Monday, January 7, 2013

Acupuncture for a Fractured Rib

A fractured rib doesn't enter an acupuncturists office too often and it can't be accurately diagnosed with out an x-ray, although an x-ray may not even be able show a small fracture. On the other hand the following symptoms can be enough for a diagnosis of a fractured rib. A fracture usually occurs from an injury, but if the bones are weak due osteopenia something like severe coughing can also cause a fracture.

The symptoms:
  1. Localized Pain around the injury(in this case somewhere in the ribcage)
  2. Pain when breathing
  3. Pain when sleeping on it or when being touched in the area
If the fracture is severe enough and breathing becomes more of an issue you could also suffer from other symptoms like shortness of breath, light headedness and fatigue.

In Chinese Theory the meridians that go to the ribcage are the spleen, stomach, kidney, gallbladder, liver, the conception vessel and the lung meridian, which touches the top two ribs. Any manipulation to these channels can have an affect over the ribs.

Although there are two channels that have a stronger affect over the ribs then the others, the gallbladder and liver channel are very good at moving this area's painful stagnation. Together the Liver and gallbladder channels have a strong effect over the body's blood, tendons, sinews and the gallbladder in particular has a strong affect over the sides of the body.

There are two points specifically that with good stimulation can help relieve pain from a fractured rib and when coupled with other points and a heat therapy called moxabustion acupuncture can really boost the body's healing system to heal the fracture faster then with out treatment.

These two points can even be used with acupressure, although you will need the assistance of someone else to massage them and get good pressure into these points to make a difference. When it comes to acupuncture the points Gallbladder 34 and Liver 3, together combined can move painful qi (stagnation) away from the chest.

Point Locations:(also check above graphic)

These points are bilateral

GallBladder 34- Directly in front of the bottom front corner of the head of the fibula in a small depresson. The head of the fibula sticks out of the side of the leg behind and below the outside of the knee. This point is also good for sciatic pain, gallbladder issues, and pain on the side of the body.

Liver 3- In a depression on the top of the foot right above the webbing between the big toe and the second toe. This point is also good for benefiting the eyes, upset stomach and has a calming down effect.

Depending on the severity of the fracture, it will take multiple acupuncture treatments to help heal the fracture. Even just for chest pain in general these points can do wonders to bring alleviation to the area.

If you or anyone you know suffers from a fractured rib acupuncture can be a more affordable way to restore health and relieve pain.  I hope this article has been informative, please leave any comments or questions below. Thank you!


  1. Hello George, My wife injured her ribs ice skating. It is so painful she can't touch that area, so no direct treatment is possible. The ribs on both sides were quite painful, but the left side has cleared up. The right side seems to be worse than it was a couple of days ago. I found your site, so will try to work on the LI and GB meridians via acupressure. I am not a professional, but an avid amateur, for home injuries, self-treatment etc. We will try and see an acupunturist ASAP. If you are interested, I can reprot the results. Any further advice is appreciated.