how to fix rib flare

How to Fix Rib Flare: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Rib flare is a condition that affects the position and shape of the ribcage, causing the lower ribs to protrude outward instead of curving downward. This can lead to a range of problems, from back pain and poor posture to difficulty breathing and decreased athletic performance. However, with the right approach and treatment, it is possible to fix rib flare and regain optimal function and physical health.

In this article, we will explore in detail what causes rib flare, its symptoms, and various ways to treat it. We will also provide a FAQs section at the end to address common questions and concerns regarding this condition.

What Causes Rib Flare?

Rib flare is a biomechanical issue caused by various factors that prevent the ribcage from functioning properly. Common causes of rib flare include:

Poor Posture

One of the most common causes of rib flare is poor posture, specifically excessive spinal extension or anterior pelvic tilt. When your spine is overly curved, your ribcage tends to flare out, making it difficult to maintain proper alignment and engage your core muscles effectively.

Weak Core Muscles

Weak core muscles can also cause rib flare since they are responsible for supporting the ribcage and keeping it properly aligned. When your core muscles are weak, your ribcage can become unbalanced and shift out of place.

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Injuries and Trauma

Injuries or trauma to the ribcage or spine can cause rib flare by altering the shape and position of the bones and muscles. This can lead to muscle imbalances and other issues that affect core stability and spinal alignment.


Rib flare can also be caused by genetics, specifically the shape and structure of the ribcage itself. Some people simply have a more pronounced rib flare due to their bone structure, which can make it more challenging to fix.

Symptoms of Rib Flare

Rib flare can cause a range of symptoms depending on the severity of the condition. Common symptoms include:

Back Pain

Rib flare can put pressure on the spine and cause discomfort or pain in the back. This can range from mild to severe and may be exacerbated by certain activities, such as sitting or standing for long periods.

Poor Posture

Rib flare can also cause poor posture, making it difficult to stand, sit, or move properly. This can lead to further musculoskeletal issues and affect overall physical function and appearance.

Difficulty Breathing

In severe cases, rib flare can make it difficult to breathe properly by compressing the lungs and diaphragm. This can lead to shortness of breath or fatigue and may require medical attention.

Decreased Athletic Performance

Rib flare can also affect athletic performance by limiting core stability and range of motion. This can make it challenging to perform certain exercises or movements and may affect overall athletic ability.

Treatments for Rib Flare

There are various ways to treat rib flare and fix the underlying biomechanical issues that contribute to the condition. Some common treatments include:

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Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is often the first line of treatment for rib flare, as it can help identify the root cause of the condition and develop a targeted exercise program to address it. Physical therapy can also help improve posture, core strength, and overall musculoskeletal health.


In some cases, bracing may be recommended to help fix rib flare by providing external support for the ribcage and spine. Braces can also help promote proper alignment and core engagement during movement and activity.

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy, such as chiropractic care or massage therapy, can also help fix rib flare by manipulating the spine and soft tissues to promote proper alignment and muscle balance.


In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to fix severe cases of rib flare. This may involve reconstructing the ribcage or spine to restore proper function and alignment.

FAQs About Rib Flare

Q: Can rib flare be fixed?

A: Yes, rib flare can be fixed with the right treatment approach and exercise program. This may involve physical therapy, bracing, manual therapy, or surgery depending on the severity of the condition.

Q: Is rib flare a serious condition?

A: Rib flare can lead to a range of issues, from back pain and poor posture to difficulty breathing and decreased athletic performance. While it may not be life-threatening, it can significantly impact physical function and overall quality of life.

Q: How long does it take to fix rib flare?

A: The timeline for fixing rib flare will depend on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment used. In general, physical therapy and exercise programs can take several weeks or months to see significant improvement, while surgery may require several months of recovery time.

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Q: Can rib flare be prevented?

A: Rib flare can be prevented by maintaining good posture, engaging in regular exercise and strength training, and avoiding activities that may strain the spine or ribcage.

Q: What exercises can help fix rib flare?

A: Some exercises that may help fix rib flare include plank variations, dead bugs, bird dogs, bridges, and abdominal curls. These exercises focus on strengthening the core muscles and promoting proper alignment and posture.

In conclusion, rib flare is a common biomechanical issue that can cause a range of problems for physical function and overall health. However, with the right approach and treatment, it is possible to fix rib flare and regain optimal function and physical health. Whether through physical therapy, bracing, manual therapy, or surgery, there are various options available to address this condition and restore proper alignment and core stability. By taking proactive steps to maintain good posture and engage in regular strength training and exercise, you can also prevent rib flare from occurring in the first place and enjoy a healthier, more active lifestyle.

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