A patient called my office asking for an appointment for sharp chest pain. He left a message saying that I helped a friend of his who had similar symptoms. I recalled that in the case of his friend I discovered upon examination that one of his ribs on the left side of his ribcage was subluxated (misaligned slightly – as opposed to a dislocated or broken rib). Through a precise chiropractic adjustment I was able to get the rib moving properly and the sharp pain was immediately relieved.
Unlike his friend, who is a long time patient of mine, I had no idea why this man was having sharp left sided chest pain and I recommended he immediately go to the Emergency Room to rule out a heart attack or other potentially serious condition. I related that if it is a rib not moving properly, like I diagnosed on his friend (my patient) then yes, he might have wasted his time going to the ER. However, if it was not a rib problem and something more serious…then NOT going to the ER could kill him!
He angrily hung up and we never heard from him again.
You breathe about 20,000 times a day so a subluxated rib is incredibly painful and can mimic a heart attack; however, since DEATH is a lot harder to fix than a rib problem… common sense dictates that he should go to the ER and make sure he is not experiencing a more ominous condition – then we can move on to the more easily fixable rib problem.
Incidentally, the same rib deep breathing exercise that is so helpful for Hiatal Hernias (GERD, acid reflux) is also great for rib problems. Do 3 repetitions 3 times a day for excellent posture and rib health. Remember, your heart and lungs sit in the rib cage. See the exercise here: https://charlesseminars.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/digestive-problems-hiatal-hernia/
Let me share with you a story that illustrates the urgency of this point. The father of one of my closest friends (a renown physicist) was lecturing in Europe. He complained about chest pain and his wife said,”Go to sleep and we will go the hospital in the morning.” There was no morning… he died in his sleep. I want you to have a morning and not a mourning. When in doubt… always error on the side of caution. Call 911 when you feel chest pain, shortness of breath, blurry vision or any symptoms that you have never had before.
For more information about when to call 911 – WebMD has a great slide show you can look at – http://view.messages.webmd.com/?qs=d5d9d57f26f1f434c3d551ada9f8dfa6ce2b6585de68926ec0da315217120e73dc45dd34c5b063a1a09ed10362a80a663529a29e54b54d2e9b01c9d33324b7ad979a9a4259b3fe2e
To a healthy and long life,
Dr. Eugene Charles