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Guest Guest

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

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

71 Replies

  • Guest Guest

    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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest Guest


    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


    • julie568 julie568 Guest

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  • Guest Guest

    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.

  • Guest Guest

    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

  • Guest Guest

    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

    • julie568 julie568 Guest

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  • Guest Guest

    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!!!

    • julie568 julie568 Guest

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    • barbie64152 barbie64152 Guest

      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.

  • jaine jaine

    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 :?

    • julie568 julie568 jaine

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  • irishstaffs irishstaffs

    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

  • Guest Guest

    Just discovered I also have extra 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 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!

  • Guest Guest


    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....

  • midlands-nick midlands-nick

    im 36....

    been suffering with arm numbness and pin and needles in myu arms/hands since I was about 23, NHS gave me accupuncture and tried most of the antiimflammatory drugs but all they did was make my stomach bad so I gave up the pain relief and learnt to live with the tingles, leg numbess, arm numbness, the dropping things and all teh other little treats that you get..

    today YES TODAY I went to my osteopath with bad neck and shoulder pain and while examining me he found what he believes to be c-rib on both sides, he phoned and spoke to my doctor and by 11am I had been x-rayed at the local hospital !!! now have a 7 day wait while the x-rays are assessed then I find out how bad and if they will operate etc

    obviously there is a chance that its firbrous growth or something else but the doctors face when she examined me and found them was classic, she had never seen another case and told me so.

    I will keep you all informed as to how it goes and I have registered with this same name im using here...


  • Guest Guest

    Hello all,

    I have one extra neck bone with 2 extra ribs attached. I had severe back pain when I was a child and was diagnosed with this extra bones and scoliosis when I was twelve.

    I had no surgery and the only treatment recommended was exercising. When I stopped growing up the pain became less severe. Now I know what makes me feel worse (for example if I sleep on my stomach my arms become numb). If I avoid this things, I feel normal, usually.

    I am now 26, I gave birth to a normal baby with no complications for my spine, so everything was fine.

    On my last x-ray can be seen that the ribs spliced (united) with the lower ribs, so there is no more danger that they might damage any nerves or blood vessels or organs.

    I plan to go swimming regularly as this makes my back feel much better.

    My point is that surgery is not always necessary. However, I can see from your experiences that my case isn't that bad...

    Good luck to everyone!

  • spare spare


    glad im not alone however i do sympathise a lot i dont think anyone understands the pain we go through unless thye have had it however it seems to be a rare thing. i personally have never heard of such a thing!

    mine started in august last year 3 days before i went on holiday a trapped nerve in my arm ruined the holiday i came home my arm ached but not to bad returned to work and started to get a really bad headache lasting 5 weeks at the back of my head i had acupuncture for this and over a weekend it subsided.. however i started to get an ache in my neck constantly so off to the dr again he gave me acupuncture again in my neck i was so upset at this as it really hurt not like the previous acupuncture id had sad apparantly he may have trapped a nerve great NOT! and since then its been downhill an ache in my arm and armpit across my shoulders back of my head down my arm into my hand i constantly drop things an xray brought back results of 2 extra ribs not what the dr suspected as he thought it may be cervic al disc erosion. finally i know whats up and im not going mad however i still havent got the pain under control and now off for a mri scan he mentioned that i could have also a disc prolapse and mentioned arthritis im finally been sent to specialist im pleased to say at least i hope hell know what he talking about sad today im trying a new medication gabapentin fingers crossed that this works smile

  • lm1964 lm1964


    I was so relieved to find this information!!! My 16 year old son has been complaining about a mass in his

    neck, numbness in his arm, and back pain. It is obvious something is not right. We had x-rays done and

    we are being sent to a spine and shoulder ortho doctor. They can not get him in for another month and we

    have been so worried. It is interesting that everyone is affected on the left side and diagnosis has been

    around the age of 16. Does anyone know why this is?

  • lm1964 lm1964

    Dr. Richard J. Sanders wrote a book "Thoracic Outlet Syndrome".

    It is the result of having an extra rib. How many people here had a

    extended neck injury when they were young?

  • irishstaffs irishstaffs

    well since my last entry,i have got no farther with treatment with the doctors for the extra ribs, we still seem to be going round in circurls,and treating things on a separt bases, migrains..... numbness, tireness, neck pain,and pins and needles,and now we having to treat the sideeffcts of the combination of drugs iam taking,which i have to say dont seem to be workng,as for the comment above i dont ever remember a neck injury when i was young, but i did suffer lots and lots of sore throats and chest infections,and at the age of 10-11 i was told i had st vitas dance,which was brought on by a throat infection or so i was told,and was in hospital for quite some time,i never just get a always turns in a septic epic........... any help would be greatful........................

  • bodicca bodicca

    I am 58 years old and about 30 years ago after a routine chest xray I was told I had 2 extra ribs. I have to say its never caused me any trouble, and I am sorry to read that other people with the same condition get pain, pins and needles numbness etc. So I `m wondering that if you do have those symptoms, it might not automatically be because of the extra ribs. Incidentally, I have never been an exercise freak, but I have always been very supple. So maybe that helps.

  • jubjub0810 jubjub0810

    i am 16 years old and i have 6 extra ribs! I had them since i was born and they never caused me any pain, just a bit of stiffnes of my left arm..i dont excersise that much, 2-3 times a week and i eat healthy. I also hear that some people get pain in the neck or arms, maybe the excersise helps. I am just very glad i am not the only person with this condition and if anyone knows y this happens please reply.



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