REFERRING CHEST PAIN FROM BACK PAIN
Updated: Jul 10, 2018
I received an inquiry from a patient asking if he can receive treatment for chest pain caused by unknown cause. Although he received heart and lung related exams in the hospital, the doctor stated as normal. The patient said his back started to tighten up and cause pain for the past three months, and most recently he would get sharp pain in his chest every time he takes breath. After tracking back, the patient had symptom of tightness on his left back after his golf rounding three months ago. After basic examination of the patient’s neck, back, low back, etc., I treated his inner muscle of the scapula (subscapularis muscle) with Motion Style Acupuncture Treatment (MSA) and stretching, and then the patient expressed some relief. This is a case where precise location of contracted muscle and acupuncture treatment can effectively relieve and show progressive improvements.
To be more precise about upper back pain, it is caused by a complex interaction of the thoracic and cervical spines. In other words, the effect on thoracic spine by the arrangement of the cervical spine tightens the muscle between the thoracic spine and scapula. Usually, back pain is most common is athletes or housewives who use their shoulder repetitively. Additionally, improper posture in front of the computer for prolonged time and slanted posture break the balance of spine; tensed up muscles due to excessive workout can trigger pain in the neck, back, shoulders, and even the chest when breathing, sneezing, or even moving.
Back pain can be differentiated to four categories: First, tense muscles, abnormality in function of spinal facet joints, abnormality in joints of ribs and spine, and thoracic spine problem can trigger pain from the mid-back, neck, and shoulder. Second, neck dropped forward, kyphosis of the thoracic spine (where the back is severely bent) can trigger pain in the inner muscle of the scapula. Third, bent back and curled up shoulder (round shoulder) can trigger pain in T6-T7 level of scapula and the ribs connected to those level, and the pain worsens whenever you breathe or sneeze. Fourth, excessive workout or trauma of shoulder can trigger pain in the mid area of the scapula.
Back pain due to simple muscle contraction without anatomical problem can easily be recovered, but frequent occurrence can develop to chronic disease, therefore take precaution. Moreover, people would consider back pain as simple muscle pain, but they would never consider as a sigh of spinal abnormality. The back has the most movement, so many joints and muscles surrounding the area affect each other, thus causing frequent pain. Back pain can also be triggered by neck or low back abnormality.
Proper posture to prevent chronic back pain is by sitting with your bottom all the way to the back of the seat and resting your back on the backrest. Placing a cushion over the low back can also help. Sitting closer to the table and narrowing the gap between your stomach and the table is a great posture. Also, approaching the computer or table along with your seat is better than stretching the neck forward.
The following are stretches to straighten your turtle-like curved back:
In a standing position, gather both hands and stick the palms and elbows together. Raise your arms vertically, making sure the elbows do not separate. Continue to raise them until your arms reach your ears and hold for three seconds. Continue until both hands reach the outer part of the ear, and bend the arms to the back. Push back the shoulders as much as possible and slowly separate the hands. Repeat every fifteen seconds for five to ten times.
Published by KoreaTimes under <Health Column> on September 8th, 2015.