Slipping Rib Syndrome

Commonly in medical practice one can find patients, mostly women, who are reporting in with pain felt in the chest cavity. In case this pain originates on the left side of the body, anxiety sets in since patients automatically think of a heart condition, which is more than enough of a reason for them to visit their doctor as soon as possible. However, in most such cases the diagnosis is significantly different than expected. Condition known as Tietze’s syndrome or slipping rib syndrome manifests as an inflammation of the rib bone marrow on the connecting part of the rib and sternum (center rib bone). Occasionally patients may experience painful swelling and in most cases the cause is unknown, with symptoms slowly fading away on their own.

Knowing the difference

Pain caused by this condition is often sharp, stabbing, but may also be dull in character. Commonly it’s diagnosed with women over 40 years of age. Some related symptoms may also appear as pain during heavy breathing as well as increased pain whilst coughing. Rarely will the cause of this condition be clear, as you would expect, especially since there are so many different conditions correlated to this body part such as fibromyalgia. There’s no question about whether or not you should check any type of chest pain with your doctor, particularly if you fall into the risk group – high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension and so forth. Symptoms of heart related conditions intensify during physical activity, while this is not the case with Tietze’s syndrome.


Despite this condition appears to be a serious one, it often goes under the radar. Tietze’s syndrome is mostly treated by itself. If you do get a secure diagnosis, anti-inflammatory medication are administered such as Ketonal, Voltaren or Brufen. During this therapy anti-depressants are also recommended in case the pain disturbs patient’s sleeping cycle. What’s more important is what you do to help yourself in case you’re suffering from this condition. It’s important to avoid any activity which causes direct pain to the area, focus on light stretching exercises and apply warm cloth on the painful area, which will reduce the effect of inflammation. As the symptoms slowly fade away you can gradually resume with your usual physical activities.

Long term consequences

If you’re careless about this condition, chances are you will deal with pain and irritation caused by it for a long time. Since your ribs are affected, tendons that tie everything together will also be strained, which can cause some long term damage. Taking drugs to reverse some of the symptoms is one thing, but treating yourself with care until everything heals up is a whole different ball game. Unfortunately, it’s also more significant and permanent, so make sure not to overdo any type of activities while you’re dealing with any kind of rib pain. it is definitely a problematic part of your body which needs to be dealt with by being slow and methodical in terms of treatment procedures.