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Orthopedic diseases 2023

Symptoms and treatment of cervical rib

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Symptoms and treatment of cervical rib
Symptoms and treatment of cervical rib

Symptoms of cervical rib, which is a rare syndrome that causes a rib to grow on one of the vertebrae in the neck, can include:

  • Lump in the neck;
  • Shoulder and neck pain;
  • Tingling in arms, hands or fingers;
  • Purple hands and fingers, especially during cold weather;
  • Swelling of an arm;

These symptoms are rare and appear when the rib has fully developed, compressing a blood vessel or nerve and, therefore, can vary in intensity and duration according to each case.

bilateral cervical rib

Bilateral cervical rib

Although the cervical rib is present from birth, most patients only discover it between the ages of 20 and 40, especially when the rib is formed only by a bunch of fibers, which are not visible on X-ray.

Thus, when there are circulation problems in the arms, pain in the neck, or constant tingling of the arms and fingers, but common causes such as cervical hernia or thoracic outlet syndrome are not present, syndrome can be suspected of the cervical rib.

How to treat cervical rib

The best treatment for cervical rib syndrome is surgery to remove excess bone. However, this technique is only used when the patient has advanced symptoms, such as severe pain and tingling in the arms, which prevent the performance of daily activities.

Before using surgery, the orthopedist may recommend other ways to relieve symptoms, which include:

  • Do neck stretches every 2 hours. See how to do it at: Stretches for Neck Pain;
  • Apply a warm compress to the neck for 10 minutes, using a cloth diaper or iron towel, for example;
  • Receiving a neck or back massage,as it helps to decrease the build-up of tension by relaxing the neck muscles;
  • Learning techniques to protect the neck and back in activities of daily living, participating in occupational therapy;
  • Do physical therapy with stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck muscles, relieving muscle pain.

In addition, the doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs such as Diclofenac or pain relievers such as Naproxen and Paracetamol to reduce the discomfort and pain caused by the cervical rib.

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