Chest and throat pain


A very interesting case of chest, throat and testicle pain.

A patient came to see me complaining of chest pain when cycling. He is a 38 year old I.T. Consultant who is a very keen cyclist, particularly time trials. His usual very high level of fitness had been diminished over the previous 6 months and he described a feeling of chronic fatigue. Initially he had attributed the chest tightness and a feeling of ‘swollen glands’ in his neck to the aftermath of ‘flu’ which he had had a couple of months before.

Once he was back racing he started to get severe chest pain when riding. The throat symptoms would generally coincide with this.

His G.P. had done all the usual tests, then referred him to a Professor of Respiratory Medicine to find out whether he had a lung condition that wasn’t detectable on x-ray. This Consultant could find nothing wrong. He was told that it was probably to do with chronic fatigue.

After months of not living his normal active life he came to the practice. During the examination he also mentioned that he had quite a long history of testicular pains which could be either side. This would happen when just walking and less often when riding. A further recent symptom was that he was unable to eat a normal sized dinner and felt full very quickly.

The usual physiotherapy examination techniques were employed to look for musculoskeletal anomalies related to the patient’s symptoms. He was found to have a slight scoliosis (non-symmetrical spine), some rib stiffness (which would restrict his breathing) and a sub-optimal pattern of breathing. He also had quite a lot of myofascial tightness through his torso.

Other assessments known as General Listening and Local Listening are sometimes used when we use Visceral Manipulation techniques. (See The Barral Institute for more details Using this approach more information was gathered regarding restrictions of movement in his abdominal organs and the connective tissues that link these together. It was interesting that the testicular pain could be reproduced when examining his abdomen. Further tightness under his ribs at the front was also found & needed to be addressed.

Conventional physio treatments was used to loosen off this patient’s spine, ribs and chest muscles. Deep fascial release techniques were used to loosen the connective tissues. (Fascia is the material that holds us in our own unique structures). He was given advice re breathing technique and some exercises to help take a bigger breath.

Visceral Release techniques were used on his chest and abdominal regions. This gave him a feeling that he could breathe more easily, allowed him to eat a normal sized meal and eradicated the testicle pain (which was probably due to restricted blood flow to the testes).

Treatments were every 2 to 3 weeks for a few months, then less often, whenever he felt symptoms might be returning. He now has none of the reported symptoms.

I have found and I’m still discovering, that there is a very wide range of symptoms that visceral manipulation can help. It’s a fascinating subject!

Keith Allen-Shirtcliffe