03 Apr Mid back and chest pain
Back pain is a very general term, caused by many different issues that we address in chiropractic. Most of them originate in the spine or ribs joints or back muscles, but referred pain from the organs does occur occasionally. For example, (incredibly rarely) a stomach ulcer can give you back pain but your chiropractor is trained to recognise such conditions and take the appropriate action or give appropriate advice. Pain may also be referred round to the front of the chest from irritation of the rib joints next to the spine or a problem with a nerve.
The mid-back is called the thoracic spine. The name comes from ‘thorax’ which is that part of the spine between the neck and the diaphragm, the large muscle separating the chest from the stomach. The thoracic spine has twelve bones or vertebrae, and a myriad of joints and muscles relating to the ribs. Each rib makes two joints with the spine and one with the sternum (breast bone) so there are many joints which can potentially cause problems.
Causes may include poor posture, incorrect breathing, past trauma, hobbies or a sedentary lifestyle. This is a common complaint that presents itself in chiropractic clinics and often responds well to spinal adjustments.
Scoliosis is fairly well known these days and many people either have it or know someone who does. Scoliosis comes in varying degrees and occasionally it is known as progressive (or worsening) but most commonly, are quite stable. If the cause is known, the scoliosis can be put into categories with the most common being neurological, muscular, congenital bone anomaly or developmental. However, most cases are idiopathic (meaning that the cause is unknown) and mild so do not create many major problems in the individuals life at present or in the future. If it is progressive, cosmetic appearance and cardiopulmonary compromise are concerns but as stated, these are very uncommon.
Your chiropractor has been educated to understand the condition and to ascertain the most appropriate course of action for the patient. Chiropractic has long been reported to benefit people with scoliosis regardless of the cause or severity. The aim of care is not to ‘cure’ the condition but to maintain, to the best possible degree, the movement in the individual spinal joints and the spine in a more global sense. Keeping the joints moving will be absolutely fundamental for the nervous system to function appropriately and in turn the muscles and all the other local soft tissues. Studies have shown that adjusting the upper cervical spine (upper neck) can result in reflex mechanisms related to proprioceptive input that then play a key role in setting the muscular tone as ‘normal’.
The best course of action that will be taken will depend on the individual and their state of health. You will be assessed to determine the extent of the scoliosis, whether it is progressing or not, the likelihood of benefit that may be gained from conservative care and if it is prudent to refer out. Once the chiropractor has assessed the situation and accepted you as a chiropractic case, it will be likely that your care will involve specific spinal adjustments, exercises, nutritional supplements.
Image From 3D4Medical App