Discussions By Condition: Muscle conditions

Chronic rib pain under both breasts

Posted In: Muscle conditions 11 Replies
  • Posted By: dharmabummer
  • January 4, 2007
  • 10:21 PM

I'm posting to see if anybody has had a similar problem and find out how to treat it. For the past 8 years, I've been suffering from chronic pain in both sides of my chest, directly under my breasts, on the sides of my trunk (as far down as my waist) and armpits. The pain is greater on my left side. The muscles (serratus lats) are inflammed, hot to the touch, and react with intense fire-pain with moderate pressure. I also occasionally get pain in my back in the pocket of both shoulder blades. I've been in so much pain lately that I can't sleep on my sides because this puts too much pressure on my chest wall. :mad:

I have been through years of physical therapy, massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture and been given many diagnoses. Most recently I was told that I have hyperflexion in my ribs which keeps my chest wall muscles inflammed because they are under constant pressure to keep my ribs in their proper place. I also have hyperflexion in my knees. It's very easy to crack my upper back by just bending forward and pushing my back out or twisting my shoulders forward.

The pain started 8 years ago (I'm 33 now) right after I began my first desk job. I can't pinpoint a specific injury that started it. Doctors originally thought I had put too much stress on my chest & back muscles as I had been backpacking in India for 9 months prior to onset of the pain. But, another doctor told me that injury should have resolved itself within 8 years. Over the past 8 years, I have had periods of inactivity and periods of physical training and it doesn't seem to make a difference pain-wise whether or not I'm working out unless I pursue an activity that directly stresses those muscles, such as swimming or certain weight-lifting moves. The pain is always there. At its worst, it hurts to breathe deeply and hold my arms over my head (making blow-drying my hair impossible).

I've been receiving deep tissue massage lately, ice packs and taking OTC anti-inflammatories (Aleve). I'm not really sure if this is a long-term solution because the pain lessens about 3 days following the massage/ice treatment but returns after 2 more days. I'm currently training to lose weight and do a triathlon. Swimming definitely aggravates the situation, and I've been advised to avoid any physical activity that involves the upper trunk. How can I resolve this problem so I can continue work on my training goals?


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