Spinal Angina – Overlooked Misalignment?

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The Body Beyond Low Back Pain and Whiplash

Spinal Angina - Dr. David JensenYears ago emergency room cardiologists frequently encountered cases of puzzling chest pain unrelated to the heart or occluded coronary arteries.

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There might also be shortness of breath, nausea, and pressure radiating around to the back.

Diagnostics would show the cardiovascular system in working order. Sometimes the problem was an esophageal spasm or a hiatal hernia with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Often, though, they were left scratching our heads with no idea why this was happening.

Since they couldn’t find any clues for the symptom, we would clear such patients, who were still experiencing chest pain, and send them to their doctor for further testing. These additional tests typically would also come up normal. Patients would frequently emerge with a bottle of some kind of medication − perhaps a beta blocker, aspirin, or nitroglycerin, or maybe some pain medication because of continuing tenderness in the chest wall or rib cage.

This situation is a common occurrence in medicine today, and, interestingly, as people age, more prevalent.

Martin Gallagher, M.D., D.C., is a a very rare breed of physician – both a medical doctor and a chiropractor, and can provide some answers.

One thing Dr. Gallagher did right off the bat was to clear up the mystery of non-cardiovascular chest pain.

Spinal Angina – An Overlooked Misalignment

“The majority of these cases involve spinal mechanical problems and are not due to loss of blood supply to the heart because of coronary artery problems,” Dr. Gallagher related. “Rather, the vertebrae in the upper part of the neck, the middle of the back, or even the ribs may be misaligned and locked, affecting the nerves so that the chest wall starts to tighten.

“The chest muscles, ribs, heart, lungs, and stomach are controlled directly and indirectly by spinal nerves. Misalignments can interfere with these nerves and cause chest pain similar to cardiovascular angina. We call this spinal angina. Sometimes it may even produce tachycardia and other arrhythmias. Few people know about spinal angina and it is rarely diagnosed by medical doctors.”

This was an amazing revelation because cardiologists had seen so many of these baffling cases years ago that and failed to figure them out.

“Individuals with spinal angina may experience the usual kind of cardiovascular signs and symptoms,” Dr. Gallagher said. “The pain may be stabbing or radiating, reproduced by putting pressure on the sides of the ribs or by taking a deep breath or by turning over in bed. Activities such as riding in a car over a bumpy surface, coughing hard, raising your arm on the side you have the pain, bending forward, and pushing or pulling may increase the pain.

“An evaluation by a qualified chiropractor, and spinal manipulation, if needed, can provide effective relief. There are at least a hundred different types of manipulations for fixing the situation. If, for instance, there are acid reflux symptoms associated with the spinal angina, we can do soft tissue manipulation. The patient lies on his or her back. Right below the sternum there is a point that we press down on as the patient breathes out. You can actually feel the stomach moving out of the diaphragm. It corrects a hiatal hernia and can instantly relieve chest pain.”

Dr. Gallagher is well aware that a chiropractic maneuver, or referring a patient to a chiropractor to check out a possible spinal connection, would be the furthest thing in the mind of an emergency room physician. It’s just not on the ER radar screen.

“Today, with an aging population, this problem surfaces increasingly in ERs and medical clinics and physicians don’t know what to do with it,” Dr. Gallagher commented. “The docs just tell patients to take anti-inflammatories, do some stretching exercises, take some GERD medication, and decrease stress. All of these are legitimate recommendations, but the missing component is often a proper spinal manipulation.”

This article was condensed from “https://heartmdinstitute.com/heart-health/” for Dr. David Jensen


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