Slipping Rib Syndrome (SRS) arises due to multiple factors such as Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (Heds), chronic lung conditions that are associated with frequent intense bouts of coughing, bronchitis, and more.
Vicious coughing puts a lot of pressure on the ribcage and for those of us who have Slipping Rib Syndrome or EDS, ribs are easily dislodged or even cracked by force of the cough.
After the pneumonia I experienced last year, my ribs dislodged in different places. Since then it became a more painful and recurrent issue than ever before. For the past 6 months it’s been badly jammed out of place causing constant pain that are manageable on some days and disabling on others. Raising the arms in a writing position / washing hair / certain movements makes the pain explode like a fireball out of control 🙈
I’ve been using and doing different things to keep it on a manageable level whereby I am still able to move around easily. Tiger balm, muscular balms, heatpacks, and ribcage rolling exercises sent by a good old Dr during lockdown level 5 ❤️
Lockdown 5 was a nightmare because all sessions came to a standstill and the previous little progress reversed. Alhamdulillah since level four I was included among the essential patient list so my treatments resumed and Dr is working on getting the ribs more in place.
We’ve readjusted my sleeping posture again with more pillows added to support the arms and back at different areas. In this way it limits my body’s ability to dislodge or jam ribs while sleeping and keeps the chest expanded in the best way possible, otherwise it’s easy to curl inwards.
However Dr also explained; a certain fluctuating level of tightness / pain will always be present and expected because most people with chronic lung conditions are noted for having a tight ribcage due to the constriction of bronchial passages, restricted pulmonary arteries, (dyspnea) shortness of breath, etc.
Then of course the severity of each one differs according to their specific illness. With me it usually compounds because of poor blood distribution to the upper neck muscles (Coat Hanger pain I spoke about previously), cervical compression, and if left untreated – migraines.
While discussing breathing treatments, Dr mentioned an important note to remember:
Accumulation of warmth and moisture inside the lungs attracts bacteria and can be infectious.
So after steaming it’s good to inhale fresh air. For the same reason a humidifier shouldn’t be left on continously with no vent open in the room from time to time. Always maintain caution in this regard. For mucous releasing it’s best to steam if really bad. If not don’t do on a daily basis.
I can’t recall if I mentioned in one of the previous posts that we were on the lookout for a noninvasive airway clearance device / alternative therapy to chest percussions when I don’t have someone around to do percussions at an unprepared moment.
In other countries, particularly the US, Philips – Threshold PEP Positive expiratory pressure device – seemed to be the most common name 👇
Here in Gauteng not many people and professionals seemed to have an idea. Only myself and another patient on the ambassador group inquired about a similar type of device. So after few months of not giving up my search efforts, I finally found one on the SleepNet BreatheNet website – same place where I order APAP / CPAP supplies.
VibraPEP as seen above 👆is designed to induce coughing. Breathe in then you exhale through the mouthpiece normally – but pull as long as you can towards the end – according to the setting advised by a Dr. There’s a possibility of hyperventilating if used on a high frequency and it cannot be used in conjuction with conditions such as intracranial hypertension. So it’s imperative to consult someone with expertise in the field and use along with proper guidance.
The breath exhaled creates a vibrated pressure throughout the lungs, especially on the base where blood secretions tend to accumulate and stick. So the phlegm / mucous is loosened and then expelled by means of coughing – keeping your airways and alveolar in the cleanest state possible. Otherwise, long-term accumulation can also lead to infections and other problems.
I’ve gotten the hang of using it mainly for morning airway clearance before starting the day fully. Dr advised me to use it on the 2 lowest settings because a high frequency can cause the lung capillaries to burst and endanger the situation further. From here we can see the importance of a specialist understanding and always keeping the complete picture in mind. Not a scenario where you target one area and exclude others from where an adverse reaction can result.
Alhamdulillah her assistance is a huge blessing and she makes a note on checking up on progress or results which is so important, lest we end up causing further complications or damage to our bodies by needing to use a device in ways that aren’t correct.
Remember to always seek advice. If you’re unhappy with someone’s opinion continue searching until you’re satisfied. It took 3 years for someone to understand this part of my condition correctly then a couple of months to find a device and manoveur our way through making it work in my favor.
No situation remains the same too long. As time advances we find the battle being eased with miraculous assistance being sent from above in unexpected forms.