Costovertebral Joint Sprain

The thoracic vertebrae which are located in between the cervical and the lumbar vertebrae attach themselves to the ribs on both the sides via the

costovertebral joint

. This joint comprises of soft connective tissues and cartilage which can be damaged, in case the ribs or the spine come under the influence of compressive forces.

Costovertebral Joint Sprain:

As mentioned above, compression forces on the ribs or the spine can lead to a sprain of the costovertebral leaving the soft tissues damaged. These compression forces can be the resultant of certain movements (like twisting, bending, arching lifting heavy weights et.) of the rib or the spine that can sometimes become overstretched.

When this happens, the joint sprains there by, damaging the cartilage and the tissues.

The above mentioned movements can lead to a wear and tear of the joint ultimately damaging it.


The initial symptoms of the sprain is a sudden pain either in the ribs or the upper back. This pain can either be immediate or can start a day after the joint has sprained.

  • Pain can worsen during routine activities like sneezing, coughing, bending, twisting et.
  • The upper back and the ribs could turn rigid.
  • Not often, but the shoulder blades can also experience pain.


After a thorough examination and confirmation of the sprain in the costovertebral, treatment would usually include physiotherapy. If rested properly, the joint will heal by itself within a short span of time. Avoiding activities that cause pain can help prevent any further damage to the soft tissues of the joint.

  • After the onset of the injury, signs of inflammation can be alleviated by using ice packs or NSAIDs.
  • A proper posture has to be maintained in order to avoid any pressure on the sprained joint.
  • Proper stretches and exercises are necessary to keep the joint from stiffening.


costovertebral joint

sprain can heal within a matter of 1-3 weeks if the advice of your doctor and the above steps are followed without fail.

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