Most likely this is an irritation to the facet joints of the
mid thoracic spine. Other suspects
would be the articulation between the vertebrae and the rib, or possibly a tear
to the muscles between the ribs, the intercostals muscles.
The facet or zygopophyseal joint are part of the spinal
bones positioned on either side of the vertebrae. They are similar to the joints on the end of your finger and
are an essential component of the movement and stability of the spine. In the lumbar vertebrae the joint angle
is horizontal and provides stability by preventing excessive side to side
movement. In the mid back it is
positioned at 45 degrees. If you
open a book with both hands and hold it in front of you, the angle of the pages
is the same as that in the facet joint.
As these thoracic facets have no side locking mechanism they can sprain
the fibrous nerve filled capsule around the joint. The irritation fires the nerves and gives a very point
specific, sharp, stabbing pain. Compressing
the joint by leaning to the right will aggravate it. Many describe facet pain
as a needle or knife in the back. It can feel as if it comes through to the
chest wall. Your case is right
sided and casualty gave you the ok, so nothing serious. Often it is difficult to find the exact
point of tenderness yourself as it can be quite small, until you move enough to
trigger the nerves. A deep breath
is often enough, especially running.
I wouldn't be surprised if there was a history of injury to that area in
your past. There often is.
If left alone
the pain should begin to ease within a week. If it's uncomfortable enough at
two weeks, I would recommend treatment. (Well I would, wouldn't I!)
Once the facet joint in question has been identified, a
chiropractic adjustment will mobilise the joint and calm down any associated
muscle spasm and/or nerve pressure.
One to two treatments usually clears the problem within a few days,
relief often is immediate. A check
in a month to ensure all has settled well is advisable.
South Street Chiropractic