What is Tietze’s syndrome (Breastbone pain)?

2011-09-15 00:00

COMPLAINTS of pain around the breastbone are not uncommon at the chiropractic coalface. It usually involves one or more of the joints bet­ween either a rib or the collarbone and the breastbone. Obviously it’s important to rule out heart and lung conditions, as Tietze’s syndrome has a predilection for the left side, right over the heart.

 

Causes

The most usual cause is a dislocation of the rib where it attaches to the spine. The condition usually starts with an ache between the shoulder blades, possibly after a shower of sneezes or a chronic cough. Asthmatics are particularly prone, children too. Trauma to the ribcage is another cause.

Gradually, the pain spreads along the rib, under the armpit, and then in women around or under the breast eventually affecting the cartilage joining the ribs to the breastbone. In 20% of cases it occurs bilaterally.

It begins sometimes after breast surgery too, mysteriously typically about six months after a successful operation, but has nothing to do with the breast.

 

Duration

Mostly, it’s known as a “benign, self-limiting” condition — an irritation that will pass over after a few months. However, 50% of cases last more than a year, and sometimes it can be very severe. In its full-blown stage it causes a swelling of the joint.

 

Neck and arm pain

Because several important muscles attach to the clavicle and first rib, Tietze’s syndrome can affect the neck and the nerves and artery as they pass between the first rib and collarbone on their way to the arm. The result is pain in the neck and tingling and pain in the arm.

 

Chiropractic treatment

Management of Tietze’s syndrome involves gentle manipulation of the rib joints, mobilisation of the rib or collarbone, and soft-tissue treatment of the muscles involved.

For more information type “Tietze’s syndrome” into the search function in the navigator bar at www.Chiropractic-Help.com

 

• Dr Barrie Lewis, BSc, DC can be reached at contact@Chiro practic-Help.com

 

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