2 Years of Pain in the left side.

by Daniel
(New York)


I am a 36 year old male.

It all started two years ago with a very slight sharp pain in the left center of the chest. Right in between the ribs.

This lasted for about two weeks and then the tightness in the chest got stronger and
I thought I was having a heart attack. So of course by pulse rate and BP were up as I thought I was having a heart attack.

I went to my Primary Physician, and we did lots of Blood test;
Lyme Disease, Thyroid Disease, etc. and it all came back negative. At the same time I went to see the Cardiologist and began that path. Ultrasounds of kidneys, caridad artery, Chest X-rays, MRA of the Heart, Stress Test and All negative.

As the weeks/months went on my pain was getting worse, Pain on the left side of the base of the neck, tingling sensation down my arm, severe arm pain (felt like a the throbbing pain when you have a tooth ache but down the center of my left arm.), felt like my under armpit was swollen.

Headaches with strong pressure behind the right eye. The only thing my doctor would do is prescribe ibuprofen as we did not know what it was and I did not want to take anything like oxycodone.

So now that the Cardiac path was negative my Primary Physician sent me to a Neurologist. I went and explained the above to the Neurologist and he did the neuro exam and it was all-negative and he did not have any suggestions. He sent me for a brain MRI and that came back negative and sent me back to my Primary Physician.

She was out of ideas and recommended acupuncture. So I went as anything to stop the pain at that point was worth a try. I saw a specialist in muscle and neck pain. She thought it was related to an old car accident from about 7 years prior. She rolled me on my right side and put in the acupuncture needles. As she put the needle in the back of my left shoulder she saw a muscle tremor across my back but said it was normal and continued. At about 5 minutes into the session my left arm started to tremble, but as the acupuncturist left the room there was not a lot I could do. By the time she came into the room I was having tremors up and down my body like a wave. She removed the needles and it slowly stopped. She said she would call my Primary Physician and that I should go see her again.

Back to the Primary Physician. She set met up again with a Neurologist at a major university. I wont go into all the exact details but I have been to see 3 Neurologist, a rheumatologist, have had MRI's of the Neck, Shoulder, X-rays of the Neck, and extended neck, Chest, and more blood test than I care for, which all came back negative.

My last Neurologist sent me to a Physical Therapist for my neck pain about 7 months ago. Physical therapy has improved my pain. But only if I do it weekly. He is treating the thoracic area by releasing t4/5/6, stretching the ribcage, which helps and has made the neck pain go away. However I still get tightness in the chest, which feels like my Rib is being pulled towards by back, armpit pain, tingling down the arm and on the meaty part of the base of the thumb.

I do a lot of stretching with a foam roller and nerve stretches but cannot seem to get any more improvement. Sitting in a bad chair or poor posture seems to make it worse. Lying down seems to help and I have no issues sleeping.

Any help on the above would be greatly be appreciated as for me this has gone on along time.

Hello Daniel,
Tell me one thing and do a test, and then we'll take this further.

1. Where exactly is "sharp pain in the left center of the chest"?

2. Type Upper Limb tension test into the Search function at Chiropractic Help and do the test.

3. If you turn to the side and look up, do you get symptoms in your arm?

4. Press on the junction between the ribs and your sternum. Is it very tender on one side? Is there a palpable lump?

Let me know.

Dr B

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Oct 17, 2014
Tietze's syndrome
by: Dr B

Hello Daniel,
Obviously I'm sticking my neck out, not being able to examine you, but my thoughts are of Tietze's syndrome which affects the rib from the midback to the sternum.

Whether the neck and arm pain are part of it, or something separate is unclear. Certainly it's good that the ULTT is neg, and turning your head and looking up doesn't cause arm pain.

We have a saying: "If yours is not a chiropractic problem, a chiropractor probably can't help you; if it is, probably no one else can."

Time to start looking for a conscientious, thorough local chiro? Talk to friends and family, and your doctor.

One caution: a har posterior to anterior manipulation of the thoracic spine will aggravate this condition. Anterior thoracics are better. Technical jargon to discuss with your chiro.

Read up on Tietzes syndrome at chiropractic Help.

Let me know how you get on in a couple months.

Dr B.

Keep to the same thread.

Oct 15, 2014
Response to D B.
by: Daniel

Hi Dr B.

Thank you for taking the time to review.

Please see response in below to your questions.

1. Where exactly is "sharp pain in the left center of the chest"?
The Sharp pain is next to the Sternum, in the space in between the ribs.

2. Type Upper Limb tension test into the Search function at Chiropractic Help and do the test.
I did the test and I really can't make the pain start and stop,

3. If you turn to the side and look up, do you get symptoms in your arm?
No this does not make the symptoms start.

4. Press on the junction between the ribs and your sternum. Is it very tender on one side? Is there a palpable lump?
There is no lump, but it is tender.

As a side note the only thing that really stops the pain is lying flat on my back.

And about three weeks ago while stretching and arching my back, it felt like I had a pop in the center of my chest. Almost like when you crack you knuckles. I have note been able to replicate this popping sound. But I was pain free for almost a full 7 days. Its back now of course.

Again Thank You

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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