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Not sure what to do next.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
For the past 3 months I have been having a pain/burning feeling in my upper back. Around the rhomboid major. It is strictly in this area. I'm not real sure how to describe this, but I will attempt to be as detailed as possible. Here goes....

I am a 27 year old male. I am constantly working on computers with my job and at home. I am fairly healthy; not overweight, probably slightly underweight. I work as a receptionist at a Massage retreat. I work 6 days a week, most of the time from 1 PM to 9 PM. Approx. 3 months ago I had a massage by one of our therapists. She has a heavy hand but I did not feel any discomfort or pain during the massage. A couple days after, throughout the course of the day my upper back (left hand side) would tingle like the feeling of your leg going to sleep. Then it would start to burn tremendously and uncontrollable. I dealt with it for about a week or so but then it became unmanageable. In the mornings it would be fine but as the day would go on it would get worse and worse. 2 months later I decided it was time to visit a chiropractor. After x-rays he told me that i had a 5 degree curve at the bottom of my spine. However my spine itself was in great condition. Proper spacing of vertebrae and nothing really out of the ordinary. He told me he wanted me to come back twice a week for a couple of months for adjustments. I went for 2 weeks. He would put what seemed like a car buffer on my back and move it around, then use something that sounded similar to a hole punch on my spine and 'clicked' it. Followed by electric therapy with ice pack and a Bio freeze application. After 2 weeks I started to lose faith in this type of healing, I wanted something with a more definite answer. That, and money was starting to be a concern. I cannot afford to pay 50 bucks a week. Yesterday, I went to an Urgent care facility. After speaking with the doctor, and receiving x-rays, they told me they were stumped. So now I am stuck with not knowing what to do next.

This burning develops over the day and intensifies. The only relief i get is to lay on my back with arms at my side, or standing with hands clasps behind my back. However this does not subdue it for long. It eventually finds it's way back. Anything that involves me leaning forward tends to aggravate it. I have full range of motion and moving my arms in any way does not hurt. I have had several ideas as to what is causing it, but not being in the medical field myself, I'm just not sure. I thought maybe during the massage I had a muscle pulled and due to my work schedule i have not been able to allow it to heal properly.

The burning and pain has become depressing and is acting as a de-motivator. I'm not sure what to do next. The last doctor i saw suggest i see an orthopedic doctor or a neurologist. I have begun doing light stretching throughout the day and using correct posture while sitting/standing. All to no good result. Any ideas. Feel free to ask questions, I feel i might have left some important information out, but I can't recollect what else to say. Thanks in advance.


  • I'm sorry to hear you're having this pain now. I hope you go to your Primary Doctor and get an MRI to see what's going on. Your Dr. may help with anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants or referral to Physio but it's good if you get the MRI since you already had x-rays. I hope the Dr.can find out what's going on with your pain. Is there any other area where you have pain or numbness? 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
  • Nope, the burning is strickly to the one area. No other pain anywhere else on my body. Thanks for the reply.
  • I believe that what charry said is right on the money. Maybe you should get an mri of that area of your spine. An x-ray can only show the boney structure of your spine and there is so much more in there.Also therapy could help you out with the pain and some very hot heat to relax the muscles as well.Also some exercises to balance your muscles out.A neurologist might be able to help you as well.
  • brisk-

    first off, i feel your pain. im 26/m and have had an issue in my upper back for longer than i want to tell you (ok 2 yrs). i dont want to worry you, b/c most of these issues seem to go away after therapy and the right care.

    1. go to ortho doc/spine doc
    2. get physical therapy asap (sooner better)
    3. you will probably get better unless you are just unlucky like me
    4. if its a stubborn injury...you may need surgery..but keep in touch with me b/c i feel we can relate

    good luck man
  • also if you cant get PT, look up yoga for upper back and chest
  • It does not sound as though you have a surgical lesion, so that rules out seeing the orthopedist. The neurologist really does not work on soft tissue injuries. I would see a physiatrist (physical medicine and rehabilitation, a physician specialty with which you may not be familiar. S/he is more likely to be familiar with local nerve and muscle irritations and disorders that require non-surgical intervention. In the interim, look at your work postures and exercise/play activities to change that which is aggravating you symptoms. Continue heat, ice and stretching regularly.
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