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What is cervical rib syndrome?

Cervical rib syndrome is a condition that can cause pain, weakness and neurological symptoms in the lower arm and hand. It can also cause Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

What causes cervical rib syndrome?

Cervical rib syndrome is a congenital (present from birth) condition and is caused by an extra growth of bone (or ‘rib’) that is present in the lower cervical spine (neck). This can often be present without causing symptoms. However it can sometimes cause symptoms, either just by being present, or due to the individual having problems such as poor posture. The extra piece of bone puts pressure on nerves and blood vessels which can cause the symptoms.

What are the symptoms of cervical rib syndrome?

Cervical rib syndrome can cause the following effects:
  • Reduced range of movement of the neck
  • Pain on movement of the neck
  • Weakness in lower arm and hand
  • Pins and needles or numbness in lower arm and hand

Physiotherapy for cervical rib syndrome

Physiotherapy is used to reduce pain and symptoms but it is only used to manage the condition. Physiotherapy cannot ‘fix’ the problem. Treatment may include:
  • Heat therapy for pain relief
  • Exercises for arm and hand to improve circulation and strength
  • Posture correction exercises to decrease symptoms
  • Shoulder and neck exercises to improve posture and relieve symptoms

Can cervical rib syndrome cause any long-term effects?

Physiotherapy can help you to manage the condition but in severe cases, or cases where physiotherapy has little effect, surgery can be used. This involves removal of the extra bone and relieving pressure on the nerves and blood vessels.

To arrange an assessment with Physio.co.uk please contact us or call 0330 088 7800.

Call us on: 0330 088 7800
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