Are there stretches and /or exercises I can do to even out my ribcage?

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I’m a 61-year-old man, physically fit. I have an uneven ribcage. The left side is bigger/deeper than the right. Are there stretches and /or exercises I can do to even out?

Disclaimer: Please note, this reply is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, physical therapist, or other qualified health provider with a medical condition.

Things to Know

  • Breathing exercises can help address an uneven rib cage.
  • Sudden changes to your ribcage with pain, discomfort or difficulty breathing warrants seeking medical attention.
  • Physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts who can help assess and treat your condition.

Thank you for your question, without a full examination of your ribcage we are not able to provide specifics on your condition though we can give you some general advice.

There can be multiple reasons that could cause an uneven ribcage including but not limited to: 

  • acquired at birth 
  • muscle strength or flexibility imbalances
  • changes in spinal curvature

In general, breathing is a good exercise to help expand and reduce the size of the ribcage. 

You can be seated or lying down in a comfortable position with both hands on the sides of the ribcage as you practice breathing in and out through the nose while focusing on feeling the ribcage rise and fall. Rest your hands on your ribcage and focus on expanding the side of the ribcage that is smaller with your breath as you inhale and then gently push on the side of the ribcage that is larger as you exhale. It is important to emphasize slow and controlled breathing and to not forcefully breathe in or out.

If the changes in your ribcage are new or you are experiencing any pain, discomfort, or difficulty with breathing it would be important to consult a medical professional for further examination. 

If you do decide to seek further evaluation from a physical therapist, there are physical therapists at Therapeutic Associates with additional training in Breathworks

Additionally you may consider seeking care with PTs from Breathe Your Truth or Postural Restoration Institute who specialize in common breathing dysfunctions that may help treat to your specific symptoms.

 

Try PT to learn to breath better.

Physical therapists treat much more than musculoskeletal injuries.

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