by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

August 2019, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.


            Chest wall pain is a very common and totally benign type of pain.  This article discusses its causes and what to do about it.

            Common during a development program.  Chest wall pain arises fairly often early on during a development program.  It may have to do with rapid detoxification or other changes in the body.  


Definition of chest wall pain: It is excessive tension of the intercostal muscles.  These are small muscles that criss-cross between the ribs.

A technical name for this condition is costochondritis.  This means inflammation of the cartilages of the ribs.  However, it is usually inflammation or tightness of the muscles that run between the ribs.

Some medical websites have it wrong because they say that chest wall pain can be due to a heart attack.  This is not right.  Chest pain can be due to a heart attack, but chest wall pain or costochondritis is different and is due to muscle tension or muscle spasms in the muscles of the ribs.




            It is easy to tell if you have chest wall pain.  Take a few of your fingers and press them hard between your ribs in various locations on your chest or where you have pain.

If the area between the ribs hurts when you press hard on it, then it is chest wall pain.  If there is no tenderness or pain, then it is not chest wall pain.  Then the cause of your pain is something else such as pneumonia, bronchitis, gas pains, a chiropractic problem, pleurisy (infection of the lining of the lungs) or possibly a heart problem. 




The main symptoms are pain and/or tightness in various spots on the chest, and maybe in the abdomen, where there can also be muscle tension.

This is important because it can mimic a heart attack and it can cause severe anxiety.  It might even cause a person to go to the emergency room, spend thousands of dollars on tests, and perhaps receive medication or even an operation for heart problems.




1. Leave it alone and ignore it if it is mild.

It will slowly go away as you stay on your development program.


2. Breathe deeply into your chest or wherever it hurts.  This forcefully expands the muscles and helps them relax.


3. Correct your posture.  Chest wall pain is much worse if you hunch over.  Many people hunch and do not even realize it.  Stand up really straight and tall, and chest wall pain is usually much better.  This also stretches out the muscles between your ribs.


5. Foot reflexology can sometimes help, to a degree.  It opens energy channels all over the body.  Rub the chest reflex area of the foot, which is just behind the big toe and the second and third toes, as well.  Always do the whole foot, as well, to balance the body.


6. Use of the red heat lamp or red lamp sauna may help.  It brings more blood circulation to the chest area and this releases the tension.


7. If it is really bad, bodywork such as Rolfing, Structural Integration or Hellerwork may help.  This is deep body work, somewhat like a deep massage.  It can help break up muscle tension in the chest area

The only problem with it is you have to be wearing just your underwear.  For this reason, it is not safe for young women except if your practitioner is another woman, and even then, please be careful. 



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