Yoga pose for a rib that keeps popping out of place

Yoga pose for a rib that keeps popping out of place


I had a question from one of my students that stumped me? She continuously has a rib that pops out of place. The chiropractor is able to put it back in place. She is wondering if there is anything I could recommend that would allow her to strengthen this area to prevent this from happening?

What to do with a Rib Popping out of Place

I have had a Popped Rib….no fun!!  This condition is also called Slipping Rib Syndrome or Rib Subluxation. It occurs when the cartilage attached to any of your “false ribs” breaks, resulting in abnormal movement. Most often this is caused by trauma or injury. It creates an instability in that area of the body even after it has been adjusted and put back in place. 

Movement Guidelines for a Popped Rib

First of all, I would suggest she be very cautious with twists (especially leveraged twists…supine twists can be risky due to the leverage of gravity) as that can be a culprit in the rib popping out. As far as strengthening, I would suggest rolling bridge, moving both ways on exhale, coming down on two full exhales – so she can really slow the movement down. The other thing that would be great is prone back bends such as cobra – doing this repetitively, rising on inhale and coming down on exhale for 3-6 repetitions, then holding the pose for 6-8 breaths. This will help strengthen the spinal erectors and hopefully get that rib more securely in place. (side note – deeper back bends might irritate it)

You might ask her to do a little self study – does she happen to notice what poses cause the rib to pop out of place? Does she take a day or two off practice after the chiropractor puts it in place? Does she happen to know which rib it is, and which side of her body?

Holistic Practices for a Popped Rib

After it has popped out like that, it becomes more susceptible to doing it more easily. The chiropractor adjustment can be painful (I STILL remember that, 10 years later!) Once, I just happened to mention it to my acupuncturist and she did ‘cupping’ on it – one treatment it was back in place and it wasn’t painful. That might be something for her to try. (My recollection is that mine didn’t go out again after that….but my memory might be hazy!!)

There might also be fascia adhesions causing this to happen repetitively…..perhaps a therapeutic massage, MELT class, Feldenkrais or Somatics would help.


Justine Shelton, Certified Yoga Therapist

Bridge Pose to Release Upper Back Tension with Justine Shelton, Certified Yoga Therapist

Multitasking in Yoga?! This version of Rolling Bridge will not only strengthen and stabilize your lower back by strengthening the intrinsic muscles near the spine as well as the front AND back of the core muscles, but the arm adaptation will massage the thoracic spine between the shoulder blades. This movement is beneficial for a Popped Rib, Slipping Rib Syndrome or Rib Subluxation. The more perpendicular the arms are to the floor, the better the massage will be…..and be sure to press those knuckles toward the ceiling. Give this a try, your whole spine will thank you!

Justine Shelton, Certified Yoga Therapist & Co-Founder of the Yoga Vista Academy

Justine is a graduate of the American Viniyoga Institute under the direction of Gary Kraftsow. She is the Co-Founder of the Yoga Vista Academy and author of their ‘Gentle Yoga for Low Back Care specialty certification program. Justine specializes in structural yoga therapy, specifically spinal disc injuries, back pain management, as well as joint therapy – including prehab and rehab for replacements.