One symptom that patients rarely think of seeing a chiropractor for is chest pain. Commonly, if someone is experiencing pain in their chest, they begin to think about the worst case scenario, a heart attack. Although chest pain can be a symptom of organic disorders such as heart attack or acid reflux, most people don’t know that their chest pain can also be referred pain that is coming from the spine.
Musculoskeletal chest and rib pain in known by a number of different names. Intercostal neuritis is one condition that may cause pain in the chest or rib cage. Fortunately, a chiropractor is able to help with this condition.
Intercostal neuritis is an inflammation of the nerves between the ribs. These nerves start in the thoracic spine, the midback, and wrap around to the sternum. When the intercostal nerves become inflamed, they can cause pain in the midback that spreads around the ribs and to the chest. A subluxation, a spinal misalignment, in the thoracic spine can cause symptoms associated with intercostal neuritis. By finding and correcting these areas of subluxation, usually via an adjustment, chiropractors are able to relieve pain in both the midback and chest.
Similar to the way that a vertebra can shift out of its proper position, a rib can also become misaligned. Each rib attaches to the side of each vertebra in the thoracic spine. At this attachment, the rib head can move out of position causing symptoms that may mimic intercostal neuritis. Patients suffering from a rib misalignment, can also suffer stabbing pain when trying to take a deep breath. Chiropractors can correct these rib subluxations with an adjustment that is very similar to adjusting the thoracic spine.
Although chiropractors are capable of treating a number of conditions that may cause chest pain, remember that chest pain can be a sign of a severe health problem. Be sure to consult with your health professional as soon as symptoms begin so that a proper diagnosis can be made.