Oh my god, I have an extra rib (cervical rib!)

Posted , 43 users are following.

Hi there,

I am one of the 1 in 200 people who have an extra rib. I just found out about, how do doctors and chiropractors miss something like this... I have been suffering for 5 years with neck and back pain.. yesterday I had a back scan for the first time when the chiro discovered the nasty rib!

so for 25 years I never knew this, anyone just had a similiar shocker like this?

I was asked by someone how the hell do you not realise that you have an extra rib.. well how does a person know!

To all the sufferers with this problem, take good care of yourself. In two weeks when I am through this pain (I am going to chiro 3 times a week !) I have to start exercising... perhaps a blessing in disquise becaus I am 7 kg overweight..

take care

1 like, 89 replies

89 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, I'm 16 yrs old. I went to the GP about a year ago because I thought i had a chest infection and was sent for a chest x-ray. The doctor wanted to see me and told me that good news i didn't have a chest infection, but a bad cold, and oh yea, you've got an extra rib. WHAT!!!!!!!! He was laughing a little, I was confused...and here i am writing on this website with a mild ache on my right shoulder. I was told it might get worse since i had a couple of years left to grow, and its a 'wait and see'. i really don't want an operation, when i'm already self-coscious as it is. My sister has a nickname for me: SPARE RIB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • Posted

      Hi!! Just as a matter of interest, do you know what blood group you are?
  • Posted


    Hiya my story is exactly the same as 16yrs old SPARE RIB:-) and a bit like Guest....

    I went to the GP few months ago because I i had a chest infection and was sent for a chest x-ray. Week later I rang the doctor he goes to me good news is this theres nothing mager just a miner infection and nothing serious nothing to get worried about and oh yea, you've got an extra rib. WHAT!!!!!!!! He was laughing a little, I got confused but he goes nothing to worried about its just unusal and very people get this he goes hes happy that hes seen one now and that was me:-) I aint got any pain or anything like that im all in good condition and good health so SPARE RIB

    You dont need to worry about it you are very youn just go and play your

    sports you'll be fine

    God bless


  • Posted

    Just over 2 years ago I started feeling numbness in my left arm and hand and I would get pins and needles and drop opjects a lot. I also get twitches in my legs and on a few occassions my legs have lost all sensation and I have fallen over. I went to my G.P who organised for me to go for an MRI scan and the results came back that I was fine! I have continued to have these symptoms and have remained concerned despite the fact that they said there was nothing the matter with me.

    Yesterday I went to donate blood and during the process my left arm became so numb. Three hours later it was still numb so NHS direct advised me to go to A&E. I spent 5 minutes with the doctor and he diagnosed me as having an 'extra rib' in my neck which at time presses on a major nerve within my neck and therefore causes all of my symptoms. When he pressed on the spot the whole of my left side felt the same sensation as when you knock your elbow. I have to go to my G.P now and get him to refer me to an Orphapaedic surgeon. I can't begin to tell you how relieved I am to find out that it's nothing more sinister.

    • Posted

      Hi!! Just as a matter of interest, do you know your blood group
  • Posted

    I have only recently found out about my spare rib. Doctors told me its very rare and that the usual treatment is surgery and removal of the ribs. But i dont want surgery. do i need it??

    My case is similar to \"another shocked person\" my left arm started to swell a few days ago and doctors have told me i got vein thrmbosis, caused by trhe extra rib pressuring my vessels. I am currently on medication for this, is any one else taking medication or has taken madication for this, please i would like to know??

    I'm hoping its not too serious and i suppose after living 19 years with an extra rib i can live much more lol

  • Posted

    Hey i am also someone with an extra rip around when i was 16 years old i had a cold that woudnt go away for months so the doctor told me that i should have an X ray, after the results were in he said everything is fine but we found an extra rib and he said that you might feel stiffness in your shoulders when you lift heavy objects and that wat happens to me all the time but now im starting to get back pain and weird chest pain hopefuly its not from the rib
  • Posted

    Hi All

    Around five years ago I was heavily into body building and had a substantial muscle mass around my traps. neck and lats. I gave it up and lost muscle mass rapidly. I tthen started to experience the numbness and tingling in my left arm and hand. I notice that none of you have experienced agonising and debilitating pain centred at the base of the neck/top of the shoulder. On occaision this has been so bad that I have been taken to hospital and received morphine injections from paramedics. To cut to the quick the old extra rib was discovered on MRI. They said they could operate but it would be a risky business. Because it only becomes really painful every 2 -3 months I've just been living with it. I would welcome any tips on alternatives to surgery. Take care. PS does anyone experience redening of the hand on the affected side, which redness disappears when the hand is elevated above the head - PPS Why meee!!!

