We have all experienced that “kink” or “knot” pain in our upper back or shoulder blades. We feel a sharp stabbing or burning pain in these areas. You may even try to talk your spouse into rubbing your shoulders to find some relief. So, what is really going on in there when you feel this pain and spasm?
This is a bit of a chicken and the egg question; which came first, the spasm or the subluxation? The answer is BOTH. It can happen in either order. You can strain a muscle and cause a subluxation or you can subluxate your spine and have a resulting muscle spasm. Let’s break it down in that order. In the first scenario, typical stress and strain on muscles comes from either over exertion due to lifting and reaching or from repetitive use like sitting at a computer. This strain causes the muscles to tighten. Because the muscles attach from your spine to your scapula, or shoulder blade, they cause your spine to pull out of alignment or subluxate. In the second scenario, you develop a subluxation first and it causes a compression on the nerve root and a strain on the muscle attached to the bone thereby causing a muscle spasm. A muscle by itself does not elicit pain, it is the nerve that supplies the muscle that gives you the pain. So, how do you get a subluxation? There are three answers: trauma, stress, and toxins.
Trauma is the most obvious reason for subluxations. You overworked at the gym, cleaned up the yard, helped your friend move over the weekend, etc. Stress can often be overlooked as a cause of pain. Mental worry, no matter what it is about, can leave you feeling exhausted, stiff, and sore after a long day. Toxins are often overlooked as a cause of pain, as well. Toxins can result from a poor diet or drugs. Your body will often try to tell you when it is “toxic” by hurting. Internal organs have what are called somatic (muscle) referral points. Here is a good example: When patients have a gall bladder problem they will typically report having pain and a subluxation in their left shoulder blade area. The body literally tells you, “Hey! My gall bladder is in trouble!” This is a perfect example of why it is so important to listen to your body. This is also a good example of what is called a viscerosomatic referral. Pull that fact out to look really smart at your next party. 🙂
Can chiropractic care help with these subluxations and pains? You bet! Chiropractic care uses a gentle force to adjust the spine back into alignment by use of an instrument or manual manipulation. At Elements Chiropractic Clinic we have electric stimulation which helps break up muscle spasms, intersegmental traction, and Dr. Myers can do manual trigger point release techniques to stop this vicious cycle. You do not have to live with aches and pains, you just have to take care of your body so it can take care of you.