On April 22, 2019, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a case study of a woman who was suffering with pain in his chest wall and upper back, who had resolution of all symptoms under chiropractic care.
The study starts by noting that chest wall pain is a fairly common occurrence affecting between 20% and 40% of the population over their lifetime. The study reports that “…the incidence of a new diagnosis of chest pain has been placed at 15.5 per 1000 person-years and increases with age.” Men who have previously had a diagnoses of coronary heart disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease are most at risk of having a diagnosis of chest wall pain.
In this case, a 45-year-old woman, who was suffering with right-sided chest pain for the past two months, sought out a chiropractor for a consultation and possible care. The woman described her chest pain as achy and sometimes sharp. She explained that the pain was made worse by standing up from either a seated or lying position. She said the pain was always present and ranged from between a 5 out of 10 to a 8 out of 10, with 10 being the worst.
The woman first experienced the pain 9 months earlier when she was doing housecleaning activities that involved lifting boxes weighing between 10 to 20 pounds. Three days after the pain started, she saw a medical doctor who diagnosed her with reflux esophagitis and muscles spasms. She was given several medications which the woman reported did little to help her. After several days of the medications, she discontinued them due to getting serious side effects. Over the next several months, the woman saw a number of medical physicians who gave her a variety of opinions including a recommendation that she have her gall bladder removed. Her prior medical history revealed that she had undergone mitral valve replacement surgery 2 years prior and was currently on maintenance medications. She also had a past diagnosis of scoliosis.
A chiropractic examination with spinal x-rays was performed. From the examination, the woman was given a new diagnosis from the chiropractor of “painful rib syndrome in the context of chest wall syndrome secondary to vertebral subluxation.” Based on the new findings, and with the patient’s consent, chiropractic care was started at the rate of multiple visits per week.
The study reports that after the woman’s first adjustment, she felt an immediate decrease in her mid-upper back tension that had been present since she had her mitral valve replacement surgery 2 years ago. By her third visit, the woman reported that she was experiencing a 75% improvement in her pain severity and frequency. After approximately three weeks of specific chiropractic care, the woman was able to report that she was completely pain-free.