    • Posted

      I had surgery to remove the extra rib on my right side about 10 yrs ago. It was actually cutting the nerves to my right arm. I had to have a neurosurgeon take it out. About 6 weeks ago I started having some numbness and pain on my left side. After a week with no sleep I went to my GP and then was sent to orthopedic. After the exam and xrays, he comes in to inform me that I now have 2 not 1 but 2 extra ribs on the left side. How rare is this again. So I am doing physical therapy. It hurts really bad and now down the middle and lower back. Not sure what I am going to do but praying something works soon.
  • Posted

    i am a new extra rib freak!!! im 36yrs old and had an x-ray for neck and upper arm spasms, i also have complete numbness in my left hand! been told the x-ray shows an extra rib???? [size=18:6b9cf1a852][/size:6b9cf1a852] i could live with the numbness but the muscle spasms i experience in my neck and upper arm muscles are really painfull.

    this has went on for at least 5mnths as im not a doctor visiting sort of person, ive chosen no painkillers as mind over matter can help sometimes...... awaiting on an mri and surgeon getting in touch.

    good luck and god bless u all.xx :?

  • Posted

    hi all,

    nice to know iam not alone ! ive sufferd for some 10 years now,i was at my wits end,ive had two ops on my left arm and shoulder,due to the total loss of feeling and pain in my neck,did manage some form of benifit for a short while,but like ive read on here i loose feeling in my lower limbs too, i have asthmas and after going for a chest xray for that my doctor found i have not one but two extra ribs ,at last i dont feel a fraud its like puting a sticking plaster on a cut some thing you can see, iam awaiting an mri scan in two weeks will come back and let you all know how iam doing good luck to you all and really sorry your in my gang lol xxx

  • Posted

    Just discovered I also have extra rib....it was the third physical therapist \"working\" on me for neck, head, ear pain that discovered it. Every morning I wake up feeling like I've been hit across the back of my neck with a baseball bat. One web-site I went to said it can be caused by trauma...I broke my collar-bone when I was a baby and wonder if this has anyting to do with it...in any case, I was told there was no surgery for it, only PT and excercise...after the PT pushing on it to \"mobilize it\" for a long time, I now feel it even more!
  • Posted


    I had two extra ribs! I was diagnosed when I was 17. My left side is worse, I have severe muscle wasting on my hand and my fingers partcularly my thumb twitch uncontrollably. I thought originally I had dislocated my thumb because of the loss of muscle but was refered to a neurologist by my GP. At this stage I had only lost some muscle and my fingers didnt twitch much however everything went down hill quite quickly especially with severe muscle wasting. Having undergron many tests over many weeks, which was very scary including neurological examinations, tests with electrical currents being passed down my arm and neck, MRI scans, ultrasounds adn almost a lumbar puncture, it wa decided I should have an x- ray. This fuond that I have two extra ribs one on each side of my neck. Because of the severe wasting adn twitching of my hand, it was decided by my consultant that the best thing to do was to remove the rib.

    I had an operation which lasted about 3 hours, my surgeon was very good and I have none of the side effects whcih could have occured- there were risks of nerves being severed and complete loss of feeling and movement in the arm. I have a very small scar just above my collar bone. This has prevented my condition from getting worse and I am grateful that this has happened. I am waiting for an operation to have my other rib removed. Nerve damage takes a long time to recover and muscle will recover very slowly if at all. Luckily however it wont get worse and I am still able to use my hand.

    Good Luck to everyone out there- and dont worry i have a lot of jokes made at my expense about spare ribs....

    • Posted

      So I recently found out that I have Cervical Ribs - one on each side. It has caused me to have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.. mainly on the right as I am right handed. I just wanted to know more about your surgery and the process itself as far as recovery and the actual surgery. I am doing physical therapy for now because my scapula muscles have deteriorated from my (TOS with the extra ribs) therapy really makes my pain get much worse or so I feel.. my hands aren’t turning blue yet which is good but I guess I’m just glad to know someone else has gone through this and am wanting to know more. 

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