Body Stress in the Upper Torso

The upper torso also referred to as the ribcage area, with a complex set of muscles for the shoulder blades which assist with the movement of the arms and neck. On the front, there is the collarbone with the chest muscles supporting arm movement, but also assists in breathing. Within the upper torso resides important organs such as the lungs, the heart and the diaphragm. The tightening of muscles in the upper spine and rib cage can cause pain and discomfort in the upper torso and possible referred pain to other muscles and organs inside the body. As body stress in tightened muscles interrupts nerve communication, the effect may result in organ disfunction.

Tension in the upper torso can build up over time due to poor posture, like slouching before the computer or not having your car seat set correctly and driving for hours a day. Even bending to pick up your child incorrectly, or carrying heavy bags over one shoulder, can cause strain in the upper torso. Often, we have clients complaining of a tight chest or chest pain after having the flu or COVID due to the constant coughing and straining the chest and upper back muscles as well as the diaphragm.

Common complaints of body stress (locked in muscle tension) or muscle overload in the upper torso region could be expressed as chest pain, rib pain, diaphragm pain commonly combined with indigestion, heartburn and sometimes IBS while the mention of a tight chest is also quite common.

Diaphragm pain or diaphragm sensations

The diaphragm muscle is not only important for breathing but also plays a key role in keeping the body upright and in balance. In Body Stress Release we also consider it a muscle strongly influenced by emotional stress. Clients working in high stress environments often complain about diaphragm pain and even heartburn or indigestion. A tight diaphragm can also manifest as stomach ache which are often the way children express their discomfort. In babies, mothers often describe the baby struggling with bloating, colic, and flatulence if there is a tight diaphragm.

Heartburn and indigestion

With a tight diaphragm there may be pressure on the oesophagus stimulating stomach acid being produced which might contribute to heartburn. In babies the tightness of the diaphragm might create acid reflux or may present as symptoms of colic. Indigestion is often expressed as a diaphragm sensation in children. BSR Practitioners are trained to release diaphragm tension in adults and can also work on very young babies from about two weeks old, if they experience these symptoms. Childbirth, naturally or by C-Section may result in body stress in babies.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a medically diagnosed condition we see in many clients often referred to us by doctors. Due to muscle tightness in the upper torso the function of some organs can be affected, be it due to pressure in the nerves supporting the organs or due to poor body posture. With pressure on the nerves the functioning of an organ can be overactive or underactive, thus with the colon clients may suffer from diarrhoea (overactive organ) or constipation or IBS (underactive organ). Sitting in a slouched posture or hunched posture due to muscle tension in the upper torso, you minimise the torso cavity by squeezing the organs into each other and limiting the natural movement of the organs, possibly contributing to IBS.

Chest pain

Due to the continuous use of the arms, the chest muscles can be overloaded causing chest pain due to the pressure on the brachial plexus nerve. Doing heavy garden work or overdoing it in the gym can cause a sport’s injury in the chest muscles causing possible chest pain. Chest pain is mentioned often in the flu season or post-COVID with all the coughing and unusual sleeping postures. Chest pains may also be the result of intense or prolonged emotional stress and your practitioner can test for and release stress locked into the chest area.

Rib pain

The ribcage is continually active due to breathing and can be overloaded by something as small as a sneeze or doing that warm up exercise too vigorously. The intercostal muscle area is a complex array of multi-directional muscles supporting and allowing the ribs to flex while breathing. At times of overstress, they may tighten to protect the area of overload causing rib discomfort or rib pain. The nerves supporting the lungs and organs run along the ribcage and referred pain or discomfort might be experienced – further causing heartburn, indigestion and bloating among other things.

**Information presented here is not qualified medical advice, as BSR is a non-medical and non-therapeutic technique. Nothing expressed herein creates a BSR Practitioner-Client relationship.

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