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.



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.



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


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.