Pain specifically down left side of Back

by Ricky
(New Zealand)

Dear Dr B,
Over the years I have always had ongoing nagging burning tight muscle pain down the left side of my back, it is not in my legs, just in the left side back region only, prior to this suffered with extreme tension headaches until under going cranial therapy.

At times also in the middle of shoulder blades still plagues me.

I have been through so many different forms of holistic aid, even Chiropractor's.

I was diagnosed by Doctor's of having either fibromyalgia or Myofascial Syndrome.

However recently I underwent a Tyron Themography Report and showed I had the following in subluxations.

C1,C2,C3,C4 all severe right varying degrees.

T1 and T2 moderate degrees to the right

T12 and L1 showing mild degrees to the right

L 4 moderate degrees to the right

L5 Severe degrees to the right

My question is with the above mentioned would this cause the condition I am suffering from as it very debilitating without much let up.

Is this a case for Chiropractic or what other modality of treatment would I be better suited?

Thank you for hearing me out and trust you can advise best course of action.


Hello Ricky,
I don't know about the Tyron thermography but I once worked in a clinic where we used a similar device, and frankly I stopped using it. Ask to see what the readout is, when done on your healthy, and hopefully subluxation free chiropractor!

Fibromyalgia, meaning you have at least half a dozen active trigger points in your body. When you press on them, you get not just pain, but radiating pain. It's a general inflammatory condition, and you need to look to your diet. Go back to eating what your grandmother put on the table; fruit and vegetables, salads, meat and butter. Add to that olive oil, and fatty fish if you can get it. Avoid the omega 6 oils, and try to increase omega 3; freshly ground flaxseed is good.

Myosfascial pain means poor posture, long hours at a computer for example, or in a car, and probably subluxations in the spine. Good chiropractic must include an exercise program that you do spend perhaps five to ten minutes in every single day. No one is going to "cure" you of this. Start walking, or swimming or some exercise you enjoy, and do it regularly.

In difficult cases like yours I insist on a regular monthly treatment. Not too often, maybe every six weeks.

What do the xrays of your back show?

In short, eat more healthily, exercise daily, see your chiropractor regularly, but not too often, whatever that is. Too much manipulation isn't healthy either. Avoid anti inflammatories if you possibly can.

There are not easy answers to cases like yours. It's great that you're getting involved, asking questions, thinking... ie trying to take responsibility for your own health. Well done.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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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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