I wanted to talk about a condition we commonly see here in the office, which is rib cage pain. Rib cage pain may be sharp, dull, or achy and felt in the front, side or back of the rib cage. It is often described accompanying a feeling of not being able to take a full deep breath. Some people have reported they also felt chest tightness that “almost mimicked a heart attack” The pain may be felt at or below the chest or above the navel on either side. It may occur after an obvious injury or without any explanation. Rib cage pain can be due to anything from pulled muscles, a rib subluxation or even fracture. This pain may occur immediately upon injury or develop slowly over time. If the pain occurs immediately following an accident or fall, we may take radiographic imaging in office to rule out a fracture. Once we assess the rib pain, we can adjust the rib cage several ways. We can adjust the rib head manually by applying direct pressure on the rib head while the patient takes a deep breath in and out. Another way we can adjust the rib is with a low force tool called an activator. This can be done on the front, side or back of each rib that needs to be adjusted. Yet another way we can help with rib cage discomfort is by using massage tools that help relax the small intercostal muscles located in between the ribs themselves. If you are an athlete or have a very active job we can also apply KT tape to the area following an adjustment to ensure the rib stays in place following an adjustment. We always encourage patients to drink extra water following an adjustment, but even more so if we do any deep muscle work. Keeping the muscles hydrated will avoid any unnecessary muscle soreness following an adjustment and or muscle work. If you experience any rib cage discomfort and would like to have it assessed feel free to contact our office and book and appointment today 515-278-YOST
With the snow incoming tomorrow, I would like to share some information about motor vehicle accidents and chiropractic care. Research shows that a single fender bender at speeds as little as 2 miles per hour can cause damage to the spine resulting in a reversed cervical curve. Research also shows that impacts as little as 5 miles per hour can cause significant ligament damage of the spine which can cause painful symptoms following a rear end collision. Ligaments and bones are not the only thing that can get damaged in a car accident. Most people experience significant amount of muscle soreness following even a slow-moving motor vehicle accident, though it is possible to be pain free while still experiencing significant amounts of injury to the spine and surrounding muscles. The most common neck injury is a flexion-extension injury commonly referred to as Whiplash. Whiplash occurs when a sudden force stretches or tears the muscles or ligaments in the neck, which is often the case in a MVA. Soft tissue (muscle and ligament) damage is slow to resolve and sometimes takes up to 12-18 months to fully heal. Within the first 3 days following an accident, the body begins to lay down scar tissue little by little in order to protect and try to stabilize the injured tissues around the spinal column. This scar tissue is permanent and cannot be removed once the body lays it down. The good news is that we as Chiropractors can help with the healing process. By removing any interference in the spine and therefore nervous system we can help the body heal itself at maximum capacity. Individuals should be evaluated by a Doctor of Chiropractic within 72 hours following an accident. It may take up to a year of chiropractic care after an accident to achieve symptoms free status however without chiropractic care it can take many years to recover. In certain circumstances, some may even suffer from lifelong chronic pain symptoms following an accident if spinal care is not addressed within a few days. I would also like to give you guys a few quick tips for driving safely this winter. Always remember that children should be restrained in rear facing car seats until the age of 4 or until they reach the weight of 30 pounds. For adults, a properly adjusted headrest should be at least as high as the center of the skull and within 1 inch from the back of the headrest.
If you or anyone you know has an unfortunate experience of a motor vehicle accident this winter, please call us to get your free spinal consultation scheduled today.