Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Upper Back Pain - can't take much more...

ge0rgette2gge0rgette2 Posts: 18
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hi all ;)

Thanks for reading..

I've been having upper back pain on and off for about 2 months - it's not proceeded into my left pectoral muscle and into the left side shoulder and breast.

Several ER Visits later, and what do they find? NOTHING!!

I'm so aggrevated. My regular PCP Doc says, you are experiencing panic attacks and anxiety.

The pain in my back is horrible at times - radiating thru my shoulder down my arm.
Cardiologist has done tests and ruled out anything heart related, but tell my mind that. Once the pain comes I am worried this is my last breath. Has anyone experienced this type of pain before?

I use Aleve, which bothers my stomach, I have GERD.
Heat takes away some of the pain. My husband rubs the area of my left shoulder blade and I'm ready to hit the roof.
I can't sleep anymore, I'm worried, I'm in pain. I find myself sleeping with my bad shoulder/blade underneath my pillow - I find myself slouching at the kitchen table on the laptop.

I've suffered from sciatica in the past and that was painful - but this is UNREAL!!!!

Please help!


  • Honestly if it is a panic attack, there can be no real words to describe how bad it can be, your mind is freaking out over the pain that is freaking your mind out over the pain, over and over. I had a few before I got enough treatment to realize what they were and how to get through them, nasty buggers, and don't feel guilty if you are having them! That only makes them worse!

    Now, if they are not panic attacks, well then it could me muscle related, pinched nerves, etc,
    How have you been treated? I know Valium is old as the hills but it will work for most people. Problem is it will work for both muscle spasms and panic attacks.

    Do you have access to a shrink? You really need to work out what is behind the pain before you can get much in the way of treatment.

    I see shrink, take valium for muscle spasms, etc, etc. My shoulder upper arm pain seem to be related to nerve damage from a bicycle accident almost 4 years ago. They know I damaged some nerves, but not where or how. I have a spinal cord stimulator and the muscle relaxers for spasms.

    Did you have any kind of injury to your shoulder or neck at all?
  • Hi again ;-)

    Thanks for responding ...

    I don't think it's panic attacks causing the pain, I think its the pain causing the attacks! hehe

    I've had my left shoulder operated on in the past, about 10 years ago - I think I recall them saying the AC joint and they scraped down some of the bone - Saw an orthopaedic again a few weeks ago, and i'm going for an MRI of the shoulder tomorrow morning - will follow up and see what they find.

    The last time I had the pains in my shoulder, before the operation, I don't recall it being into my chest/pectoral muscles nor my upper back.

    I've been panicking due to the fact that I'm having a heart attack - cardio begs to differ. Says all tests clear.

    I have GERD and on Nexium everyday - unsure if it really helps, doesn't seem to be a indigestion issue at this point - used to be pain from my gallbladder which was surgical removed in May of last year.

    Heat sometimes helps my situation, but it seems to be getting worse.
  • There are tests they can do for making sure all is well with your GI tract as well as do a chest CT and see what's going on. I hope your MRI goes well about your shoulder though don't know how that causes panic attacks other than being in severe pain.

    Remember to breathe through the anxiety and hope you get some med to help if you're having sharp pains are you on Lyrica? Did they do an MRI of your spine? Also don't give up and persistence finds the preverbial pea under the mattress. I had whiplash and shoulder injury requiring surgery on my shoulder and that was 15 years ago and I haven't looked back. With whiplash I took muscle relaxants valium to help for 9 months and woke up finally healed one day. Follow Drs orders within reason and get a second or so opinion to find the cause of your pain. Good luck with your MRI tomorrow. 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
  • Thanks Charry!

    I have have had many endoscopy's in the past, maybe it's time for another. I know with my gallbladder out I was feeling much better.. that's why I'm believing this to be muscular.

    As for the panic attacks, I get all worked up with the pain and give myself the attack, not often mind you, but enough to make myself crazy. I don't take meds for it, I just try and work through it, telling myself I'm not having a HA.

    I'm having the MRI today of the shoulder and will hopefully have results within the week.

    I went to a new chiropractor last night - he poked around and did some x-rays, it seems that I have an issue with my c-5 and c-6 in my neck, could be causing these shoulder and left pectoral muscle pains. I've also made an appt for a mammogram just to make sure.

    Have a great day and ty for writing back - eases my mind a little bit knowing i'm not the only one out there with pain :)

  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    It's good to hear that you are having an MRI done today. I hope it doesn't cause you too much pain during and after the scan. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you will get the results of the scan this week.

    You're not alone with having anxiety and panic attacks. I have had anxiety for years and there is medication which does help when the anxiety is full force. I've been seeing a family counselor (psychiatrist) for years and she is a great sounding board. She is also the one who prescribes the anxiety medication.

    Please let us know how you do today. Wrambler has been suffering with shoulder pain for several years now. He's a great person to vent with, as are the many other great members here at Spine-Health. Charry rocks... :)

    Take care and once again... welcome!


