Most mid back pain is postural and caused by sedentary lifestyle and repetitive activities of daily living. These generally respond very well to chiropractic care, postural correction and corrective exercise.
Costochondritis is inflammation of the costal cartilages that connect the ribs to the breastbone (sternum). It causes pain and tenderness that is often present for many weeks. Although most common in young teenagers, it is also often seen in young adults, and is more common in females.
Typically there is no known cause for costochondritis, although repeated minor trauma (such as coughing) and chest infection may be triggers in some cases. Certain inflammatory arthritides and fibromyalgia may also be a cause of costochondritis.
Pain is usually worse with moving and deep breathing.
This is usually made based on clinical examination and history. Other conditions such as angina and pneumonia should be considered, although usually the clinical picture is quite different. If required, an ECG or chest X-ray can rule out other possible conditions.
Costochondritis is painful, but it is not a serious condition. It settles with time and is helped with ice, cooling topical creams, chiropractic adjustments and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (if necessary).
Shingles is an important condition for chiropractors because it can give a sharp, burning pain for several days before the skin lesions appear and the diagnosis becomes obvious. Prior to the lesions appearing, a diagnosis of shingles may be difficult to make.
When the skin lesions eventually break out they form a blistering rash that follows the distribution of a nerve root. This is most commonly seen on one side of the back or chest.
You can only get Shingles if you have previously had Chicken Pox. The offending virus is called varicella-zoster virus, which lies dormant in certain nerve cells after the chicken pox.
The virus can come active again, usually at times when you are ‘run down’ or when the body is immune-compromised, by medications or disease.
An individual is contagious during the phase when the lesions first appear. A person that has never had chicken pox can catch chicken pox from an individual that has shingles.
In addition to the pain, other symptoms may include fatigue, joint pain, fever and a general ill feeling.
Shingles will normally settle without complications. Rarely the pain of shingles can last for months or even years in a condition known as postherpetic neuralgia.
If the virus resides in cranial nerves it may show up on the face and could be potentially dangerous for the eye and ear.
Anti-viral medication such as Acyclovir may be prescribed by your GP, though this is usually only effective when taken prior to the breakout of the skin lesions.