CostochondritisHealth and Disease information

Costochondritis Treatment – Ask Doctor Jo

hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo and handsome Bear, and today we’re gonna show you stretches and exercises for costochondritis, which is the inflammation of the cartilage between your ribs. so let’s get started. so the first thing that you want to do is some deep breathing exercises. so with the deep breathing, this is not that diaphragmatic breathing that sometimes we do in the videos.

This is really to open up your chest, so you’re breathing up in your chest area, not down in your stomach. so you really want to kind of open up that chest area to kind of stretch out those spots in between the ribs that cartilage. this is causing that costochondritis. so what you want to do is just take a deep breath and really try and open up your chest while you do it. so so if you can see, you can kind of see that my chest opens up and comes back down out. depending on how much pain you have, this might be pretty uncomfortable, so you might not want to go as much breathing in as you possibly can, but just go to that you feel just a little bit of that you know a little bit of pain a little bit of tension in there.

Hold it if you can for maybe two to three seconds and then and then release it. so you’re just going to come in and then let it out. so again that’s just kind of opening up and closing that chest just to stretch out that cartilage in between a little bit to help get that irritation that inflammation out of there. so I would just start off with maybe three to five of these. you don’t want to go overboard because it’s already inflamed, so you don’t want to irritate it. so the more you breathe in doesn’t make it better, you want this to be comfortable. so then the next one you can add on to the deep breathing by kind of bringing your hands up behind your head.

And as you can see what this kind of does is this opens up my chest and then itself so you it kind of expands it as I bring up my hands this way. so once I do that, then I’m going to do that deep breathing again. so just kind of holding it this way. some people kind of like to pull their elbows back to open up the chest even more. I would say the first couple times you do it, don’t do that because you want to see how much if you’re gonna have any pain. how much pain you have while you’re doing it. so just kind of hands behind head. nice deep breath and then let it out. so you can see as I breathe that in, my elbows did go back a little bit and so you can enhance that a little bit if the first couple feel okay.

Then you can bring those elbows back more while you breathe in. so you’re gonna go in and then come back out, so just that nice breathing in and breathing out. and that just again kind of helps open up that chest a little bit. so the next thing we’re gonna do is just kind of lie down and do a trunk rotation motion, and then use our arms a little bit to help open up that chest. so with the trunk rotation, if you’ve seen some of my videos you can see is it’s a pretty easy thing. you’re gonna prop up your knees and you’re gonna keep them together. so while you keep them together, you’re just gonna rotate.

It’s just like it sounds you’re rotating that trunk side to side, but with this one you want to kind of add in your arms to help open up the chest while you do it. so you can do it two different ways. the first one you can just kind of have your arms out to the side and that kind of helps open up that chest. and then just drop your legs so I’m feeling it a lot on the top here on the on the side of my rib. so it’s opening up that rib cage stretching out that cartilage in between just to get that inflammation out of there. now with this one you again you probably want to start off with not a full thirty second stretch maybe ten to fifteen seconds and then come back up. and then stretch the other side. so then now I’m stretching the top on this side and this is actually a really nice stretch even though I don’t have costochondritis I feel a nice stretch in there especially my arms out to the side.

You can also kind of bring your arms up above your head this way and then go over and so it’s a slightly different stretch but it’s still the same concept where I’m feeling that nice stretch through here. so you can try either way or you can do both and just see which one gives you the best stretch. and one might be a better stretch than the other. so again maybe just start off with 10 to 15 seconds three times on each side.

Try and work your way up to 30 seconds doing three on each side. so then after that if you want to do some strengthening to kind of help get that area a little bit stronger, usually if the the ribs up front are inflamed here you want to kind of get that thoracic area in the back strengthened. because sometimes if it’s weak then you kind of come forward like this and that can cause that inflammation in the rib cage there. so doing something like you might have seen my Is Ts Ys and I just doing the t’s and the Y’s. really kind of help get that thoracic area some strengthening in there. so what you want to do is roll over onto your stomach. I like usually having a pillow just to place my forehead on. you don’t have to you can just have your head all the way down.

I just usually feel like I can breathe a little bit easier when I do this. so just kind of placing my forehead right here so my nose isn’t just getting forced into the floor, and then so for the t’s your arms are going to be completely out to the side and your thumbs are going to be up. so you can see my thumbs up and you’re just going to come up this way trying to squeeze those shoulder blades together and then coming back down. so just nice and slow and controlled. you don’t really have to hold it if you don’t want to, you can hold it for maybe like two to three seconds if you want to and then come back down. and you should also feel your chest opening up when you’re doing this because as I bring my arms back, I’m opening up that chest.

So maybe just start off with about ten. you can maybe try two sets of ten and then slowly work your way up from there, and then you can also go into the Ys. so the Y’s are the arms are out in front of you but slightly at an angle. so if somebody was looking up over you it would look like a Y.

So now you’re just going to come up this way with your thumbs up and then bring them, you can see they’re not going very high. it doesn’t have to go very high, but you really just want to get that nice kind of squeeze at the end. and then slowly coming back down. so again just start off with ten, two sets of ten a couple times a day. and then you can kind of slowly work your way up from there. that’s pretty easy. so then the next one is opening up the chest again so doing a PEC stretch or this pectoralis muscles because up in here again if though tight and that’s pulling everything together.

