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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