The 1st Rib: What is it and Why Does my Arm Hurt because of it?

Today I’m going to talk about the first rib and how it relates to arm pain and the brachial plexus.

The term “brachial plexus” might not mean much to you but it should.  The nerves coming out of  your neck  and going down your arm make up a group called the brachial plexus.  Why is this important? Because they all travel on top of the first rib. 

 That’s right!  A lot of you may not realize but the first rib is in the corner of your neck, about the length of your thumb to your index finger.  It comes around and attaches to the upper part of the sternum.  The brachial plexus runs on top of the first rib and then goes underneath your collarbone, spreading out and going down your arm.

 A lot of people get numbness and tingling in a couple of the digits in their hand.  Or

they’ll get nerve pain that comes down around their elbow.  These issues can be caused from the neck or first rib and how they relate to the clavicle or any of the joints and muscles on the way down.

 What we find is when the first rib is not functioning people will get pain. It’s not necessarily from the neck or the shoulder itself.  But if we can get the rib functioning you can get a lot of relief from that pain.

Examples of a stuck rib:

  • Unable to throw a ball as easily as you used to
  • A catch in your neck that causes you to throw sidearm
  • Arm won’t come up over top
  • Lifting your arm straight up becomes very difficult

 Those are just a few signs that your first rib might not be functioning and can lead to pain down the arm.  It’s great to know if it’s coming from the neck, first rib or from the shoulder itself.  That’s what we try to figure out here Stones River Chiropractic.  

 If you’re dealing with arm, upper neck and shoulder pain come on in, see us and

we’ll try to figure out where it’s coming from.

*You can watch a video on this information on our YouTube channel

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