Tietzes Syndrome

by Annie
(UK)

Tietzes Syndrome

I have a problem with my breastbone. I get a pain that radiates out short way from where the ribs join the breastbone on the right side but also sometimes goes through my body to the back. It is not severe but uncomfortable.

This usualy happens after I have been doing some exercise like digging the garden, it can also start from coughing and sneezing and I feel that a bone has gone out of place. With certain movements I can sometimes click the bone back.

Sometimes I get a secondary sensation usually only whilst walking. This feels like a tightening and pulsating in the same area. It doesn't last long if I slow down. I do not get breathless or feel light headed when it happens. I spend quite a bit of time at high altitude (above 3500 feet) and have experienced this sympton in more recent years, but I can also get it at low altitude too. It is much more likely to occur if I am stressed.

I have had an ecocardiogram done and the results were all OK. I am therefore assuming that this feeling a slight pressure around the same area is linked to the sternum problem ,and is part of Tietzes Syndrome, which I have only just learned about today.

The answer to do I suffer from indigestion and heart burn is 'Yes' - well used to, I am a daily user of Omeprazole - 10mg only. I don't like taking drugs but this has made a big difference to daily life.

Hello Annie,
You have the common, early sort of Tietze's syndrome. In the advanced kind the joint between the rib and the breastbone actually becomes swollen and very painful.

It's impossible to predict if your mild one will progress to the full blown Tietzes syndrome.

It's vital to get that rib adjusted, it's the cause of the pain, but do remember that a heavy manipulation in the middle of the back will aggravate the problem. Discuss it fully with your chiropractor. He /she has to coax the rib back into place, not use brute force and ignorance!

Alternating ice and heat (as in the shower or bath) on that joint will help.

I'm not familiar with Omeprazole. What often helps is not drinking any fluids with or after meals. Big cup of tea BEFORE breakfast, not after, nor for at least an hour.

Dr B

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