Scoliosis is a condition characterised by an excessive sideways curvature of the spine and a variety of other symptoms. One of those symptoms is a visible rib hump, where one or more ribs protrude noticeably. Many patients first spot the signs of scoliosis through changes in their appearance, and a rib hump is a key sign to look out for. It is most obvious when the patient is bending forward.
Why does scoliosis cause a rib hump?
Thoracic scoliosis (a curvature of the spine in the upper half of the back) can cause the patient's chest to twist into an unusual position. This can lead the chest, pelvis and hips to become misaligned, which in turn will create the recognisable scoliosis rib hump.
Whether your scoliosis bends to the left or right, the bend causes tightened muscles on one side and lax, lengthened muscles on the other. This causes the ribs on the concave side to press closer together, and the ribs on the opposite side to separate further. The rib hump can usually be seen at the point where the ribs are separated.
Can the rib hump be treated?
Most forms of scoliosis can be effectively treated through specialised physiotherapy and a regular, specific exercise programme; the patient's rib hump will usually become less visible as treatment takes effect. If the patient is still growing, it is also possible to treat scoliosis (and the rib hump) through the use of bracing, as can be seen in this study by T. Thulbourne and R. Gillespie.
Exercises and stretches that strengthen the muscles on the side of the rib hump can help to reduce the appearance of the hump. Strengthening the muscles in the thoracic region plays a large part in reducing the overall curvature in the upper region of the back, too. Both stretching exercises and postural exercises can be beneficial for scoliosis sufferers, and can generally be done from the comfort of one's own home.
Here at Scoliosis SOS, we offer 4-week therapy courses using our own ScolioGold method, which utilises an array of different highly-specialised physiotherapy methods (including Schroth and SEAS) to treat every aspect of the condition. Click here to see the results that ScolioGold treatment can achieve.
Contact Scoliosis SOS today to book an initial consultation with our scoliosis consultants.