Mid-Back & Rib Problems & Pain (Thoracic) Is that a knife stabbing me in the back?
by Dr. Arlo Gordin
A multitude of patients have come to us for pain between the shoulder blades or in the upper back. This area of the spine (back) that starts just below the neck, and ends at the bottom of the rib cage, is called the mid-back. This mid-back area is known as the thoracic area of the spine
Mid-back pain can be very aggravating. Sometimes it can feel like a sharp stabbing pain. Because the ribs attach to this area, in some instances the ribs too can get involved. One or more ribs can be moved, even just slightly, out of the proper place. The ribs attach at the vertebra of the spine, then wrap around to attach at the breastbone at the front. Because the rib-cage is so richly supplied with nerves, rib problems can be very sharply painful. Pain can appear from the back, around to the side, or at the front of the ribs. Sharp or dull mid-back pain, if present, could also locate in any of those three areas.
Direct physical trauma or injury can frequently cause pain in this area: car accidents, sports injuries, twisting movements, etc. However the mid-back is also an important compensatory area of your spine. It will compensate for low-back and pelvic problems, or for neck problems too. In other words, when the neck is bad, or the low-back or both, the mid-back twists and misaligns to compensate, in the area between your shoulder blades.
One of the most interesting and baffling causes of mid-back pain can come from your blood-sugar control system. Because the nerves to the organs of blood-sugar control (pancreas, liver, and adrenal glands) travel out from this mid-back part of your spine, a dietary "error" may trigger this type of spinal pain. The other day a patient reported a stabbing mid-back pain. On inquiring, she told us of eating her way through a bunch of sweets (just before the pain started). Bread and other fast acting carbs can cause the exact same kind of problem. Excess carbohydrate (sugar or starch) overload can cause this area of the spine to subluxate (go out of place, cause a "short circuit" and irritate the adjacent nerves). The typical location is right around the center of your back (at about the height that a bra strap crosses a woman’s back, and also in the 2-3 inches below there).
This mid-back area of the spine, if injured directly can also cause a malfunction to occur from the pinched nerves to blood-sugar control organs. It is also the area (there are 12 different pairs of spinal nerves emitting from the mid-back) for many key digestive nerves. The ones that go to your stomach (indigestion, gas, ulcer, “hiatal hernia”) are just one inch above the blood sugar (pancreas) nerve. Your liver, gall bladder, and small intestine nerves are also from the mid-back. Correcting subluxations of the mid-back, and normalizing the nerve communication of that area successfully treats numerous digestive disorders. It is a necessary step in correcting the stomach problem which is a hiatal hernia, although the stomach must be "adjusted" also along with your spine.
The top of the mid-back (just immediately beneath your neck) has the nerve elements that go to your arm, shoulder and hand switchboard. Short circuits of the spine there often cause shoulder, arm or hand problems. Immediately below that but still at the top of the mid-back emit the nerves going to your heart. Numerous heart irregularities (arrhythmia’s, etc.) that have worried many patients, were finally figured out and eliminated when they came in to us. Their health problem had eluded sorting out even after extensive prior medical tests. (Ever wondered why arm pain is linked to heart disease? Answer: Your arm and heart are on the same nerve outlet at the top of your mid-back.)
The mid-back responds brilliantly to Advanced Applied Kinesiology procedures. The pain can be relieved and your spine corrected. It is a good idea to do this as early as possible. Spinal conditions left uncorrected, as time passes, result in spine, joint, disc and nerve degeneration, and with those areas worsening into arthritis arrives even more severe nerve "short circuits".
A number of digestive, blood-sugar and chronic fatigue disorders will not respond completely or permanently without this part of the spine being tested well and corrected with accurate adjustments.
The new breakthrough technologies: Proprioceptive Technique and Advanced Advanced Applied Kinesiology, the chiropractic techniques that use muscle testing as a diagnostic method, enable us to clear up even difficult mid-back complaints, even for those patients who had unsuccessfully seen lots of other chiropractors, doctors and therapists before getting to us.
Nutritional supplementation is invaluable in healing many back conditions. Ligaments, discs and nerves are repaired faster and better using nutrition. Nutrients relieve muscle spasms and pain, often better and without the dopey or other side effects of drugs. We can provide nutritional advice or supplements for specific organ help (by checking the spinal level of the pinched nerves, and testing the organ "reflex" points). The correct nutrients can be offered that are crucial to speed the healing of mid-back pain. These could be blood-sugar balancing nutrients, stomach-lining healers, or gall bladder cleaner-uppers, for example.
It’s an excellent idea to have us help you with Advanced Applied Kinesiology Chiropractic, when mid-back pain is making you ache, suffer or go "nuts". Who else would be able to better figure it out? After all, your back pain isn’t caused by a pain-killing or anti-inflammatory drug deficiency! There are always real underlying causes that can get well when you actually fix them.