Chest Pain | Costochondritis or Tietze's Syndrome
First we will ask you to rule out angina or myocardial infarction (heart attack) with your GP. With the all-clear from your doctor, we treat chest pains with Remedial Treatment, using passive and active release techniques.
Chest Pain felt on the front may stem from a structure (bone including rib, muscle or nerve) on the back. It can also stem from the neck via a neural pathway. So depending on the location and type of pain that you feel, what aggravates it and what relieves it we will work front and back ribcage, the muscles between the ribs, the diaphragm, lower back, and the muscles of the neck and jaw.
Costochondritis can present similar symptoms as a heart attack with pain usually felt on the left side of the chest. Once the hospital's emergency department rules out a heart attack or angina, patients are sent home with little support to treat what can be a debilitating pain, which recurs without warning.
Costochondritis refers to the juncture or joint where the ribs (bones) connect into the breastbone. These joints are covered by cartilage which can become inflammed and cause pain.
The reason for the inflammation of the cartilage is unknown. Though a few common triggers are believed to contribute such as prior chest injury as in a car accident where the chest is jammed onto the steering wheel, repeated minor trauma to the chest wall, respiratory illness, other viral infection, previous cardiac surgery, excessive coughing, exercise or activity.
We believe that the above triggers aggravate the nerve endings in and around the ribs where they connect into the breastbone causing the pain. It is well known that certain viruses, traumatic injury, or bony misalignment can affect nervous system functioning.
When an attack starts, breathing can be painful (as the ribs and sharp pain are involved), pain starting along the edge of the breastbone in the upper chest and often more on the left side which may travel into the shoulder and down the arm (mimicking heart attack symptoms), the area is painful to touch.
When the painful area is also red and / or swollen the condition is known as Tietze's Syndrome.
Tietze's Syndrome usually involves the 2nd and 3rd ribs, whereas Costochodritisusually involves the 4th to 6th ribs.
Before treatment we will ask you to see your GP to rule out heart disease or other serious chest condition through ECG, chest xray, blood tests for cardiac enzymes or antibodies indicating a viral cause for the inflammation.
With the all-clear from your GP, we work to first calm the central nervous system using Craniosacral Therapy.
Then because our skulls mirror structures throughout the body, we assess the area of the skull pertaining to the ribcage and sternum to see whether there is misalignment or sutural adhesion / stiffness in the cranium. If there is we gently allow the bones to release and work free with less than 2 grams of pressure (no manipulation is involved).
Often we find adhesion in an area of pain of the body can be released by working with its paired structure without your therapist having to touch the painful area until a degree of healing and pain reduction has occurred.
After several treatments we will then depending on your body's responses, use gentle Myofascial Techniques to assess ribcage placement monitoring for a condition flare-up and adjusting treatment based on your body's response.
As most sufferers note a link between a flare-up and stress levels in their life, we also address this aspect as the overarching element to relieve the physical symptoms and reduce likelihood of recurrence over time by releasing long-held tensions in the cellular tissues.
We also recommend application of a heat pack (wrapped in a damp thin cloth) and natural anti-inflammatory tablets and creams made from Emu Oil to alleviate chest pain if it occurs as of the healing process.