This pain in my chest is worsening…

Suffering from Chest Pain or Rib Pain?

If you have ever suffered from chest pain or rib pain, it can be very difficult to know what to do. First up, you want to make sure it isn’t a heart problem. If all clear, it’s time to think of the other options: have I had a fall lately, a chesty cough or worse, any vomiting bug? One thing you might not have thought of though is- is my back, neck or even hips feeling tight?

At Transitions Chiropractic Newcastle we often see some of Newcastle’s finest feeling that they are struggling with random aches and pains. Chest pain, rib pain and difficulty breathing can be quite common. If your back is particularly hunched thanks to too much time as a desk jockey, from time spent riding your bike or you have a sideways curve (scoliosis), this will twist and pull on your ribs while also shutting down your diaphragm. Your diaphragm and ribs both directly attach to your spine making your mid back the most well protected and stable part of your spine. The good thing here is it protects your organs; the nasty thing however, is it creates so much extra stress at the top and bottom of the rib cage as these areas of the spine are forced to curve through a different direction. This is part of the reason we see so many overuse syndromes like stress fractures at the base of the ribs and whiplash occurring where the neck meets the ribs. So, this very stable and supported mid part of your back is naturally stable for a very good reason, however, if it starts to stiffen and tighten even more it will anchor the diaphragm and ribs in place making it harder to expand. This can happen as a result of chronic wear and tear like in the case of the desk jockey above or even acutely like being dumped by a wave or smashed in a rugby tackle.

Does this sound like you?

If so, please consider making an appointment. Make sure your spine is moving right so you can breathe better. Other things you could do include:

  • Lie on your back with your arms overhead– this gentle stretch will maximise rib expansion if gentle muscle tightness is holding it down.
  • Lie on your back over a towel or exercise ball– this increased stretch will force more movement through your mid back and chest.
  • Hang with your hands– traction by definition will open your spine and ribs. If they are too tight you may struggle, but I’d suggest this will feel great.
  • Breathing therapy– Dean O’Rourke is Transitions Chiropractic’s very own Consultant Breathing Therapist and has had great results teaching people proper breathing habits to ensure maximum use of their diaphragm, ribs and lungs.

Hopefully this shed’s some light on chronic or acute chest tension to help you consider another option to helping yourself. Even if we don’t think it, it’s all connected…

As the great Yogi Ramacharaka said, “To breathe is to live, and without breath there is no life.”

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