First Rib Mobilization for Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope my physical therapy videos for common injuries and syndromes will help put you on the road to recovery. If you have a question, just ask! Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.


When your first rib is immobile or hypomobile, it can cause a lot of problems. Many of the symptoms can be masked as something else. It can cause neck pain, shoulder pain, arm and hand numbness and tingling, and even headaches. There are a few ways to mobilize your first rib.
 
First, take a belt, towel, or anything firm. Resistive bands will NOT work for this. Place the belt or towel between your neck and shoulder on the side you want to mobilize. Pull the front part across your body almost like a seatbelt and hold it with your opposite hand. Then take the hand on the same side and grab the belt behind you. Side bend and rotate your neck toward the side of the pain to relax your scalene muscles. Pull downward and across with the opposite hand and take a deep breath in and out. As you are breathing out, pull down harder.
 
If that is not quite enough stretch, you can take a tennis ball or racquet ball and place it in the same spot between your neck and shoulder where the first rib is. Side bend and rotate your neck toward the side of pain and take a deep breath in and push down as you are breathing out. You can do this as many times as you want throughout the day!
 



DISCLAIMER: The videos, posts and comments contained on this website are not medical advice. Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy; however, she is not YOUR Physical Therapist and can't possibly diagnose you through the Internet. So don’t use this website to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they have given you. This website is only intended to show and discuss correct physical therapy exercises and information and should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any medical condition. If you are not properly diagnosed, the information on this website won’t help, and it could make things worse. So seriously, check with your healthcare professional before doing any of the techniques discussed herein. If you experience any pain or difficulty while exercising, stop immediately and see your healthcare professional.