Tietzes Syndrome ....help me please!

by Adrienne
(Peoria, Arizona)

For some reason I always seem to get some type of illness that is rare or unknown to the average person and doctor. My story starts with pain in my jaw bilaterally that resulted in rheumatoid arthritis of both jaw joints. It developed when I was in my late teens and now I am 67 years old. For years I did not know why my teeth were shifting and my face was hurting. I was never told that I had rheumatoid arthritis in my jaw, but had dental problems.

Later on in life in my late forties I started to have pain in both my wrists and again I was given the wrong diagnosis. I was told that I had carpal tunnel when it fact it was the beginning of RA in my wrists. Yes, I took blood work but I always came back negative for any autoimmune disease. In my early sixties my hands were looking like a muscle disease attacked them as well. I do not wish to take the medication to treat RA because of the side affects, so I look for alternative ways and take supplements.

Now for the past several months I have a mysterious swelling and pain on both sides of my sternum and a sternoclavicular joint that feels unstable but on x-rays and MRI does not show any significant damage. This is another uncommon condition that no doctor wants to treat.

The sternoclavicular joint closest to the breastbone is located in a very fragile region of the body where the blood vessels are surrounding the heart. It is my understanding too risky to fix.

I have been to several orthopedic doctors already who are closed mouth and will not give me any answers. I am almost certain that this might have been caused by an injury rather than aging. I am a small person and tried to lift up my toddler grandson who was falling off of a stool. I pulled him back with my deformed weak arthritic hands and strained my clavicle bone and muscles that attach to it.

I cannot take anymore anti-inflammatories because I irritated my stomach and ended up in the ER. I went for physical therapy for four months but it did not help me. I think it aggravated my condition. It feels much better when I rest it, and not use it. The first rib on my right side is swollen. I also tried Chiropractic adjustments since my husband is a Chiropractor. For now I do not exert myself and try to take the omega 3 fish oils to help fight the inflammation.

If anybody out there knows a better way I would love to hear from them. My whole life is limited because I cannot lift, bend or carry things without feeling pressure on the sternum. This is my story.

Hello Adrienne,
A heart rendering tale of woe, but I think I may have good news for you, especially as your husband is a chiropractor. I spent twenty five years trying to find a solution to Tietze's syndrome.

In your case it's not impossible that the swelling is caused by the RA. On that score my strong recommendation is that you become a health nut; it's the only known solution at this stage to autoimmune diseases. It may not help, but you will be a healthier person for it.

Look to include anti inflammatory foods daily in your diet, and stay rigidly away from those fats high in omega-6, particularly sunflower and corn oil. Read the labels, and make your own salad dressing using olive oil.

I treat Tiezes on a daily basis, but it's rare that it develops to the full blown stage 4 as you have. None are cured, but all are relieved, most considerably. Do you also have regurgitation and oesophageal pain? It may be difficult to distinguish from the ulcer you had. Yes, stay off NSAIDS. Something like 14,000 Americans die every year from a gastric bleed caused directly by anti inflammatory drugs.

I think it best your husband connect with me via Contact; perhaps we can even Skype but I don't want to put my address here. Then we can discuss the protocol that I follow. I can give you a fair assurance of somewhere between 20-70% improvement. That would make life livable.

Yours cordially,

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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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.

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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.

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