Chiropractic student, increasing right rhomboid pain

by Elizabeth
(Dallas, TX)

Hi, I am a chiropractic student. I get adjusted often; my main issues are sacrum and forward head posture due to sitting in school my entire life.

My left pinky goes numb/tingly when texting.

About a year ago, I started having pain in my right rhomboid. I got my ribs adjusted a few times and the pain would go away. In the past few months however, the pain is not resolving and in fact getting worse. It hurts to take a deep breath and my thoracic spine clicks and pops when I breathe.

Cervical X-rays show a straight neck and C5 looks like it is starting to go very slightly posterior. I'm 24 and female, 125 lbs, healthy. I recently had blood work done and the only red flag was iron deficiency anemia. I have since been taking iron, and turmeric for inflammation.

I have tried ice, heat, massage, foam rolling, massage, biofreeze, just about everything to relieve the pain. I even stopped getting adjusted for a while. Most chiropractors I've talked to say it takes 2-3 years to feel normal again after chiro school. It's very discouraging to be a chiropractor with back pain that isn't resolving. I start clinic in 2 weeks and need relief asap.

Thoughts?

Hello Elizabeth,
Yes, I understand your discouragement; treat this as a learning experience. Doctors learn the fastest when they themselves get sick!

Firstly, shall we call this "rhomboid area" pain. Calling it rhomboid pain is making that the assumption that this is primarily muscular pain, and it's probably not.

Secondly, do you have any costosternal pain? If you run your fingers down the costosternal junctions is there a joint that's much more tender on the right?

Thirdly, is you gut feeling that the tingling in your left pinkie from texting is a local problem, or a radiation from your neck? Is Spurling's sign positive and is the upper limb tension test positive? Loss of the cervical lordosis personally a find very significant. You've almost certainly had an old whiplash type injury with damage to the interspinous ligaments.

That inspiration pain in the midback suggests to me that this is almost certainly a costotransverse strain; the so called sprung rib, that for one reason or another is not responding to treatment. Over adjusting is certainly one possible cause.

Is the range of motion of the thoracic spine normal? No pain? No sign of Scheuermanns or other old injury on xray?

Are you adjusted mainly from P to A or anterior thoracic techniques, or both?

Let's have some answers to the above, keeping to this thread, and we'll take it from there.

I hope this contributes to your thinking.

Dr B

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