Chronic pain just below my left shoulder blade after a fracture

by David W
(Letchworth, Herts, UK)


I have a chronic pain in my back which feels like a point pressure applied just below my left shoulder blade. This pain started following a fall from a ladder 10 months ago. The pain starts when I am standing and is relieved, after some time, by lying down. An X-ray has shown:
Cervical Spine: Normal vertebral body height and alignment
Thoracic Spine: I have a wedge fracture of T6 and some minor reduction in height of T7.
Because my thyroid was removed in 2004 my doctor suspected that I may also have weak bones. This has since been confirmed by a DEXA Scan:
My Lumbar Spine has osteoporosis (T-score of -2.7).
My Hip has Osteopaenia (T-scores of -1.9 and -2.1).

The actual cause of my pain has not been identified. Painkillers (Naproxen, Tramadol) do not relieve the pain. I have followed exercises prescribed by an Osteopath and then by a Physiotherapist and have had various acupuncture treatments. None of these resulted in a significant or long term reduction in my pain.

Please can you advise on what you think is causing my pain and how I might prevent or relieve this pain.

Thank you for your help and for your website.


Hello David,
It's really pretty clear; compression fractures virtually always cause pain; you've had a nasty injury from that fall.

After ten months you could have some gentle manipulation of the area; more than likely one of the rib joints with the spine was disturbed too. Did the osteopath doing any clicking of your back?

I would start some gentle exercises for you midback; ask the physiotherapist; I like what is called the shotput action. Start swimming regularly; and perhaps skipping, initially with no rope. It will help with the osteoporosis too.

Go to Chiropractic Help and in the navigation bar on the left you'll find the site search function. Type in "best calcium for osteoporosis". You have to take your diet seriously, or you'll start getting fractures in the hips and lower back too. Start eating tofu and hummus, and 'real' bread made with 100% wholemeal flour. Keep active.

I hope this helps.

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» Chronic pain just below my left shoulder blade after a fracture






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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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