Buzzing in the centre of my chest

by Tracey Kolb
(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

Buzzing in the centre of my chest since a fall.

I had a fall seven weeks ago with blunt trauma to the right rib cage causing severe winding. No visible breakages on x-ray, and ultrasound of liver, kidneys, gall bladder all clear.
I've experienced heartburn on and off, and most recently, pressure behind my breast bone. occasional heart palpitations, and most recently a buzzing in the centre of my chest. Please help!

Hello Tracey,
Please tell me more about the fall. Was it over a shoe in the corridor, or from thirty feet?

There is cartilage joining the ribs to the sternum, or breastbone. Run your finger tips down this cartilage on both sides simultaneously; you can apply light pressure. Normally it shouldn't be tender; are any of those on the right significantly more tender than those on the left?

You make no mention of pain in the midback. Is that correct?

Now for a little test where your examiner needs to be sensible. Ask him or her to stand behind you and place their hands against the ribcage on the sides just under the armpits. Squeeze, take in a deep breath. Do you experience any pain? Where?

Now standing at the side, one hand is placed against the rib cage posteriorally and the other anteriorally just beneath the breast. Squeeze and breathe in again; compare with the right side. Is there a significant difference? Where?

Lie on your tum on a pillow. Ask him to pressure with the thumb firmly just to the side of the spine, comparing sides, up and down the midback. Is there any significant pain? Where?

Sit on the edge of the bed and twist first right and left, and then to the side; all okay?

The most usual injury from a fall of this nature is either to the ribs themselves which can be contused or broken, or the joints they form with the spine and the breastbone. The above tests will give you an idea of whether this is musculoskeletal.

If none of these are significantly painful, then one has to presume that you may have an internal injury.

Keeping to this thread, give me some answers.

Dr B

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Mar 20, 2015
More About My Fall...
by: Tracey

It's been over 8 weeks now since the accident. At the time of the fall, I'd been running down a hill, at speed, and tripped on a rock, falling heavily on my ribs, also grazing my right hip shoulder and chin. It's since been discovered that I may have a forced sliding hiatus hernia, as well.

There have been bouts of strong daily palpitations, sometimes lasting several hours although both my doctor and I are confident they're not heart related.

There is additional soreness along my breastbone on the right side on one spot.

There is no longer any soreness when placing pressure on my ribs from the side nor posteriorally nor anteriorally.

When lying on my stomach there is pain when pressing against the spine on the right side at around the height of my belly button or slightly higher.

And finally, all seems ok now when twisting while sitting, although I was frightened to twist for many weeks.
Thank you so much for your help.

Hello again Tracey,
From a distance, which is the best I can do and it's sometimes misleading, it seems to me that you have in addition to any actual bone injury of the rib, also strained the joints that join the ribs to the sternum and the vertebrae.

The pain in the midback is bread and butter for a chiropractor, but when there is also costosternal pain, a forceful posterior to anterior manipulation can worsen things.

If you decide to consult a chiropractor, print this out and take it with you. An anterior thoracic technique is better.

The danger of doing nothing is that tenderness at the costosternal junction can turn into a nasty chronic Tietze's syndrome; it's often associated with heartburn as the diaphragm attaches inside to the ribcage.

I get the feeling that you are getting better; if pain and limiting dysfunction remain for more than another few weeks then I certainly would see a local chiropractor.

Dr B

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