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  • Dr Stu

Back Pain when Breathing

Pain while breathing? Particularly painful in the chest or upper back? Some people fear a heart attack. And pain meds don't even take the edge off it! It's more common than you would imagine. And the symptoms can vary.

After ruling out a heart attack - which of course is vital your GP will probably send you out for some tests and they mostly come back negative. Many people don't really get to the bottom of the pain and while symptoms wane they often return.

If not some nasty health condition what could it be?

The most likely culprits are:

A pulled muscle. This should heal within a few weeks and not return.

A Rib subluxation. This can be exquisitely painful. Every breath can be a nightmare. Symptoms may come and go.

A Vertebral joint dysfunction. This can cause the rib to bind up and cause pain anywhere from the back , under the arm and even around to the sternum.

Not generally well understood, and often poorly managed, sternum/chest pain can be confused with a heart condition and even give symptoms somewhat like heartburn.

While some people can associate a coughing bout or sneeze just prior to the pain arising others remember no specific incident. But mealy reaching from the front seat of the car to the back can twist and abnormally load the ribs and spine. This minor trauma can be enough.

The key sign is pain on inspiration and usually on one side only.

So, what can be done about it.

Well, a pulled muscle will take care of itself. An application of an ice pack can help.

A rib subluxation and Vertebral dysfunction are a Chiropractors realm. Once assessed, we usually find that it is easily dealt with and if cared for correctly full healing can be achieved.

As with most conditions the sooner treatment can commence the sooner healing starts and further damage is halted. Progress is often related to the amount of damage that exists and length of time the condition has been allowed to continue.

So, if you or someone you know is experiencing pain when breathing or even back pain between the shoulder blades, why not get a thorough examination to get to the underlying cause.

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