I’ve discovered to help alleviate rib flare caused by poor posture.

Please be advised that I am not a professional, and this should not be considered medical advice. I simply like correcting my own posture and would want to discuss my findings with anybody else who has the same issues.

Bad Posture can cause a Rib Flare

What exactly are flared ribs, and how does having poor posture contribute to its development? The condition is frequently linked with an overly extended or increased arch in the low back if you look at anybody who has rib flare. It’s possible that the ribs are fine, but muscle imbalances have been exacerbated by poor posture. You may notice two distinct characteristics if you view a person with a rib flare from the side.

  • The lower back is arched and shortened.
  • An apparent longer abdomen – The chest points up and the front of the pelvis down due to the apparent greater length between the rib cage and the pelvis’s front, resulting in a minor pelvic tilt.

Muscle imbalances are the underlying cause of both of these characteristics, and they must be resolved to repair rib flare. Muscle imbalances result from adopting and maintaining particular postures for lengthy periods, whether good or terrible. Your muscles will adapt to those postures over time. Muscles will generally become either too tight or too weak if they are in a less than ideal position. So, what exactly are the muscular imbalances that lead to these two characteristics?

The low back arch is frequently a symptom of muscular tightness in the lower back, which will cause the curve of your lower back to elongate. The puffed-out chest and lengthy midsection are indicators of a weak core and abdominal muscles.

Here’s how to address each muscular imbalance.

  • Arched Lower Back – This indicates that your low back is too tense. The muscles are so tense that they prevent you from extending your lower back. As a consequence, your ribs expand out. To correct a restricted lower back, you’ll need to apply massage and flexibility methods to lengthen your lower back and latissimus dorsi (lats) and restore its normal length.
  • Longer lower abdomen – The long and weak core muscles are to blame for this apparent length. The core can be strengthened by tightening the muscles and shortening the length, which draws the rib cage and pelvis forward.

In the following section, we’ll look at methods and corrective exercises for correcting these muscular imbalances.

How to Correct Rib Flares: Corrective Exercises for Muscle imbalances

Rib flare and the accompanying symptoms can be addressed with stretching methods and workouts to strengthen weak muscles. The treatment entails massaging the tight muscles with self-massage release methods to loosen them up and eliminate any trigger points, after which stretching. The next stage is to develop the weak muscles, which will be the abdominal muscles in the case of rib flare. The following two points are the most crucial phases in treating rib flare caused by muscular imbalances.

However, if you believe your rib flare is due to poor shoulder mobility, I’ve included a workout below that may assist. Furthermore, Yourbodyposture also provides a variety of breathing exercises to enhance your posture, which are mentioned below. Before we get started, remember that if your health problem is due to pregnancy, trauma, or congenital factors, I do not recommend doing these activities unless otherwise advised by your doctor.

1. Release Techniques

Massage tools may help resolve flared ribs’ symptoms since they allow you to relax muscular stiffness and eliminate any trigger points. You can utilize simple myofascial release tools, such as a massage ball or foam roller to achieve these releases.

Release the Lats

The first stage is to use a foam roller to relax the lats. The lats are a pair of huge muscles that stretch from the top of your back down to your lower back. Make sure to roll the dough out on both sides. Watch the video above to see how it’s done successfully.

Low Back Release

This video demonstrates how to foam roll out your whole back, but you should concentrate on the techniques that target the lower back. It’s still a good idea to foam roll the upper back after you’ve treated it since you could hit the lat again. If a foam roller is too big and ineffective for you, consider using a massage ball instead.

2. Stretches

This part covers stretching the same muscle groups that you stretched in the previous section to aid in the development of length and flexibility. For the greatest benefits, perform these stretches on a daily basis.

Lat Stretches

This video demonstrates two standing lat stretches, which you may do from any place. If these stretches don’t work for you or are difficult to keep, the stretch demonstrated in the video below may be ideal.

To perform this stretch, you’ll need a table or bench.

If you’d like to know more about how the lats function and how to stretch them efficiently, I suggest you watch the video above.

Lower Back Stretches

After the lats have been stretched, you may now concentrate on the lower back. A Child’s pose with good form is an excellent method to stretch out the back.

In the following section, we’ll look at individual exercises you may try.

3. Strengthening Exercises

Exercises in this category focus on developing the abdominal muscles and core.

Plank Exercise

A plank, you’ll hear over and over, is the greatest core strengthener, and that’s absolutely correct. However, excellent form is required to obtain any advantages from planking exercises.

The video above demonstrates how to perform a plank with good form.

  • Get into a conventional plank position, keeping your pelvis and shoulders at the same level.
  • Keep the pelvis tucked, and avoid rounding your upper back.
  • If you have rib flare, you should avoid arching your low back while doing a plank since this is the position you should be attempting to avoid.
  • For about 30 seconds, hold this move and complete 5 sets.
  • Planking can help with balance and posture and reduce back pain by training your core.

Dead Bug Exercise

The dead bug is another easy core strengthening exercise.

