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popping in chest

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Old 09-25-2001, 04:50 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2001
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gromano HB User
Post popping in chest

Hi everyone, I have an unusual, very annoying problem. I've been dealing with this for about 6-8 months and I've seen my PCP who's advised me that it's a structural or skeletal problem, but I cant seem to get a definitive answer. I start by getting a pain in my chest, nothing real sharp, and no shortness of breath. When I notice this pain, it starts feeling tight, so I stretch by putting my arms over my head and bending back, then all of a sudden "pop". Its like a cracking your nuckles but popping your chest. Then the pain and tightness goes away. It's starting to get very annoying now and I think I have to seek more help. Has anyone ever had this problem, what is it? etc. I'm a pretty healthy 32 year old male, no history of heart disease, but it makes me very anxious. Thanks.

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Old 09-25-2001, 08:28 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2001
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siouxzee HB User

It sounds like its possibly a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia is a condition in which a portion of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm (the sheet of muscle used in breathing that separates the chest from the abdomen).

Some hernia's can be pushed back into place with your hand. This is much more common when the hernia is in your abdomen or groin. You may have found a position in which this stretching your doing is pushing your stomach back to where it's supposed to be with a distinctive "pop" feeling.

An untreated hernia will not get better on its own, although it may not get worse for months or even years.

The only cure is surgery. There are two reasons for hernia surgery: to correct or prevent a dangerous strangulated hernia, and to eliminate the pain that may be interfering with your normal activity.

I would definately seek the advise of a gastroenterologist. If it ever gets to a point where you can't get it to stop (go back into place), it will get worse and worse and become a serious medical condition as stangulation of the sqeezed portion results in gangarene. So don't mess around with this. Good luck

Old 09-26-2001, 01:54 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 2
femina HB User

Hi, 1st I'll state that only a doctor can give a diagnosis. As a certified radiologic technologist I can tell you of a study that is often effective in determining if you have a hietal hernia. Ask about an UGI (upper gastrointestinal) study. You only have to drink a liquid barium solution while the Radiologist watches your esophagus, stomach and duodenum (1st section of small bowel) funtion (fill and empty). They use fluoroscopy (x-ray equip. that enables "real-time" viewing by the doctor. They ususally take "still" (called overheads)images in addition. Takes about 20 min. usually, no scopes, probes or needles........Hernia, if present, still may not be detected as no study is 100%, but this is a good one to try. Hint: if you do have the study and have the sensation you described just before the test, don't "pop" it back till after the doctor sees it.

Old 09-27-2001, 09:00 AM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 520
Copper HB User

Hi gremano, while a hernia is certainly a POSSIBILITY, let's hope your scenario is not this serious!

I have a significant amount of musculo-skeletal issues, and quite frequently (daily) experience something that sounds very similar. I often get a tight, painful(dull) feeling in my chest, which is relieved by conciously 'popping' my chest by manipulating with my hands. The popping is generally along the sternum edges, but can also occur directly under the breast, and very rarely, to the ribs directly back from the armpit.

This DOESN'T occur for a few days after a spinal adjustment. I have also recently started using a "Total Gym" (the infomercial with Chuck Norris and/or Christie Brinkely). One particular exercise is a 'real spine stretcher!', and I don't usually have the problem any day I exercise.

I've had several dr's, both MD and chiro, tell me that this is cartilage making the pops. Just trying to offer up a less fearful-type possibility. This also aligns more with what your dr. has already mentioned.

Good luck and let us know what you discover!

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Old 09-27-2001, 10:45 AM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 4
j0hn HB User

I have the same thing, but its only when i stretch my arms behind my head, also it causes me no pain or tightening, just the "cracking" sound when i stretch behind my head

anyone know what it is if theres no pain or tightening?

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