Another Denver Chiropractic Center blog:
Today I had another new patient who came to me thinking she had
popped a rib out of place. She had severe mid back pain that traveled
under her shoulder blade. It started on Saturday while she was
shoveling snow. She called first thing in the morning today (Monday)
and of course we got her in as soon as we could.
Here’s an article on the site:
Ribs rarely actually move out of place unless there is a severe
trauma, like a car accident. For some reason, people with mid
back pain almost always thing that a rib is out place.
Think about it for a second. Those ribs are there to protect
your heart and lungs. They’re strongly attached to both your
spine and sternum, and are very difficult to move ‘out of place.’
There are several layers of muscle between the shoulder blades,
also known as the scapulae. These muscles include the traps,
rhomboids, and spinal muscles.
Sharp mid back pain is almost always muscular, and usually is
dramatically better with just one Active Release treatment, and it’s
almost always gone after two or three sessions.
Chronic mid back pain can frequently be traced back to those
same muscles. I regularly see patients who’ve had pain between
the shoulder blades for years. These cases require a few more
treatments, but they also resolve nicely with Active Release. And
yes, these people also think that they have a rib that’s out.
Here’s another question from a patient:
Hello Dr. Hyman,
I’ve been experiencing an annoying pain that originates
in my glute and goes down the back of my leg. You treated
a friend of mine for sciatica (I’m assuming that’s what
this is). Can you help me and how?
“Sciatica” refers to pain in the sciatic nerve’s
distribution, down the back of the leg. It’s caused
most commonly by one of two problems:
Pressure on the nerve from a bulging disc.
Pressure on the nerve from the muscles in the area.
The muscular cause is way more common.
The first step is to perform a thorough examination
and make sure your problem is not caused by a
herniated disc. If it is, that can be treated,
but treatment is different.
If I determine that the pain comes from the muscles,
I will identify the muscles involved and release them.
I do this by applying gentle tension to the muscle and
combining that with specific movements. This is
known as Active Release Technique®, which I am
certified to provide (I’m also an ART instructor).
If the joints in your low back and pelvis
are stiff and contributing to the problem,
they may be adjusted. Adjustments are a
gentle way to loosen joints. Very little
force is used with adjustments and they
usually feel great.
The first step is to make an appointment and let
me determine what’s causing your sciatica, then
we can determine the correct treatment plan.
On average, 4-8 visits are required.
If anyone that you know is suffering from
sciatica, tell him or her to call us at
303.300.0424. We can help.
Question from a real patient:
My name is (deleted) and I’m a member of the (deleted) Triathlon Club. I noticed you are a sponsor and are very familiar with the athletic world who has worked with all types of athletes. I’m in my fourth year of racing Tri, which is remarkable due to a back injury in 2001 that resulted in a bulging disc. In 2006 I had a skiing accident that resulted in an avulsion facture of the L5 vertebrae. I was all healed up and good until a week ago when for some reason, a drive to Breckenridge aggravated my back. This resulted in crawling around for a couple of days. My back is very stiff and the pain is now tolerable. I want to consult your services in hopes of a speedy recovery to get back to training. Can you help me and how?
A patient with this type of injury history is susceptible to aggravations of back pain. These may be severe and these may be minor. Since this patient had no pain radiating into his legs, and no other neurological symptoms, I was comfortable working with him. In this case, a simple move in the wrong direction led to a fairly significant muscle spasm. It’s likely that this person’s existing herniated disc received excessive pressure as a result of his posture in the car. This led to a painful guarding response that stopped him from skiing and doing further damage to his low back. After 2 – 3 weeks of treatment and some reasonable range of motion exercises, this patient should be able to return to full activity. His triathlon training should be normal, but core strength is definitely going to be a priority.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only. Don’t use it to diagnose yourself. See a qualified licensed health care practitioner.
One of the best things about being an Active Release provider is fixing patients who are already scheduled for surgery. I don’t keep formal score, but there are at least 2 of these cases a month. And I’ve been doing this for about 10 years. So that adds up to over 200.
Many of these cases involve carpal tunnel syndrome, and some involve rotator cuffs.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. This nerve runs through the forearm and ends at the thumb and first two fingers. In many cases, the pressure in the nerve comes from scar tissue that’s accumulated in the muscles. By releasing the scar tissue with Active Release, the pressure on the nerve resolves. Then there’s no reason to do surgery.
Now, I can’t claim a 100% success rate. Sometimes surgery is indeed necessary. But most patients who come to me are willing to try. I’d estimate that 8/10 cases resolve with ART. It’s proabably higher, but I don’t want to run the risk of over-estimating.
So if you’ve been told that you need carpal tunnel surgery, maybe coming to see me is worth a shot? Check back soon for a video clip featuring a real patient who was scheduled for Carpal tunnel surgery and had her symptoms resolved by me.
So, another blog is born. What can you expect from this one?
Those of you who get the newlsetter know that I like to share information that you’ll enjoy reading. This includes real patients and real problems, like shoulder pain, back pain, knee pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and so on. I’ve been practicing Chiropractic and Active Release in Denver for over 10 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of interesting cases.
You’ll also learn about fitness, strength training, nutrition, and more. So make sure you bookmark us or subscribe, and check back often. See you soon!
Glenn Hyman, DC