Chest and Abdominal Pain

Chest and Abdominal pain has to be approached with some caution. It is always important to make sure to rule out any major health condition first. Bodywork and Trigger Point Therapy specifically is always secondary to a medical examination following any of the symptoms listed below and with full release from a doctor. In other words, never search for treatment of symptoms assuming that they are “just a trigger point” or strictly a muscular condition and potentially put yourself at risk of a serious or fatal heart attack!

Cardiac Symptomatology – Heart Disease is a structural or functional abnormality of the heart, or of the blood vessels supplying the heart, that impairs its normal functioning.

Heart disease can cause trigger points in the pectoralis muscles as a result of the muscles contracting due to the pain and dysfunction and also as a result of the trauma of a heart attack.

Causes of active trigger points in the pectoralis major muscle: structural imbalance; overworking anterior chest. (i.e., weightlifting with more focus on pectoral muscles, gardening, shoveling snow, construction, computer work, illness which involves sever coughing, improper body mechanics, chest surgery, heart or lung disease, large breasts, implants, injuries to the chest through sports activity, or auto accidents.)

A specific syndrome that mimics cardiac symptomatology could include Pectoralis Minor Syndrome. This is a form of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and is the specific name given to the entrapment of the brachial plexus and/or blood vessels underneath the pectoralis minor muscle in the chest/shoulder. Having the arm up over the head while sleeping for a prolonged period of time will really increase symptoms as well as similar type movements due to one’s occupation. With the chest muscles tight in can cause pain in the anterior chest, shoulder, armpit, arm and hand. Including symptoms such as numbness, tingling, pins and needles, pallor down the arm and into the digits. Active trigger points of the Pectoralis Major and Minor could mimic cardiac chest pain condition and should be considered when the symptoms exist. Again, only after the true Heart Disease has been ruled out.

Similar to what was discussed above with chest pain can be found with abdominal pain. Myofascial Trigger Points (TrP) can induce visceral (guts or internal organs of the body) disturbances and dysfunctions. These Somatovisceral Dysfunctions can range anywhere from appendicitis, colic, urinary tract disease, diarrhea, to food intolerance, abdominal pain in general and dysmenorrhea (Painful menstruation). Viscerosomatic Dysfunctions are reciprocal influences of visceral structures on somatic (muscle) regions can be equally important. The reflex spasm of the abdominal muscles in response to viscera such as acute appendicitis is well known. An irritable colon can project pain to the neck, shoulder, and arm. Even though there is no structural change to the muscle tissues of the body. If the colon is left untreated the muscular tissues of the neck, shoulder, and arm could develop satellite trigger points perpetuating and complicating the dysfunction. Actual trigger areas have been found throughout the viscus, which causes referral pain in the abdomen, chest and other parts of the body. This raises the question of how commonly do TrPs of the abdominal muscles cause serious gastrointestinal and intestinal symptoms or vice versa.

As Bodyworkers & Functional Movement Therapists we focus on balancing the muscle and fascial systems of the body to improve range of motion, posture, and support pain free living. We are able to view your muscle imbalances and Design the best treatment plan specific to your needs and properly address your chest and abdominal pain.