  • Are you getting an MRI of your cervical spine? One of the common symptoms of cervical problems is deep muscle spasms in the upper back (can be middle, left or right). That's how all my cervical problems started. If your chiro said you have issues with C5/6, it's possible that you're having the spasms from that.

    I'm no doctor, but I hope you get an MRI of your cervical spine to rule out any issues there.

  • No, I didn't have an MRI of the spine, it was prescribed for the left shoulder, from my orthopaedic.

    I'm seeing my chiropractor again tonight to go over the x-rays he had taken last night --

    MRI today went well.. I'll know more by Monday I'm sure.

    Yes, Chiro said c-5 and c-6 are off, neck is way out of line -- so we'll see tonight.

    *** Saw Chiro last night - Yup, c5 and c6 are pinched... Will have to adjust them and see what happens. Had a panic attack when I got home last night - fear of dying once again. Going to Cardio in the morning to see him - just in case... but all was fine months ago --- Xanax .50 knocked me out on my tushie last night - guess next time I'll just take .25 ;)

    Seeing gastro again in 2 weeks... maybe there is something brewing inside the belly once again.. Wish me luck!

  • Thanks for the update. I hope your follow-up doctor visits go well and everything checks out okay.

    I can tell you from experience, that anxiety can bring on a lot of physical problems. Before I was diagnosed with "anxiety", I was being treated for IBS, peptic ulcers and also asthma. I went through upper GI's, lower GI's, saw an allergy specialist and an internal medicine doctor. I tested positive for a spastic colon, positive for IBS, positive for peptic ulcers and also asthma. I was taking all sorts of medications to treat the IBS and other ailments. Nothing seemed to help, with the exception of Lomotil.

    My PCP finally asked me one day, if I was under any kind of stress. After I sat back and thought about his question, I truly was under a great deal of stress. I was always really good at stuffing my emotions, but eventually those emotions started coming out in physical ailments (the IBS, spastic colon, peptic ulcers and asthma). My PCP decided to send me to a psychiatrist, as he thought I might have anxiety issues. He was puzzled by that fact that none of the medications (except for Lomotil) were working for my diagnosed ailments. Sure enough, I saw the nicest man who after an hours time... diagnosed me with having an anxiety disorder. He gave me sublinqual Xanax to take, at the onset of any intestinal distress. It worked like a charm and I've been taking the oral tablets since then. I've stayed on the same dose for about 9 years now and it never fails me. Once I started taking the Xanax, my PCP no longer had to prescribe me the other medications he had me on. The Xanax and psychotherapy worked wonders for me.

    Since my traumatic spinal injury, my psychiatrist (a nice lady now) prescribed Lexapro for me to take, starting last April. I was having a problem coming to terms with my life-changing spinal injury and was crying a lot. I have never suffered from depression, but I started to show signs and made sure to let her know. It also has worked well for me, so needless to say... I am a huge believer in psychiatry and anti-anxiety/anti-depressants. Not only do the pills help, but having someone as a good sounding board... really helps. Particularly when you have established a long-term relationship with them. They know your personality and they really help through any rough times.

    Wow... I have no idea why I shared all of this... LOL!

    Pardon my babbling! I guess I was just happy to see that you have Xanax to take, as it really does help with any anxiety.

    Please keep us posted with how you are doing,

  • OMG! NO!! Thanks for sharing this information with me/us - I'm very sorry you had to go through all that - but glad in a way now that I know that I'm not the ONLY ONE going through it and that you are feeling much better, also .. that i'm not CRAZY, as some want me to believe.

    I feel anxiety worse, when I have a chest pain or shoulder pain, thinking bad thoughts, when I'm by myself at home. If someone is here to speak with me, either personally or on the phone, I'm must better.. just the reassurance that I'm not dying right then and there helps me.

    I'm just following up with the cardiologist to be on the safe side, as well as my gastro and having a mammogram, can't be too safe. My chiro really strongly believes that my neck is to blame here * i know some don't like chiro's, but I'm willing to try anything at this point*.

    Yes, the Xanax helped me... don't know why it knocked me out last night -- slept like a snoring baby for hours ... and it worked within 20 minutes or less, I don't even remember. I don't have an RX for it anymore, but I will be asking one of my doctors for a small prescription. I'm unsure if I'm going to be taking it daily, but it's guaranteed that when i feel anxious, i'm popping one. I just believe the dosage I had taken last night was a bit too much. ( I was only given 4 pills from an ER visit one night ... I no longer have any now ).
  • After I pressed the send button and saw my post come up... I couldn't believe all that I typed out! I need to let you know, before I go any further, that my tailbone is broken in two places... so it's really hard for me to sit very long? I tend to type out what I want to say, extra fast and sometimes my posts turn out to be longer in length than I had anticipated... lol.


