Have constant tightness around rib cage feels like bra is tight it started about 3 years ago and was occasional it's now every day have got slight angina but it doesn't seem to be that. Have been going to the doctor for some time he first thought it was a psychiatric problem and gave me antidepressants which made no difference whatsoever. I would just like some relief from it if you have any suggestions it would be much appreciated.

21 Replies

I was the same, I stopped wearing normal bras and started wearing comfort bras. Didn't stop the problem completely but with having no bones seams and fasteners it helps, I have got copd by the way. x

Welcome to the site, Bubster. I know quite a few of us with copd have that problem. I have found my posture seems to be doing it. I have been working on that, and don't have the problem as much. We have had posts on the subject. I'm sure you'll be getting lots of replies. 😊 Rubyxx

Ruby, how good to mention posture. This is a good idea.

Indeed, COPD might probably be a better diagnostic than a mental health problem!


Since I've been working on my posture, my lower ribs barely hurt. I was sitting slouchy and round shouldered. All that weight on my ribs! Also noticed my oxygen level went up. All that, by opening up my chest. Want to exercise with that one lady on utube. Cheers, Ruby


I cannot bring you my lady, but I can bring you someone who talks about what it means to "do" the Alexander Technique:

I found that I'm happier when standing. Just now, I have "bent" my monitor so I can look at it in a standing position. In that way, I can balance myself on my two feet.

Yet, bad habit takes over when I play the flute, and I bend my neck. I know it's bad because it hurts. What I did with my lady, I learned to say NO every time I'm bending my head forward. It's not easy. But I shall persevere.

You are right, bad posture gives you pain just on the side -where your boobs are. If you stand and balance yourself on your 2 feet, you automatically feel better. Alexander said not to force this movement, but to let the body do it. What you can do is to say no to the bad posture, and direct with your mind to balance the head, but NOT do it, just think it without engaging the muscles of the neck. That is a steep learning curve.

An alternative to standing is to lie down on the floor, with some books and a blanket on top, so you can lay your head comfortably. A few minutes of this each day will transform your posture. But it's a learning curve!

A reference book I bought to do it after my lady has come and gone is: The Posture Workout by Carolyn Nicholls who is a prof of A.T. in Bournemouth.

Hope this helps, Mic

Thanks Mic, I also find it uncomfortable sitting. It pulls on my chest muscles. Guessing my core muscles are weak. Will not slouch though!😊.xx

Well done! Ruby, What a tenacious person you are. Mic

I whip mine off whenever I think I don't have to go out, so I sympathise with you. I'm comfortable as long as I don't sit down too long. I am sure they can restrict your breathing. Brassieres are a flipping nuisance at times, but other times they prevent any embarrassing hiccups. Have you tried a sports bra?

Spot on Jen I was just going to recommend that I wear one wen I go out otherwise I go native lol xxxx

As for what's causing it in my case I assume it's air-trapping and lung hyperinflation. Those are symptoms of various lung diseases and show up on a full lung function test which looks at lung capacity and residual volume.

What tests have you had and what diagnosis have doctors made?

K x

I have had an angiogram an endoscopy several X-rays a heart scan it has revealed a very mild onset of angina but doesn't make any difference to the band tightening round ribs. The doctor gave me some lorizam which does help but it's addictive so he very reluctant to let me have them long term.

Bubster, I'm sorry, but I would feel better if you were seen by another doctor. I don't think he has much clue. Besides, as all women say on thsi forum, a woman doctor may be mores sensitive to your problem! Hope you do get help though. Mic

I have a very mild angina too, diagnosed in November 2014. One of the drugs that was prescribed was Diltiazem, a calcium channel blocker that helps relieve Angina pain also.

I can honestly say that it's been excellent. Since taking it, I've only had one instance of the pain. At the time, I didn't know what the pain was but I knew it was different from the pleuritic pain that I have. It was always bang in the middle of my chest and so uncomfortable. I noticed that climbing the stairs seemed to bring it on and also emotional stress. But almost always in the evening, so I think fatigue and reaction to activity during the day was the trigger.

I don't think I had the tightness you describe but that's a hard call for me to make because I regularly have chest tightening and pain when I have an exacerbation. And that's obviously due to the lungs.

I feel it must be in some way related to your lungs. If you had an endoscopy they've probably riled out GORD. It's a puzzle a d I hope you get an answer soon.

I think I have a problem with my back I keep telling the doctor but because it is unusual to be high up in ribs he keeps try other directions. I am seeing a physio and have had a DEXA test not got results yet so will see how we go the docs got the results but is on holiday so still waiting.

Bubster , Your doctor is way away in the fairies himself!

Ask him to be referred to a lung specialist. Perhaps you have some lung problems. tightness could mean, asthma, could mean some kind of lung disease. But before I go on scaring you, I think a referral to a lung specialist and a pulmonary nurse would be more appropriate!

You can also ask for a woman doctor who might be more upto date with the "woman system"!

I do hope you get help from someone else who will not send you to a psychiatrist!!! Mic

Hello Bubster and welcome!

I haven’t received my manssiere yet but I’m still waiting. All kidding aside, I can relate to your pain. Mine started out very random about six months ago and has grown to being constant in a few areas in recent weeks. My doctors have been a bit baffled being it is behind my left breast and mostly under the bottom front ribs (both sides) and there are a lot of organs in the area. So they have held a wait and see attitude and I agreed.

During my most recent visit I learned that there are nerves running from the spine along a groove under each rib bone. This can become pinched and/or inflamed and cause pain along any rib. Given some older back injuries, this may be where my problem comes from. So perhaps posture does play into it some.

But the pain seems to come out of times when I am breathing harder, cough a lot, or my lungs are working harder for any reason from my copd. It almost feels like pleuritic pain but not that awful yet. I will be asking for more than an x-ray next time I see my doc as the pain is growing. The past x-rays had nothing to show and my heart test was good.

I hope you can find out the reason for your pain and get treatment for it.


Thanks for the help hope you also find a solution.


sorry don't know anything about bra's but I go and have a really good chest and intercostal (between the ribs) massage every two/three months and it is great. You feel free and I think I can breath better

I have the same type of left-sided chest pain. It has been behaving for a few days, but it was so bad last week, I was clenching my chest all night. I wonder if it is gas trapping in one lung since I have an RV of like 255 percent of predicted. That is a lot of air in the lungs. I also had blood clots in my lungs 4 years ago, so I always panic when my lungs/chest hurt. I have recently been diagnosed with gallstones which can also cause angina and chest pain. Have you been checked for gallstones? There are just so many different issues that can cause chest pain and tightness. I hope you get some answers soon.


I have been to the ER two times in three years for this; and all blood tests, EKG's, and CT scans of lungs have been negative for Pulmonary Embolism and also negative for heart attack. I just ride out the pain now telling myself that they have checked me two times, don't go back to the ER and waste their time.


It's the air space between your stomach and lungs eat smaller meals. Cross arms around waist lean forward and breathe in longer breathes out

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