Chest Pain: Is It A Heart Attack or A Twisted Rib?

The Choice You Make May Save Your Life

By Dr. Rick Morris

You wake up Sunday morning, turn in bed and feel a sharp, stabbing pain in your chest. You’re concerned, but not panicked…things come and go. You’re used to it. But, then you turn over and it grabs you again. You take a deep breath and it feels as though a knife is running through your chest. It may even be shooting to your back or shoulder.

Television reports race through your mind, “Many people deny the signs of a heart attack during the critical first few minutes and, because of that, half of them die.” What should you do? You don’t want to overreact, yet this is your life and there’s no room for error.

Do You Know The First Signs Of A Heart Attack?

  • Deep pressure in your chest that may radiate to your left shoulder, jaw or arm.
  • Feeling “winded” or out of breath.
  • Sweating with an increase of chest pain during activities, such as going up stairs or walking quickly.
  • An irregular pulse (we’ll teach you to check it…see this month’s patient gift).
  • A change in your skin coloring.

These symptoms warrant a medical examination—Quickly. Take an aspirin immediately (not if you are aspirin sensitive or have asthma) and get to the E.R..

What Are The Signs of A Subluxated or “Twisted” Rib?

  • Sharp pain to your chest or back.
  • Pain that can be recreated by touching the painful area, turning or twisting your torso, bending your neck forward or taking a deep breath.
  • A regular pulse (although it may be a little fast due to fear).

Now Back To Our Guy In Bed…

Your pain is sharp and it’s not a feeling of “heavy pressure.” It “zaps” you when you try to turn in bed - even taking a deep breath hurts. Further, your coloring hasn’t changed and walking up and down the stairs doesn’t aggravate your symptoms. You can reproduce the pain by touching your rib cage. Your pulse is regular and it’s not missing any beats.

You realize that it’s a subluxated rib, call our office and save yourself the expense and aggravation of spending your day in the emergency room. You avoided the prescriptions of Valium, muscle relaxants and pain medication as well as the hundreds or thousands of dollars in tests and your pain was completely eliminated without being “doped up.”

So, What’s A Subluxated Rib and What Causes It?

Think of the last time you ordered barbequed ribs. Do you remember the meat that’s between the bones? Well, that’s not only muscle but nerves.

Can you imagine what it feels like if your ribs are just slightly twisted (i.e. subluxated) and rub against the nerve every time you twist, move or take a deep breath? Can you imagine the sharp, stabbing pain and spasms? Well if you’ve had a subluxated rib, you know just what I’m talking about.

Now you understand why thousands of people every year are needlessly rushed to the emergency room. They are usually treated improperly with medication while their misaligned ribs are ignored! A couple of adjustments would fix the problem and prevent a chronic one from developing. Why didn’t the emergency room just tell them to go to their chiropractor? Well, sometimes they do, but not usually. In ten years things may be different, but today it’s up to you.

I want my patients to know the difference between a heart attack and a subluxated rib.

Just as you shouldn’t bring a heart attack to our office, you shouldn’t bring a subluxated rib to a hospital. They are not trained to fix it and will only send you along an expensive and unnecessary path.

Chest pain associated with coughing, sputum, indigestion, burning or wheezing are obviously not musculoskeletal and need the services of a medical physician. But discuss the condition with us, as we often have natural suggestions that may lessen your need for medication.