Pressure in my chest

by Margie

I have been seeing a Chiropractor 3 days a week for over 3 months. He at first told me that I had lost the curve in my neck and that I had some arthritis in my neck. My neck was also to the right a bit from a car accident that happened over 4 years ago. He keeps telling me that my shoulder isn't where he wants it to be. He has never explained what he means by this. My right shoulder is a little forward and a little lower than my left but not noticibly lower.

I have an ache that is constant in my middle back on the right hand side-kind of right at my bra line. It seems to feel better when I get up in the morning however after being out of bed for a couple of hours, it gets worse and seems to travel around to the front of my chest and I either have pressure or it feels like a tight band squeezing me. The whole right side in the front above my breast feels like the muscles are being pulled. My shoulder aches and so does the right side of my neck. It feels like there is a muscle in my neck that just has to loosen up but won't. Hot showers seem to help and so does a heating pad.
I work on a computer during the day but even on my days off, I get the same pain/aches.

When I lay on the roller table at the Chiro's office, the roller really irritates the spot in my mid back.
This has taken over my life. I can deal with my neck aching however it's this pressure in my chest that hurts so bad. I've had every test imaginable from the medical doctors everything comes up clean.

Any advice or suggestions would surely be appreciated.
Thank you for your time.

Hello Margie,

The key features here seem to be pain in the midback radiating along the rib to the right breast area, and breastbone (sternum). Is that right?

Press on the ribs where they meet the breastbone between your breasts. Is there a naughty rib (or several) that are distinctly more tender than their cousins on the left?

It's difficult without examination to make a diagnosis, but ask your chiro if he has considered Tietze's syndrome.

Tietzes syndrome requires a very specific chiropractic treatment. It relates to the whole rib, from its origin in the midback, to the breastbone.

Tip: A heavy manipulation in the midback will often aggravate the condition, perhaps also that roller. But an "anterior thoracic" adjustment, and management of the rib and rib-sternal joint is the key.

You've had a lot of treatment, Margie. 36 in three months? Probably too much, and if you are not seeing light at the end of the tunnel, it's probably time to move on. Fresh eyes, a fresh look. Perhaps some X-rays seeing there has been little response.

Because Tietzes syndrome often affects either the first rib and/or the collarbone joints, it often causes pain in the neck and arm. Correction of the first rib and clavicular fixations, and the muscles attached to these bones (scalenes and SCM) is the key to progress.

Long shot: place a small table at your right elbow at your computer work station. Roughly level with the work-top. This could be a case of mouse-arm.

I hope this has contributed. Let me know how you get on in a few months.

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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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