Chest Pain and No Answers

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Recently, a friend of mine was over and he started asking about his business associate, who is not being able to close a deal because he has been in the hospital and doctors’ offices constantly for more than two weeks due to chest pain. He told me his associate has had heart attack evaluations, an endoscopy, CT (computed tomography) scans, MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) and other tests—all without any findings. I said, “Get him on the phone.”

During our phone conversation, he told me of constant pain, sleepless nights, endless testing, and missing large amounts of work as a result. There were multiple hospital visits, including invasive and exploratory evaluations; he even had a colonoscopy scheduled, not knowing what to do anymore. I said, “Okay, sounds like there’s nothing critical or imminent going on; I’m sure the doctors tested and evaluated for red flags appropriately.” I did tell him it’s probably one of two things that I could probably help with—either an occult gall bladder problem or something I’d have to check in the office. He decided to come in.

A few days later, I saw this sleepless gentleman, and he told me the pain was on the left, which pretty much ruled out the gall bladder, since that’s on the right. Upon evaluation, I found my hunch was correct: A rib on his left side had moved slightly out of position. I gave him a specialized chiropractic adjustment for rib malpositions, and a few seconds later he looked at me in disbelief and said, “I’m pretty sure it feels better.” I told him to come back in a few days because it takes a little work to stay in place and that probably after a few days, a minor amount of discomfort will return. A week later, he returned for a second treatment and happily explained he had the first four nights of sleep in a row in several weeks, and, as I had told him, just a small amount of discomfort had returned. He cancelled his upcoming colonoscopy with relief.

Most chest pain is benign, meaning it is not a critical health emergency. It is reported that most hospital visits for chest pain result in discharge with a diagnosis of non-cardiac chest pain or perhaps heartburn. And those results are the truth. Most chest pain is not cardiac or relating to the heart, but that doesn’t make it feel any better. Many of my patients with non-cardiac chest pain report not being able to sleep and that the discomfort and pain are driving them crazy—constantly concerned it is their heart despite hospital testing procedures. There is an answer to this stubbornly annoying pain.

Many describe their chest pain feeling like a knife in their chest, near their sternum (breastbone). The pain can also be on their side, near the armpit, or even in their back, near the shoulder blade. It can actually create the feel- ing of heart palpitations or racing. Sometimes it will even register on an EKG (electrocardiogram) as palpitations, due to the chest muscle spasms being picked up as a false positive. Many also feel heartburn or indigestion as a result of the rib-produced sensation. As stated, often this situation has the outcome of either a rib malposition, which requires a specialized chiropractic manipulation that is unbelievably relieving, or a gall bladder problem, which requires some advanced nutritional support, enzyme therapy, and assorted ancillary treatments, such as acupuncture, to be resolved. Chest pain can be resolved and can be relieved.

Source: Dr. David Pollack, of Pollack Wellness Institute (66 Commack Rd., Ste. 204, Commack). For more information, call 631-462-0801 or visit

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