I end up being my own best lab as to what is hurting lately, giving me lots of topics to talk about here on the blog. Today I started having some serious pain along my left ribcage, mostly under my arm all the way down to the bottom of my ribs and a bit toward the front.
Since I’ve been stuck sitting for so long I was a little concerned about pneumonia or plurisy. Since I can’t get to a doctor right now anyway I decided to start to work on the muscles that can be causing my ribs to not move freely and see what happens.
Between your ribs are small muscles called intercostals which are a part of your breathing mechanism . When you breath in your intercostals need to fully stretch to allow your ribs to open so your lungs can fill with air. Then in order to exhale your intercostals contract, bringing your ribs together and forcing the air out of your lungs. However, if there are spasms in your intercostals each time you try to breath in they hold your ribs together and you get sharp pain and you can’t take a deep breath.
While exploring my breathing pain problem I found a muscle I didn’t know about, called Serratus Posterior Inferior. It’s a lumbar muscle that originates in the same area as your quadratus lumborum, which is one of the muscles that will cause low back pain. It’s interesting to see that when you inhale your serratus posterior inferior needs to stretch. As I poked around to feel it, my low back area really hurt, but as I held it the pain in my breathing seemed to get better. I finally took a Perfect Ball and leaned against a wall so I could apply enough pressure and it really helped a lot.
If you have my book, Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living, you already know how to treat your intercostals and you know that your quadratus lumborum pulls down on your 12th rib, which would then cause all of your ribs to move down and not open when you tried to breath in.
Between working on the intercostals, pressing my fingers between my ribs and holding the pressure for 30 seconds, and working the serratus posterior inferior, which will simultaneously also treat the quadratus lumborum, I feel a LOT better.
Hope this will help you one day.
Wishing you well,