That inflammation is just going to hang out in that rib cage. so you can stretch out your pecs a bunch of different ways, I have a video for that if you want to check that out, but one of the ones I really like because you can just really completely relax is using a foam roller. if you happen to have one if you don’t have a foam roller maybe if you have a yoga mat you can roll up the yoga mat and use it like a foam roller. or you can even use a big beach towel to do it because a lot of times if you’ve got that costochondritis it’s a irritation in there.

You don’t really need a huge roll. so just a rolled-up beach towel might be enough for you. and then you’re just gonna have it vertically and you’re gonna lie down on it. so it’s going to just kind of be along your spine. now this was a shorter one. some people have longer ones so make sure and support your head. so if you if it’s not long enough to have your head placed on it, maybe bring your pillow in so you can just kind of support that head a little bit, and then you’re just going to come bring your arms up to start off with and then bend your elbows and come down. your elbows don’t have to touch the floor like mine are, but you just go until you feel a really good stretch. and you should feel that stretch right in that PEC area right there and so this one’s going to be a full 30 second stretch.

Again if you feel like you can’t hold it for 30 seconds is probably too much of a stretch and you might want to even try this without the foam roller. if that’s too much you can also change your arm position. so you can straighten out your elbows a little bit and come down and you’ll get just a slightly different stretch in those pecs. and so you can kind of move around a little bit and see which one’s the best stretch for you. but again holding that for 30 seconds and doing that 3 times. if you don’t have a foam roller you can also go into a doorway put your hands in the doorway lean forward go in a corner or you can use like a stick or something. this is just a PVC pipe. if you have maybe a cane or a broomstick you can just take your hand and then put it out and push back that way. so again I’m getting that PEC stretch just by pushing out this way and that’s that’s a pretty good stretch in there.

And then again you can kind of change the position. so if I want to go up just a little bit, I’m still stretching those PEC muscles I’m getting a really good stretch but just in a slightly different way. so again holding that stretch for 30 seconds, but then make sure you’re switching sides because usually with the costochondritis you’re gonna feel it on both sides. sometimes people just feel it on one side, but usually it’s both sides. so again 30 seconds three times on each side. getting that nice stretch. so then another one is just doing scapular squeezes. that I like this because you can do it anywhere, especially if you have a desk job. you don’t have to get down on the floor or you know you don’t have to have any equipment for it.

So scapular squeezes or shoulder squeezes is just like it sounds. you’re just kind of squeezing everything back. the key is that you want to use those muscles in your back, those rhomboid muscles, those little trap muscles, to squeeze the muscles back. so you’re not just bringing your elbows back even though that will help open up your chest, you’re squeezing those muscles. imagine that somebody’s hand is right on your spine and you’re trying to squish their hands with your shoulder blades. so I’m going to show you it. okay you want to also keep your shoulders down. so it’s not coming up like this and going back, it’s really keeping them down and squeezing back. I like to use my elbows to help kind of guide the shoulder blades back, but if you feel like you’re not really squeezing and you’re just taking the shoulder blades back with your elbow, you can squeeze back without using your elbows as well. but sometimes it’s just a little bit harder if you haven’t done these before. so little squeeze back maybe hold it three to five seconds and then do five to ten of those.

And you can do those several times throughout the day. so then the last one is after you’re kind of getting everything stretched out doing the scapular squeezes, then you can use a resistive band to do it kind of a row exercise. so with the rows if you use a resistive band, make sure you’re starting off with the lightest one. this is not the lightest one this is theraband. resistive bands different colors mean different things, so make sure you’re starting off with the lightest one because again without inflammation you don’t want to cause more inflammation. so start off with a little bit if it feels good the next day, you can add a little bit more. so just take the band, you can do this sitting in a chair you don’t have to be on the floor or you can even do it in your bed, but you’re just going to wrap the band around your feet.

You can also wrap it in a door as well if you want to do it standing. I just like it because you have your feet wherever you go. so you can wrap it around your feet and it’s the same thing as that scapular squeeze, but now you’re using the band. you want your thumbs to be in an upward position. you want your elbows to stay pretty close to your side. and again you want to keep those shoulders down. so it’s not coming up like this, but it’s really coming back and squeezing. I also have a lot of people sometimes the first time they do it they’re like you know almost like you’re really rowing a boat, but it’s not quite like that. it’s coming back squeezing where my back staying in one spot, but I’m getting that nice squeeze and then I’m coming back forward. but it’s also some people will do this, but that’s not what it is.

it’s not moving at your elbows bringing your hands up, it’s pulling them back, squeezing those shoulder blades and then coming back in. so again start off with the lightest resistive band, ten reps to says a couple times a day. again if that feels pretty good, you can increase the reps. if you get to twenty to twenty-five and it’s easy then you can increase your resisted band. so those were your stretches and exercises for costochondritis. if you’d like to help support my channel, make sure and click on the link up there, and don’t forget to subscribe by clicking down there. and remember, be safe right Bear? have fun, and I hope you feel better soon..

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