Tietzes syndrome?

by Amanda
(Upstate NY)

Thoracic outlet syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome

For years I have felt that I needed to pop my sternum, like when your fingers need to pop, but the pressure would build up so much that I would press my shoulders back and it would pop and the pressure would release. During physical therapy for a neck injury, my therapist did a sternum myofascial release and the following day, my sternum popped so hard that I was in intense pain. After 3 x-rays, a chest ultrasound and a CT scan, no one has been able to tell me what is wrong with me.

It has been 8 months! The pain isn't as intense but is constantly there. The sternum area swells up and hurts really badly. Only recently, in the area of my collarbone, it is swelling and very tender. The pain is spreading and nothing is relieving it.

My shoulder is aching and my hand/fingers are numb. Last week, the doctor decided it was a good idea to push roughly on my sternum and then pound (literally with a closed fist) twice on each side of my ribs. I just wish I had answers and better yet, relief! Could this be Tietzes Syndrome?

Hello Amanda,
Yes, this could certainly be Tietzes Syndrome but there are other conditions that mimic it, so do also stay close to the medical world. Especially if you start to get any lymph gland or lung symptoms.

As you've probably read in the Tietzes syndrome casefile it affects the rib-sternum joints and sometimes the collarbone-sternum joints. In the latter case it often goes down the arm because of the relationship of the collar bone to the nerves and artery to the arm in the Inter Scalene Triangle ... Any heartburn?

Could you attach a photo of the area to show the swelling for the benefit of other readers? You'll have to play with the correct light to bring out the oedema.

Firstly, a no-no and it's a big no-no. Don't let anyone pound hard on your midback. It will aggravate, and may have been the cause.

Ice massage, or better cold hot therapy is probably the most important thing you can do.

I wish I could help because I've worked out myself after years of battling to treat the syndrome successfully how to manage to treat Tietzes syndrome, but it's not common knowledge in chiro or other professions.

Start looking for a conscientious, thorough Chiropractor in your area. Someone who will take the time to work with you. Remember, no heavy back treatment.

If you find someone, and they would like to Skype me, we could talk, and I could make some suggestions. Sadly however most doctors, chiros too are pretty arrogant, and that precludes learning, and asking others.

Because the treatment is in and around the breast tissue, if you go to a male, take a friend along.

Let me know.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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