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Posts to Ask Dr Stoll BB regarding Costochondritis

There have been a number of posts to the Ask Dr Stoll
Bulletin Board (BB) regarding costochondritis. Many of
them have been archived here. The archive is roughly
chronological. I hope you find it useful.

Summary explanation for costochondritis:

Costochondritis is simply inflammation of the rib joints,
and attachments of intercostal muscles to the ribs, due to
persistant "bracing" of the intercostal muscles. So far,
the only known cause of this persistant tension of the
intercostal muscles is chronic stress-effect storage in
the hypothalamus.

The well known fight or flight mechanism is the only
known way the hypothalamus has to respond to ANY form
of stressor. See the glossary and search engine for
stress. The stressors, for which physically running or
fighting are NOT appropriate, result in that readiness
being stored in the hypothalamus. Nearly all stressors
in our present day culture cannot be resolved by running
or fighting.

This makes breathing like trying to run with a muscle
cramp in your leg. You can stop running but you cannot
stop breathing. SO, when this tension is always there
of course, eventually, the muscles get painful and their
attachments become inflamed.

Rolfing gives almost instant relief from this condition but
is not a permanent cure since the cause must be eliminated
for any permanent cure of anything chronic to be effective.
The only permanent cure for this, yet known, is Skilled
Relaxation (See this information in the glossary and search
engine.) It takes 6-12 months to discharge all the tension
stored in the muscles via turning down the fight or flight
signals from the hypothalamus. SO, if one wants quicker
results, although temporary; Chiropractic, Rolfing or a
series of deep, total-body, therapeutic massages will be

Feldenkrais or Alexander Technique will help the SR
(Skilled Relaxation) work faster and the passive techniques
listed above work better.

If you have more questions after looking at the information
suggested above, put them on the BB. For testimonials,
from those who have eliminated this problem, read on or use
the search engine.

Walt Stoll, MD

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