  • Begin by laying down on your back with both feet and hands in the air, imitating the position of a dead bug.
  • Knees must be bent to 90°.
  • While extending your left foot out and down to the floor, reach back behind your head with your right arm.
  • Your foot should not make physical contact with the floor; it should only be above the floor.
  • Hold the pose for 5 seconds.
  • As you return your right arm and left leg to the center, repeat the action on the other side by bringing your left arm behind your head as you lower your right foot to the floor. Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Maintain a neutral spine while extending the arm and opposite legs.
  • Repeat this exercise for 60 seconds, then three times more.
  • Ensure that you pay close attention to your ribs as you raise your arms behind your head, especially if they are flaring.

4. Breathing Techniques

One of the best methods to cure your rib flare is to practice good breathing techniques. When you breathe in, make sure to engage your diaphragm by breathing through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. In general, take big breaths slowly and deeply; your stomach should puff out or rise as you breathe in, followed by your chest. Finally, imagine blowing out a candle while exhaling slowly.

Exercise for Better Breathing

  • This is a superb exercise to improve your breathing technique.
  • You are standing with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your hands on each lower back side and make a fist with both hands.
  • Lean back slightly with your shoulder blades squeezed together and open your mouth as wide as possible.
  • Take a deep breath and fill your lungs with air.
  • This may be challenging at first, but you should notice an improvement in your breathing with time.

Diaphragm Breathing Core Activation

If you want to get any benefit from core strengthening exercises, making sure your core is activated is critical. The video below demonstrates how to utilize breathing to activate your core.

  • With both arms at your side, lie down on your back. Lift your abs and engage your core muscles.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale slowly and fully through your mouth, removing all air from your lungs.
  • Maintain a flat lower back and keep your rib cage lowered.
  • This posture should be maintained for a few moments. Inhale towards your belly, then exhale gently while tightening your abdominal muscles.
  • During this exercise, ensure that your neck and chest are tension-free.

5. Improve Shoulder Mobility

The following section is intended to assist you in improving your shoulder overhead mobility if you have flared ribs.

Arm Raise

  • While trying to raise your arms overhead, this movement will assist with your extension and mobility concerns.
  • Sit cross-legged against a wall with your back pressed firmly against it and your abs squeezed.
  • Raise your arms above your head and touch the wall behind you, maintaining a firm core as you do so.
  • Perform 5 sets of 10 reps each.
  • If it’s too simple, you can try this exercise while standing, as shown in the video above.

Tips for Avoiding Flared Ribs

Since we frequently claim that ‘prevention is preferable to cure,’ I can’t depart without sharing some fantastic suggestions for avoiding it. Here are some helpful hints to get you started:

Practice Good Posture

Proper posture is the ability to sit, stand, recline, drive, and so on without putting strain on your ligaments or muscles.

  • Your feet should be flat on a level surface, your back should be level against the chair, and your hip’s weight should be equally dispersed while you sit.
  • If you spend a significant portion of your day sitting, purchase a chair with lumbar support or consider obtaining a kneeling chair or stability ball chair to relieve strain from your lumbar back. You might also want to consider a standing desk.
  • When you stand, be aware of your posture as well.
  • Your form may be incorrect even when you exercise despite the fact that doing so can cause your ribs to flare without your knowledge.
  • When you stand, bend, or even sleep, it’s vital to consider your posture.

Inappropriate posture puts strain and tension on your ligaments and muscles, which can lead to a slew of illnesses. It also affects your lungs’ capacity to intake air when you breathe.

Practice Proper Breathing

Proper breathing is also an essential component in avoiding rib flare.

  • Make sure you breathe deeply and utilize your diaphragm.
  • It’s also crucial to breathe through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Your breathing should be controlled; the process should not be hurried.
  • When breathing in and out, your body should be upright.

Take note of these pointers and practice them on a daily basis until good posture and deep breathing are as simple as well, you know.

Rib Flare: Signs and Symptoms

So now that you know what a rib flare is, it’s time to look for the warning signals. The symptoms and signs of rib flare are listed below:

Breathing Complications

Flared ribs restrict the diaphragm’s ability to function correctly because the rib cage is incorrectly positioned. This makes breathing difficult since the body can’t get into the rest and digest state. You may notice that you’re breathing shallowly and that it’s difficult to fully breathe in or exhale as you normally would. To make things easier, think of your diaphragm as the muscle that helps you breathe. When you breathe in, it contracts, and when you exhale, it relaxes. In individuals with flared ribs, the diaphragm, which is located below the rib cage, is frequently overactive.

Stress on the Diaphragm

When your ribs flare, the diaphragm may overstretch and jeopardize your ability to function correctly. Furthermore, if the diaphragm is unable to perform as it should, this adds stress on the muscles between your ribs, known as the intercostals. Remember that your diaphragm is involved in breathing.

Anxiety

Your rib flare—stemming from the breathing issues mentioned above—might be causing your recent bout of anxiety and panic attacks. This is why it might be tough for you to fully exhale stale air from your body when you’re stuck in the flared rib cage posture. Keeping this rib flare posture for a long period can cause shallow breathing, which has been linked to a ‘fight or flight response. This is why it’s crucial to take full breaths when you stretch. It induces a calm condition in the body.

Lower Back Pain

Flared ribs can produce an anterior pelvic tilt and pull your lumbar spine forward into an extreme extension. This leads to several issues, including weakened hamstrings, glutes, and abdominals while back extensors and hip flexors tense. This might result in severe lower back discomfort.

Neck and Shoulder pain

The rib cage is critical in maintaining your spine’s stability. Flared ribs can extend the thoracic spine, which causes your body’s alignment to be thrown off. When this happens, your shoulders will not be able to flex properly, putting strain on the muscles in your neck and shoulders, which is quite painful.

In the following section, we’ll examine some reasons for rib flare.

What are the other causes of Rib Flare?

The primary goal of this post is to address rib flare caused by muscle imbalances, but there are numerous additional possibilities.

Genetics, Rib Deformities, and Injuries

Rib flare, like your parents’ bow legs, spaced teeth, or thick hair, may be inherited. Unfortunately, rib flare is hereditary. Pectus Excavatum, in which the chest bone is sunken into the chest, is another form of rib disease. Flared shoulder blades, ribs, and stooped posture are additional indicators. Pectus excavatum is caused by an unknown factor, but it is believed to be hereditary. Mayo Clinic says this is more serious than a rib flare. More severe instances may push the heart out of position or even press the lungs.

Unlike flared ribs, which may be treated using exercises and other methods, Pectus Excavatum is healed by wearing a specialized surgical brace or by surgery (as seen in the video above). Other similar ailments include Pectus Carinatum, characterized by a projecting breastbone due to rapid cartilage development.

The aim of this post is not to discuss Pectus Excavatum or Carinatum, but we felt it necessary to point out the distinctions. We’re only talking about rib flare due to mobility difficulties, muscular problems, poor posture, and incorrect breathing. However, the video above is worth watching if you believe you have a form of this condition. Other than that, seeing a physical therapist or a doctor is a good idea.

Incorrect breathing habits

Your stomach should puff out as much as your ribs when you breathe in deeply, but you may notice that only your chest moves while breathing in certain circumstances. If this occurs, it implies that your diaphragm is not being used while you breathe. Ineffective breathing can result in panic attacks, sleeplessness, dizziness, rib discomfort, and other issues.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy has a higher need for oxygen than usual, requiring the diaphragm to work harder than normal. This can tire out the diaphragm muscles. The baby also presses on the ribs and chest as it grows, causing the uterus to rise. The diaphragm may be pushed upwards, and the ribcage pushed forward and sideways, resulting in flared ribs. This happens in the third trimester, generally.

Hindered Mobility

Another contributor to rib flare is lack of mobility. If reaching for things overhead causes your shoulders to be restricted, you may need to arch your lower back and flare out your rib cage to make the posture work. For example, if someone with flared ribs attempts to grab something overhead rather than vertically extending their hands, they may only be able to raise them halfway and need to arch their back to achieve the desired angle. Improving your shoulder mobility and flexibility might prevent your ribs from flaring if you get them caught.

Conclusion: Other Techniques to Aid with Rib Flare Recovery

Rib flare due to muscular or breathing difficulties can usually be treated with these exercises and breathing strategies.

  • Stretching can help release tense muscles that keep your back in an arched position if they are done frequently and correctly for a long time.
  • It’s critical that you stretch your muscles (warm them up) before and after rigorous exercise if you work out.
  • You should still do daily stretches, even if you don’t go to the gym every day. Your lower back and lats should be your main concern since you have rib flare.
  • You may want to consider investing in a low back stretching machine to assist you in stretching out the arch in your lower back.
  • A peanut massage ball might come in useful for neck tension, back discomfort, and increased thoracic mobility. The peanut-shaped balls are meant to support your back and release tension in neighboring muscles.
  • Massage balls and foam rollers are also helpful tools for reducing muscular or skeletal discomfort, restoring joint and ligament flexibility, and relaxing cramped muscles. If you don’t have these tools, it’s strongly advised that you acquire at least one or both.
  • Another thing you should examine is correcting the tilt of your pelvis, which usually accompanies flared ribs.
  • Strengthening your glutes and hamstrings and stretching out your hip flexors and quads all play a role in treating an anterior pelvic tilt.
  • There may also be hyperlordosis alongside an anterior pelvic tilt.

We cannot advocate for using these techniques if you have rib flare due to trauma (such as a car accident, etc.), bone deformation, or pregnancy. You must visit a medical expert for help if you have any of these issues. They will be in a better position to advise you about the best corrective actions to take. If none of these problems are applicable, and you’re comfortable performing these exercises, keep in mind that consistency is crucial.

Expectations should be realistic, and you shouldn’t expect to see results right away. However, with time, your rib flare will improve considerably and hopefully be a thing of the past.

Based out of Minnesota, home of the world-famous mayoclinic.org, and founded by a team of health professionals, including Chiropractors and Physical Therapists. Yourbodyposture.com was started with the goal of being your go-to resource for all things posture and physical health-related.


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