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cvj dysfunction

Costovertebral dysfunction

Within your spine there are several different joints including intervertebral joints between each vertebra and costovertebral joints. The costovertebral joints are the joints connecting the thoracic vertebrae and the ribs.

During sports injuries the cartilage or ligaments that act as support for the joints become damaged. Excessive stretching or compressive stretching forces on the costovertebral joints may occur if there is any movement involving the spine and rib cage.


What is costovertebral dysfunction?

Costovertebral dysfunction can also be referred to as a costovertebral sprain or a costovertebral joint injury. If a force on the costovertebral joint is too high, joint injury may occur and this may include cartilage or connective tissue damage.


What causes costovertebral dysfunction?

Costovertebral dysfunction is often a result of excessive arching, lifting, twisting or bending movements.

You are more likely to develop costovertebral dysfunction if you have: poor posture, live a sedentary lifestyle, poor core stability, muscle tightness/weakness, mid-back stiffness, or you do a lot of lifting, bending or sitting.


What are the symptoms of costovertebral dysfunction?

There are several different symptoms of costovertebral dysfunction with the main symptom being pain in the chest or upper back and also includes:

  • Pain particularly with sneezing or deep breathing or coughing
  • Pain when twisting or bending or any other slight spinal movement
  • Decreased movement of your middle back (thoracic spine)
  • Tender joint when palpated

The symptoms may be experienced immediately when doing the activity that causes the costovertebral dysfunction but you can also feel it the next morning or a few hours later. The pain is often felt on one side of the body and you may experience muscle spasms.


How is costovertebral dysfunction diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist will carry out a full subjective and objective examination to determine if it is costovertebral dysfunction or something else that is causing your symptoms. A scan such as an MRI may confirm diagnosis or rule out any other causes for your symptoms.

How is costovertebral dysfunction diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist will carry out a full subjective and objective examination to determine if it is costovertebral dysfunction or something else that is causing your symptoms. A scan such as an MRI may confirm diagnosis or rule out any other causes for your symptoms.


What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for costovertebral dysfunction?

There are several different treatment options for costovertebral dysfunction. Following your physiotherapy assessment you will be given a tailored treatment programme based on your lifestyle and goals and treatment will vary based on the severity of your condition and your symptoms.

Treatment may include:

  • Joint mobilisation
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Ultrasound
  • Acupuncture
  • Education and advice
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Strengthening exercises including core stability
  • Postural advice
  • Pilates
  • Ergonomic assessment
  • Activity modification advice

Benefit of physiotherapy for costovertebral dysfunction?

There are several benefits of seeking physiotherapy for costovertebral dysfunction and our aim is to get you back to your best in the shortest space of time. The different benefits you receive will be based on your symptoms and goals.

Physiotherapy aids:

  • Reduced pain
  • Increased range of movement
  • Increased strength
  • Improved posture
  • Safer workstation
  • Education around your condition

Don't let pain win...

Our Expert Physiotherapists in Witham and Chelmsford specialise in providing the latest treatments and techniques in order to get you pain free as soon as possible, cure the cause of your pain and help you to return to pre-injury levels of activity.

Furthermore, we'll also give you a bespoke exercise and rehabilitation program, and advise you on how to prevent re-injury and remain pain free.

Get in touch with us now on 01245 830280 or 07980 898212 or alternatively send us a message.


At Farrell Physiotherapy we work with some of the uk's top insurance companies to ensure you're covered.

We can accept payment from AXA (PPP), Bupa, PruHealth, simplyhealth and Standard Life, if you have any questions about alternative payment methods, please get in touch with us using the contact form at the bottom of the page and we'll get back to you asap!


I recently injured my Achilles Tendon and I was able to get immediate treatment from a very enthusiastic physiotherapist at ‘Farrell Physiotherapy’.  I then had further regular treatment from Ben and continued with the follow-up exercises he gave me to do at home.  I found Ben’s enthusiasm contagious and with the treatment and advice he gave me I have been able to get back to regular activity.  I have been able to play 18 holes of competitive golf 4 days consecutively with there being no issues.


I was referred to Ben after a road traffic accident for pain in my neck. The service I received was excellent. He not only treated my neck pain but also helped me to correct my bad posture which was not aiding my recovery.
Ben is extremely friendly and gives a very professional service and I can’t thank him enough for resolving the problem. I would highly recommend him.

- Carol Joyce


I am an animal physiotherapist myself and can not recommend Ben more highly. He is the human physio I have been searching so long for!! There are very safe COVID procedures, and a great friendly and efficient environment. Ben makes you feel welcome, explains things perfectly and always ensures you're comfortable.

Most importantly Ben has enormously helped me with my knees. After having radiographs, an MRI, seeing a NHS and another private physio - none of them could help in that way that Ben did in 6 sessions and continues to do so. I have a long way to go but I have never had any faith that my goals are achievable but with Ben I now do - thank you!!

