Alexandra earned her master's degree in nursing education and is currently a hospital supervisor/administrator.
Why is there Pain in the Rib Cage?
Mark is a golfer who has developed a sharp pain around his rib cage, especially when twisting his upper body to the left. He has also noticed some bruising and tenderness in the same area. Mark is now wondering what he has injured and how it will affect his daily life.
Internal Oblique: Definition
In his research, Mark finds out that there are four sets of muscles that make up the abdominal muscles. They are the rectus abdominis, the transverse abdominis, the external obliques, and the internal obliques. There are two sets of internal oblique muscles that are located on each side of the body. They are below the rectus abdominis and just inside the hip bones. The internal obliques control the movement on the same side of the body. This means that if Mark twists to right, the right side internal obliques are contracting. Therefore, they are sometimes referred to as 'same side rotators'.
Mark is realizing that since he has pain when twisting his upper body, he may have injured one of his abdominal muscles. He needs to understand where the muscles are located in order to figure out which muscle is injured.
Internal Oblique: Location
The internal oblique begins at the lumbar fascia, the outer two-thirds of the inguinal ligament, and the front two-thirds of the iliac crest. The lumbar fascia is a connective tissue that covers the lower back. The inguinal ligament is a ligament located on the bottom-outer edge of the pelvis. The iliac crest is the upper-outside portion of the pelvis.
The internal oblique ends at the costal margin, aponeurosis of the rectus sheath, and the connected tendon to the pubic crest and pectineal line. The costal margin is located at the bottom on the rib cage. The aponeurosis is a fibrous tissue covering the rectus sheath, which is where the abdominal muscles come together. The pubic crest is the lower front of the pelvis.
Therefore, pain felt in the ribs is often caused by an injury to the internal obliques because they are attached to the bottom of the rib cage. Mark identifies that the pain he is feeling is probably caused by a strain to his internal oblique on the left side of his abdomen. This was most likely triggered by the twisting motion that he does with his body when he swings his golf club.
Internal Oblique: Function
The main functions of the internal oblique muscles are to support the abdominal wall, help with forced respirations, provide stability to the spine, and aid with trunk rotation. When exhaling, the internal obliques contract and push the organs of the abdomen into the chest cavity. This reduces the size of the lungs to force the air out. The internal obliques also work with the external obliques on the opposite side of the body during rotation of the trunk.
Mark understands that doing any movement that involves moving his torso will cause him discomfort until his left internal obliques are healed. This means that he may feel pain while sitting or standing anytime he twists his body from side to side. Since the internal obliques are also involved with breathing, there may also be pain when taking deep breaths, sneezing, or coughing. Ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory medication will help Mark remain comfortable while he heals.
The internal obliques are one of the four abdominal muscles. They start at the lumbar fascia, inguinal ligament, and iliac crest and end at the costal margin, aponeurosis of the rectus sheath, and pubic crest. Therefore, any action of the internal obliques causes a feeling of contraction right below the rib cage. The main functions of the internal obliques are to support the abdominal wall, stabilize the spine, aid in exhaling during respirations, and rotation of the torso or trunk.
Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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