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Recurring upper back pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Chronic Pain
Let me start out by saying that I'm 33, and consider myself too young to NOT be able to participate in physical activity without experiencing pain/discomfort for days or even weeks. This has been going on for at least three years. The simplest activity of any nature can reaggravate the problem. I do not recall any specific incident when my pain started. I just slowly became unable to complete my 30-60min non-competitive weight-lifting routines without experiencing at least some discomfort in or around the lower half of my right trapezius. The pain is not severe when present, and not constant... it just recurs very easily. I can go for months with no pain at all, but the simplest physical exertion will bring the problem back. My PCP diagnosed it as muscular pain, prescribed NSAIDS & physical therapy. The NSAIDS help a bit, but the physical therapy seemed to do little if anything. The first spinal specialist I saw at the orthopedic clinic diagnosed me with Scheurmann's Kyphosis and thoracic spondylosis without myelopathy, from my thoracic MRI. He said basically the only thing I could do to try and prevent the problem from recurring was to strengthen my back muscles... even though repeated efforts of every imaginable kind of workout routine just result in the pain returning. After another visit to him with the same result, I got a second opinion, who sent me for a cervical MRI speculating that the problem could be in my neck. He diagnosed me with cervicalgia, saying that my scheurmann's was VERY mild, if present at all... but provided no help in actually fixing my problem. After two visits with him, I consulted a spinal surgeon who said he would "avoid surgery like the plague" if he were me, because I just didn't need it, and there was no gaurantee that it would even help my issue. They sent me to the pain clinic for a series of epidurals... even though I wasn't experiencing any pain at the time of my visit. The nurse at the pain clinic on my first visit seemed to be the most knowledgeable person that I'd come in contact with over this whole ordeal. I learned more from her than any of my doctors. She told me I had some inflammation in a few of the discs in my neck... which no one else had told me to this point. Anyway, the first epidural didn't seem to do anything, and the second shot, two weeks later, actually seemed to induce pain over the course of the next week, rather than alleviating it. The only other point of interest is that I experience a light amount of pain if I scretch my right trap by bowing my head, then rolling it toward my left shoulder. So what should my next step be? Would a chiropractor help, or should I seek another specialist of some kind? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.




  • Does anyone have an opinion as to whether this is more likely muscular or spinal?
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i cannot help you with your report, your doctor is best for that!! please just relax and make yourself at home here.. :D good luck and i hope you find pain relief soon. Jenny :)
  • Keep looking for more NS referrals. I'm awaiting my 3rd opinion. Has your Dr. tried any muscle relaxants? I take lyrica for numbness and weakness in my leg caused by the herniated disc in my lower back, most likely if you contiue having pain while taking a strong analgesic it's probably nerve pain. Review your meds with your PCP as the Dr. may be able to help your pain while awaiting another NeuroSurgeon referral. My PCP gives all my meds. My Pain Management Dr. just does the injections. Do you have a Pain Management Dr? Keep us updated on your progress. I hope you get some relief. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Charry - thanks for the reply. I was given cyclobenzaprene, which DOES help. Problem is, I'm not okay with popping a pill to just cover up the problem, but I DO use them when needed.
    My PCP, after at least three visits before being referred to a specialist, believes it to be muscular pain and subscribed physical therapy, which didn't help at all; and Ibuprofen, which helps only a little. He said, as many others have, to try and strengthen my back muscles, but has no advice, just like many others, when I explain that any attempts at strengthening, have ended in a reaggravation of the problem.
    I DO have a pain management doctor, but he has also been little help. In fact, my most recent injetion, (2nd), has made things worse.
    I think I'm going to try a chiropractor. It just seems like the next logical step.
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