Pain-free Living Blog with Julie Donnelly

Breathing Pain from Muscle Spasms

This past Thursday I had an “interesting” experience happen to me.  I got a pain in my right side that felt like a knife had been shoved into my rib cage, and it then felt like the tips of my lower right ribs had been snapped off.  It was horrible!  And frightening!  And it kept getting worse.

It really didn’t feel like a muscle spasm, it felt like a broken rib, but I’m a muscle person so that’s the way I always look.  I couldn’t breathe properly, I couldn’t bend forward or get up off a chair without the stabbing feeling happening, and sleeping was not happening because any movement would cause the shooting pain to happen again.  I know that a broken rib isn’t set, so I didn’t head for the emergency room, but I sure was getting desperate!

I tried essential oils, various muscle creams, arnica, everything I normally tell people to use, but none of them helped much.  They did soothe it a little bit, but as soon as I’d move it would be right back again.  So, since I’m a muscular therapist, I REALLY took a look at the muscles that have any impact on the lower rib cage, and it is working!

If you already have my book, Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living, all but one of these treatments is in the book, and I’ll have to describe the final treatment because it isn’t one I’ll put into a book as I wouldn’t want someone doing it wrong.  I do teach it to massage therapists and physical therapists, and I’ll explain it to you. Please do it gently.

I started off on Friday afternoon by gently using my fingertip to feel the muscles that are between each rib. I found painful “bumps” (spasms) but the greatest pain was always when I was touching the rib, not the muscle.  As I said, I started to use essential oils, and lots of various muscle creams.  It did help a little, but not a lot so I figured it really was a cracked rib.  Then on Saturday afternoon I decided to work on my quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle.  The QL originates on the top of your pelvis and inserts into the 12th rib. When the muscle contracts it assists by picking up your pelvis as you move your leg, and it also assists in pulling down on your 12th rib when you are exhaling.  Sure enough, the muscle was tight.  The interesting thing is it wasn’t so tight that I thought “this is it!” so I continued searching.  It did help, but not completely.

Next I worked on every muscle that has any impact on the pelvis. There are so many that it would be easier if you read the thread in my forum that is called the Julstro Protocol.

Finally, the muscle I was mentioning at the beginning of this blog is your diaphragm.  This muscle is vital for breathing and it attaches to all of your ribs. When it contracts your lungs fill and it presses down on your organs making your belly expand, and your ribs move out. When it releases you breathe out.  To treat this muscle you curl your fingers underneath the edge of your rib cage.  If it’s tight you will not be able to get your fingers past the end of the bone.

I kept gently holding pressure on it, and today the pain is 95% gone.  I’m sure that as I keep working on the muscle the pain will disappear!  I haven’t worked on this muscle in a very long time, including when I’m working with my office clients. So, as happens so often to me, I have to experience something and then discover the answer for myself.  Then I can share it with others.

If you have any breathing difficulties, or pain in your lower rib cage, I suggest you give this a try!

Wishing you well,



Posted by Julie Donnelly in Pain Free News and tagged , , , , .


No Comments Yet

You can be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply