Sharp-Stabbing Mid-Back Pain 


Do you or have you ever experienced a sharp pain located in your back right beside the spine and below or above your shoulder blade? If you have, does it hamper your breathing by causing the pain to be more intense while breathing in? If yes, or if you ever do, there is no need to worry because more than likely it is just a simple problem that can be easily fixed with chiropractic care. I know because I have and still do get this problem. What you are feeling is a rib that has moved enough from its attachment to the vertebrae to cause pain and an inflammatory response. It is called a “rib out” or a rib subluxation/restriction. The fact is that your rib is still in place but not supported enough. Every joint in our bodies is surrounded by a group of muscle called core stabilizers. These core muscles contain what are called proprioceptive receptors that help keep our joints stabilized in a gravitational and bi-pedal world. A good example of this muscle group is the rotator cuff. The shoulder joint is “a roll and glide joint” which means it is not in a supported state like the hip joint. And though it does have a capsule, it needs to be supported by the rotator cuff for maximum stabilization. As you move your shoulder around, proprioceptive fibers send signals to the brain telling it where the arm/muscles are in space. The brain then sends a motor signal back to the surrounding muscle groups to turn muscles on and off so the shoulder can move easily. If any of these muscles are injured or do not “fire” properly, then you will more than likely have shoulder pain. This is true for any joint and with our main topic today, the rib.

As we go with our daily lives, in today’s society especially, we tend to be slouched over behind a computer. This causes a lax in your back muscles and eventually the core around your rib heads may relax enough to the point that the rib will move and disrupt the joint. Most of the time this pinches what is called the synovial portion of the joint. All joints have pain nerve endings in them and it thus causes a sharp pain. Since these muscles surrounding this joint are also accessory muscles of respiration, along with the ribs surrounding the lungs, you can see why it hurts to breathe in.
Usually a trigger point/muscle spasm occurs and then the area is tender to the touch. Treatment for this problem is easy and results are fast. This problem can take some time to fix in the long run because the muscles have to be retrained through physical therapeutic exercises.

In my office, I usually use heat consisting of infrared, ultrasound, and/or hot packs to relax the muscle spasm and ease any pain. Than I do trigger point therapy and soft tissue massage to help break up the muscle spasm/trigger point. Afterwards, a chiropractic adjustment, either with my hands or an “activator” type of tool, is used to help further rid of the spasm and reset the proprioceptors (this is the most effective technique of them all). Following is a seated rib stretch and either in-house and/or home therapeutic exercises. Treatments usually last 30 minutes and the length of treatment (days/weeks/months) depend on the patient’s response to care. The faster one heals, the farther apart the treatments are. Be cautious though because this type of pain is very similar to a heart attack or a lung puncture/problem and one should consult their physician, or go to the ER first. Especially if they experience arm pain, nausea, dizziness, visual changes, shortness of breath, heartburn symptoms, fever or cold sweats. If and when you are cleared of any heart trouble, and the problem stiff exists, feel free to give me a call and I will give you a FREE consultation/exam to see if I can help you. If not, then I will be sure to find the best place/person who can help you. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to give me a call. Otherwise take care for now and as always, have a healthy day!

I also wanted to let you know that we have a new promotion here at Nill Family Chiropractic and Wellness Center. From now until August 1, for any new patient who comes in for a treatment, a FREE MASSAGE will be given. So come on in, even if you are in pain or not, and take advantage of this opportunity. Remember that chiropractic is good for not only treating pain but preventing it as well. Studies show that chiropractic can help the immune system and prevent other diseases like arthritis. We accept all insurance and if you’re a cash patient who doesn’t have insurance, or their insurance doesn’t cover chiropractic, call and ask how you can get 25% off of your bill.


Until next time, I am Dr James P. Nill DC. Take care and have a healthy day.

The Waynedale News Staff

James P. Nill, D.C.

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