A costovertebral joint (CVJ) sprain can be defined as an irritation, dysfunction, rotated or compressed joint at the location where the thoracic spine connects to the rib, known as the CVJ.
1. There are 12 thoracic vertebra
2. Each of these vertebra connect to the vertebra above and below via facet joints and the intervertebral disc, together known as the functional unit
3. These joints allow for movement, support out upright posture and hold us together to protect vital organs
4. Each of these vertebra connect to each rib via the CVJ which is encapsulated by strong connective tissue
Signs and Symptoms:
Poor breathing patterns
Pain on deep breathing
Decreased range of motion
Tightness through the chest
Inability to stand upright
Pain on coughing, sneezing, twisting and various movements
Thoracic spine and rib hypomobility
Sudden or poor bending, lifting and/or twisting movements
Often associated with poor breathing patterns leading to greater susceptibility
Inappropriate stretching without warming up e.g. overextending first thing in the morning.
A thorough subjective examination will look at the current history of the condition including aggravating and easing factors, mechanism of injury, previous pathologies, training regime and more.
The physiotherapist will check your range of motion, review posture, assess breathing patterns, palate for pain, stiffness and abnormally rotated joints amongst other specific tests.
Common Management Techniques
Heat and massage
Analgesic balm (ie. Voltaren, Fisiocrem)
Deep tissue massage
Thoracic and rib manipulation
Foam roller exercises
Muscle energy techniques
Active release techniques
Postural education and programs
Pain Relief Medications prescribed by your GP, such as pain relief of anti-inflammatories can assist in reducing pain.
Often Costovertebral Joint Dysfunction is a transient and self-limiting condition that can recover in a matter of a few days, or at worse a few weeks. The Physiotherapists at Palms Physiotherapy are skilled in treating back ailments and can effectively assist with pain relief and rapid recovery.