A pulling feeling in your chest or pain in your ribcage (thorax) can be down to various causes. Here, you’ll learn what the causes could be and when you can help yourself.
Remember: pain in your chest area shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s crucial that you get this checked by a doctor to rule out any organ problems, such as with your heart, lungs, or with organs further from your ribcage. If you feel strong pressure in your ribcage with radiating pain in your shoulder and arm area that lasts several minutes, this could mean it’s an emergency like a heart attack. It’s important to take this seriously. Usually, the medical team will check your blood for signs of heart muscle damage, blood clots and inflammation. Luckily, over 90% of this kind of discomfort isn’t to do with organs, but is only “functional”. This means that your chest pain probably comes from excessive tension in your muscles and fascia, or restrictions to the spine and ribs.
Has your doctor ruled out an organ problem? Then you may find the following information and exercises helpful. They focus mainly on discomfort in the chest area caused by tension, which you often feel as thorax pain or a pulling feeling in your chest.
Pain in your chest varies according to its cause. For example, it could be more superficial, structural pain in the chest wall, or pain caused by internal organs. You should always take chest pain seriously, because the ribcage (thorax) holds vital organs such as the heart. If emergencies have been ruled out and your pain is coming from your muscles and/or bones (musculoskeletal system), you can work to counteract the chest pain – using the targeted exercises and products from BLACKROLL®.
Myofascial tension could be responsible for your chest pain. Fascia become “stuck” and muscles harden (muscle rigidity). The result: your tissues and nerves lack the nourishment they need. Metabolic waste products build up because they don’t get conveyed away as they should. In muscles and fascia, this means you get painful pressure points forming (tender points). When it comes to chest pain, these tender points are mainly in the chest muscles around the breastbone, between the ribs, and in the back muscles around the thoracic spine.
Other connected areas of myofascial tissue can also be involved, such as in the diaphragm. Sometimes, this can also be triggered by antagonistic muscles along the spine. Tension imbalance in your muscles and fascia can, over time, lead to misalignment of the skeletal system. Early preventive measures can avoid most of these issues.
Over time, the tightening and shortening of muscles around the thoracic spine block your vertebrae, as well as the joints connecting the vertebrae to the ribs, and the breastbone to the ribs. As well as causing chest pain, this can also restrict movement. The crucial factor here is to keep the area as mobile as possible. Otherwise, the network of fascia will wrap around the chest and vital organs like a corset. Prolonged sitting with your body leaning forward restricts the thoracic spine and ribs in terms of their capacity to remain upright and rotate. The mobility of the thoracic spine and especially of the ribs are essential for breathing and keeping your shoulders healthy. With every breath, your ribs should move freely and enable your ribcage to expand. If you sit a lot, your ribs will get fixed in a forward rotation and narrow your ribcage. That’s how, little by little, the fasciae in the muscles between the ribs and along the spine become “caught”, acting like a rigid suit of armor.
Other causes of chest pain and thorax pain: