Last week we talked rib strain, so this week we’re discussing another painful rib-related condition which generally affects those over the age of 50: costochondritis.
This is an inflammatory condition in which the cartilage and area around the rib cage and sternum is swollen and sore. It can be a frightening pain – especially when it's on the heart side of the breast bone and you feel the accompanying palpitations.
Of course, heart problems are always best ruled out by tests performed by the GP or hospital, and we implore everyone to treat any unusual chest pain as urgent!
That said, when it comes to costochondritis, very little research has been done to examine it and rib cage pain. Doctors don't understand the causes, which means they can't treat the underlying reason behind the condition. The only thing they can treat are the symptoms, which is where we come in.
Osteopathy can help this problem because we understand the mechanics of the ribs. Most of the time the rib joints that attach to the spine are too tight and restricted which means the rib that attaches to the sternum has more forced shearing through it.
So we look to get these joints working by assessing the breathing mechanics and the diaphragm in order to get the thoracic mechanics working together. We also prescribe exercises to improve the range of movement at the rib heads to continue the healing process in between treatments.
That’s because when movement causes pain spikes, you stiffen your posture, lock muscles, and round shoulders to protect the painful area – your chest. But this rigid posture can make a pain flare last longer, and prevent healing.
This pain takes several months to correct, but it is possible! Look after yourself, avoid painful triggers and follow the advice of your osteopath.
If you are suffering from costochondritis, then please get in touch with us on 01722 512 043, or book an appointment online by clicking here.