- Lauren Hunt


I have recently completed a course of treatment with Ben Farrell and am pleased to highly recommend him to others. I went to see Ben when I was suffering with extreme pain due to a trapped nerve in my neck which caused pain to radiate into my shoulder, arm and hand. I got an appointment very quickly and Ben was able to diagnose the problem and work on alleviating the pain. Part of the treatment has involved improving my longstanding poor posture which I’ve had since a child and believed was something that could not be changed. Ben has also advised me on how to continue to work on this to avoid this problem from reoccurring in the future.

- Judith Woosnam


I visited the practice on personal recommendation following a doctor’s diagnosis of an as then unspecified “shoulder injury”. I had seen my GP as the increasing pain in my arm and shoulder was not only preventing me from lifting my arm above 90%, but was also increasingly stopping me from sleeping at night.

After an initial diagnosis session where Ben Farrell had quickly identified the actual problem, I then undertook a course of hands on physiotherapy and an increasing program of exercise. In view of the complexity of the problem (which I was advised had been going on for far longer than I has know), the physiotherapy program was, therefore, pretty comprehensive, however, always with excellent support and guidance from Ben along the way.

I am very pleased with the results and I am now both playing much better golf and getting a full night’s sleep. And, I have no problems lifting my arm its full range!!!! So, the next thing on the agenda will be the golf game at Benton Hall.

- Stephen


Before visiting Ben I had been suffering from pain in my achillies tendons, which had stopped me from running my first half marathon. I had previously visited other physios local to me but had made no improvement. On my first visit ,Ben immediately diagnosed that my problem was coming from an old lower back injury. I was impressed that he was determined to treat the root cause of the injury (back) and provide a long term cure, and not just focus on a short term treatment of my achilles. Ben’s friendly but straight talking manner made my visits very enjoyable. I was so impressed that I took my 14 year old son to see Ben when he had an injury prior to a very important football trial. I would not hesitate to highly recommend Ben to anyone .

- Mike Smith


Couldn’t have asked for a better service than I got in just 4 weeks I spent with Mr Farrell.

My first appointment with Mr Farrell was 4 weeks prior to running the London marathon and I was in no fit state to be able to run it due to a knee injury. Mr Farrell gave me a number of exercises to completely daily and a handful of one on one sessions as well. He also advised me on picking a better pair of running shoes to support my foot shape and create less pain in my knee.

A combination of the hard work put in by Mr Farrell and myself I managed to complete the marathon in just over 4 hours. A great achieve considering I couldn’t run for 4 months prior to the race due to my knee. My only regret was not going to see Mr Farrell earlier! Then I may have be able to probably train for it. Would highly recommend Mr Farrell to anyone, a very professional service and great results.

- Fraser Murray


One of the main things I learnt when you treated me was your ability to dispel some of the old chestnuts about joint pain. Through your physiotherapy and advice I now walk more and cycle a lot. I do not rest up when I have a flair up, I do the maximum exercise I can without causing to great a discomfort to my joints. I avoid Painkillers if at all possible.

I can honestly say that you have helped me to take a new outlook on life. Thank you.

Ben Farrell was very thorough and professional when I went to him for treatment on my tennis elbow. He treated my posture as well as the elbow. The exercises he taught me both enabled the pain to go away and stay away, thus doing himself out of work! He and all his staff were very pleasant and friendly and I would recommend him unreservedly.

- Shane Murphy


Ben is an excellent physiotherapist who provided a considered care plan that enabled me to achieve my goals. Ben in his unique professional and personable manner demonstrated judgement and considerable experience to assist my recovery

After suffering persistent shoulder pain for several months I went to Farrell Physiotherapy on the recommendation of my husband.

After only a short course of treatment and undertaking daily exercises I am now pain free.

I would gladly recommend Farrell Physiotherapy to any person requiring physiotherapy treatment.

- C Wiltshire


I received excellent treatment for a foot and knee complaint that I thought would need an operation. It was very debilitating. However, after my course of physiotherapy sessions and continuation of exercises to do at home, I am now pain free and back to my normal exercise routine at the gym.

- C Dobinson

Where we are

We have two clinic locations within the Essex area. Physiotherapy in Witham and Physiotherapy in Chelmsford, please use the map below to view contact details for the clinic that you would prefer to visit. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday
6am to 9pm 
9am to 12pm
Same day & Emergency appointments available most times.


Unit 3b, The Old Coal Yard,
Little Waltham Road,
Broomfield, Chelmsford


Witham Leisure Centre,

Get In Touch

If you have any questions prior to booking just send us a message using the form and we'll be in touch asap.

If you would prefer to talk to us on the phone we can be reached on 01245 830280 or 07980 898212 during business hours.

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