How do I manage breastbone pain

by Rebecca
( Northern Michigan)

How do I manage breastbone pain

I've had this bump on my chest for over a year. My rheumatologist was concerned so I had a breast exam. This is when I was told it was Tietze's Syndrome.

In the last few months, I've had some back pain. It feels like the lump straight thru to the spot between my should

er blade and spine, directly behind the lump. History: Spina Biffida Occulta, child of a Vietnam Vet exposed to Agent Orange, SLE, Sjogrens, Raynauds, food and environmental allergies, RA, moderate OCD, Vitamin D deficiency, GAD, pyloric stenosis (as an adult diagnosed, I understand it doesn't really happen to adults, lucky me), ischemic colitis and I'm hypersensitive to sounds, touch, sight, smell and stress.

I currently take Tylenol arthritis, tramadol, protonix, chlorpheneramine, zofran or phenergan, dicyclomine, xanax, plaquenil, zinc, magnesium, cinnamon bark, b12 sublingually. I should mention that I am unable to take narcotic pain relief because it won't stay down.

My doctor told me to ice it and heat it and do some stretches and in a few weeks it would go away. I did what she said and it got worse so I went back. This time she said that with my rheumatic history, it probably won't ever go away. She tried pushing it back in. All that did was make it worse!

Is very painful now and I don't know what to do to get some relief!

PLEASE HELP! (I can feel the lump better than I can see it in the pic. I hope you can see it! )

Hello Rebecca,
Yes, I can see it, though it's never clear on a photo unless you get the light exactly right.

Wow, you take a lot of medication. But I doubt that is causing your Tietze's syndrome.

It took me 25 years to realise that my chiropractic treatment, like your doctor's, actually aggravated this condition, and even caused it a few times.

It's a chicken and egg situation. It's no coincidence you feel it right though to the midback - it's a condition that affects the rib at both ends.

Important: a heavy PA (posterior to anterior) manipulation will aggravate the condition. The key is an "anterior thoracic" adjustment, and that you'll have to see a local chiro. Please stress to him/her that heavy PA adjustments will increase your pain.

What you can do:
1. Get an ice block, take it to the shower, and do alternating ice and heat right over the joint.

2. Get a little cream and, after your shower, rub your fingers, straddling the rib, away from the breastbone, and under your breast.

3. Lie on your side, and ask someone to massage along the offending rib all the way from under the armpit, in both directions, towards the spine and towards the breast and breastbone.

4. Find a good chiropractor may be your next step.

I have worked out a particular technique to fix this problem, Rebecca. It won't cure it, but it will get 80-90% better. Your chiro might want to Skype me and discuss it, no problem.

Good luck, Rebecca. This is a painful condition, but really, it's very treatable. Oddly, I had a case this morning in the clinic. It's not uncommon.

Often there is a associated gastric troubles because the diaghragm attaches to the underside of the ribcage. So, what you're experiencing is fairly typical.

Go from How do I manage breastbone pain to Chiropractic Tips …

Comments for How do I manage breastbone pain

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 24, 2013
Update on Tietzes syndrome
by: Rebecca

After being seen by an Orthopaedic Surgeon, he had a bone scan, SPECT scan and aCT scan done as I was very worried it was a bone tumor. He agreed it is Tietze's Disease. I was given Voltaren cream and lidocaine patches and follow up in 6 weeks. Because of my autoimmune disease, he thinks I'm healing slower than normal. I think I'll check into a chiropractor here in town, are you able to recommend anyone?

Thank you for posting my issue!
[Hello Rebecca,
Cold comfort, but rather Tietzes than cancer, Rebecca.

Goes to show, most of our anxieties are much ado about nothing, but very real nevertheless.

Frankly, this ALWAYS heals slowly. It's a difficult condition and took me 25 years to figure out how to treat it.

Remember: a heavy PA thoracic adjustment will aggravate it. Tell your chiro, maybe print and take these reports with you.

Did the bone scan show anything? Often will.

Ice massage in a hot shower, alternating hot and cold, will help.

Dr B]

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Tietzes syndrome.

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

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.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.