Costochondritis…a mysterious inflammation of the rib joints in your chest…or is it?

Costochondritis…a mysterious inflammation of the rib joints in your chest…or is it?

From personal experience this condition is extremely painful, comes out of no where and stops you doing A LOT of things!! The month before the GP told me I had Costochondritis I was merrily running the Cardiff half marathon with not so much as a sniff of pain in my chest.

THEN all of a sudden, I had severe chest pain, breathlessness, fatigue and even chopping vegetables was an impossible task. Following an ambulance trip into A&E, full medical assessment and X-ray it was concluded I had Costochondritis. The advice ….. rest, take anti inflammatory medication, breath quietly and it will settle itself. Or will it?!

AFTER a month of this I began to get impatient, I spent hours on the internet researching what it actually is – in the hope for some sort of medical / logical explanation for the inflammation.

THEN I found Steve August, a physio based in New Zealand. For the first time an explanation as to the cause of this that made total sense. As a Soft Tissue therapist, we always look for the cause of pain and not just focus on treating the pain site itself. To have this explanation made all the difference.

FINALLY, A SIMPLE ANSWER! All hail Steve! The answer – the joints at the back of the rib cage (attached to the spine) are stiff and immobile and therefore the costochondral joints (the bits at the front) become overworked and more mobile to allow your body to breath ultimately causing them to strain. This inflammation creates pain and sensitivity and will continue until the immobile joints at the back are fixed!

FIXED! REALLY? YES!! Phew, I can hear your sigh of relief…this condition can be fixed.

Effective treatment includes the mobilisation of the stiff joints in your ribs that attach to your spine, deep tissue massage of your shoulders, neck and upper back combined with strengthening exercises and a focus on posture. I began my treatment journey with an Osteopath to free up my stiff rib joints and then maintained the release using the Backpod daily combined with a monthly deep tissue massage by a Soft Tissue therapist who knows how to treat costochondritis – it is very important they know what to do as some methods of treatment can make the inflammation worse. In between treatments I used various exercises to strengthen my shoulders and very quietly stretch my pectoral muscles. For more information on this please visit Costochondritis Explained

IMPORTANT If you have any chest pain, you MUST visit your GP for X-rays and tests to diagnose costochondritis and rule out any cardiac problems. Please ensure you do this before taking any of the above advice.