Rib and breastbone pain

by Barbara
(Delaware, USA)

Rib and breastbone pain

I have experienced rib pain for over two years now. I've been to musculoskeletal doctor who was highly recommended. After a treatment with him, I was worse. I've been to many physical therapists, chiropractors and an acupuncturist. I have had some relief but it never goes completely away. Breathing is difficult at times as is sitting, especially if I place my back against the back of a chair. I have had heartburn which I did not experience before. This all happened after I did some extremely strenuous yard work. The pain actually feels like a stitch in my side as well as in my back ribs. Sometimes I have pain in my breastbone area. Specialists who have examined me say my left rib cage protrudes and is higher than the right. My hip also tends to stay hiked up and the pta has tried to correct that by having me cough while she pulls on my foot. Will you please offer a diagnosis? Is it possible to dislocate a ribcage? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Hello Barbara,
There is a high suspicion of a condition known as Tietzes syndrome. Heavy manipulation in the middle of the back will increase the breastbone pain.

It probably all starts from a subluxated rib in your midback, though there are different opinions.

If you run your fingers down the breastbone is one side more tender? Is there a palpable lump?

The diaphragm attaches to the underside of these ribs which is why there is often indigestion or heartburn.

The breathing pain is a very strong sign of a rib condition.

A breast exam and chest xray would be a good idea.

Let me know.

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Apr 11, 2016
Tietze's syndrome help
by: Anonymous

I have the same exact trouble with my ribs and hip on the same side. Have been to 5 chiropractors and all made it worse. If you know the name of the doc that fixes this in Jersey... Let me know.

Hello, as stated below a hard posterior manipulation of the rib will often worsen breastbone pain; the "anterior thoracic" is the treatment of choice.

Having been to five different chiropractors though, unless you were expecting a one treatment miracle from each, means it's time for an x-ray. If you also have a cough, and especially if a smoker, then see your medical doctor.

Dr B

Jul 30, 2015
Possible Tietzes?
by: Barbara, Delaware, USA

Dr. B.

I have had both a breast exam and a chest xray. Neither one shows any type of abnormality. Someone mentioned on a previous post, they knew of a chiropractor in New Jersey who could possibly help, someone who is familiar with Tietzes syndrome. Could you pass along this person's name and contact info? Also, if anyone knows of a medical professional in Maryland that would be appreciated as well and would help me in regards to health insurance. Thank you so much. This website has given me hope I haven't had in quite a while.

Best regards,


I'm afraid I'm far distant in South Africa and have no clue of chiropractors familiar with Tietzes.

Start with list of chiropractors and phone each one, ask if they've heard of Tietzes syndrome, if yes, go for an examination without treatment. Then weigh up whether this person seems to know what they are about.

Just remember, a forceful posterior to anterior manipulation will worsen your condition.

I can give you a reasonable assurance that you get at least fifty percent relief of pain, and probably eighty.

I've worked out how to treat Tietzes syndrome, and you can be sure there are plenty of others. They can always skype me.

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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