    I'm glad I was able to put your mind at ease on the anxiety. Please, feel free to share about your anxieties at anytime. We have a special forum under Depressing and Coping (I think that's the one) where we can talk about our anxiety. It's nice to have different forum topics here at Spine-Health, so be sure you take a good look around. You'll find others who have stomach problems, too!

    It's really interesting when I think back to when my anxiety actually started. It had to be in 7th grade. I remember having weird stomach pains and would have the occasional big fears pop into my head. I also felt like I couldn't catch my breath sometimes? I told my parents this and they had me sent to a gastro doctor to check for stomach ulcers. When I would tell them of my fears that crossed my mind... it was kind of chalked up to a "phase" thing. Which, really, I can understand that. Anxiety wasn't recognized that much
    30 plus years ago, so I was always treated for the physical ailments.

    Some people's fears last a while, or might be replaced with a different one along the way.

    You're not alone with this, so I'm glad to help and introduce you to the other forum where this is discussed!

    I hope you do get a prescription for the Xanax. It really helps with Chronic Pain and double the anxiety it brings!

    Take good care,

  • :O)

    Had my followup with the Cardiologist --- Seems all normal there. Chiro adjustment the other night as wel. MRI of the left shoulder still pending.

    I'm feeling much better actually - maybe it was just my neck and my posture. I have a RX for Xanax, afraid to take it regularly, but, I will so when needed.

    I'm glad you wrote back - hope to speak to you soon - be well! :)

  • That all went well with the Cardiologist visit. That must be a huge relief for you. :)

    I can understand being hesitant on taking the Xanax on a daily basis. Xanax has always had a high rate of addiction problems. My PCP has never liked the fact that I have been prescribed them, but he's mellowed out over the years. I've been really fortunate to have stayed on the same milligram dose for several years and there are days that I don't take any of them. I have two CT scans coming up on Monday, so I've been taking them as prescribed (1 tablet, twice a day). I seem to do well with taking one in the early afternoon and one at bedtime. Sometimes I can get by with 1/2 a pill. Just depends on the anxiety level. I'm glad you have your prescription, as it really does help to calm our nerves on the high anxiety days.

    It's nice to hear that you are feeling better.

    Please let us know the results of your MRI.

    Take good care,

    Tammy :)
  • Hope all went well with you today and your CT scan..

    I am having an off day today - shoulder has been really hurting the past day or so ...

    Will keep you informed with the MRI shoulder results on Wednesday.

    Be good :) speak soon!
  • Thank you for the well wishes. :)

    The scans went very well today. I took a Valium before I went and I was much more relaxed than the last scan I had (January 2010). I should know the results on Wednesday.

    So sorry to hear about your shoulder acting up. Have you been able to find any other sleeping position that helps? Your MRI results will be in real soon and I'm sure you are anxious to get those.

    I'll be thinking of you and hope tomorrow is a better day for you.

    I look forward to hearing your MRI results.

    Take good care over there,

  • Glad you were better with this scan.. Hope the results are good.

    I get my shoulder results tomorrow afternoon ... I'm a tad excited actually - so know that I'm not going bonkers and there really might be something wrong in there.. Then the next step I'm sure is PT or surgery, if they find something that is.

    I was iffy on and off all day long - went to the Chiro and now having neck issues, but tomorrow will be better. I have to find a better sleep position. I'm a side/belly sleeper and it's not good for me at all.
    Bought a special pillow so we'll see how tonight goes!

    Best of luck .. Speak soon!
  • Okay - MRI of left shoulder shows SLAP Tear ... was suggested that I do about 4 weeks of Physical Therapy and if helps, we are okay .. if not, surgery.

    Will keep you informed.. :)

    (added Thursday) Past few days i've had horrible calf pain - i just can't win!! LOL

    Be well,
  • Thanks for the update.

    What is a SLAP tear? I really hope the PT does the trick for you!

    I know what you mean about having one pain after another. It's insane at times! Do you take any Calcium plus D supplements by chance? My legs cramp up sometimes at night and it helps the cramping settle down, when I take these supplements. Eating a banana used to do the trick, too.

    Hope you have a good weekend... please keep us posted!

    Take good care,

    Tammy :)

    P.S. I'll type the result of my CT scan in a little bit. The results seems to be a glorified version of my tailbone fractures. I also have fractures to my sacrum... which didn't show on the Xrays of my tailbone in January. But... "the remaining sacrum appears normal", so I guess I have to be thankful for that... LOL! I seriously started laughing at that quote.
  • Hey...

    SLAP team from what I understand is a tear where the bicep muscle meets the shoulder and socket. I'm hoping that PT will help - but got snowed in yesterday and wasn't able to make my appt.

    He said about 4-5 weeks of PT then if it still acts up, then surgery, unsure if I mentioned that before in my last post ;) brain is sometimes fried and too lazy right now to go back and look, LOL.

    As for the leg, calf pain, u could be right - maybe my vitamins aren't up to par with magnesium and potassium. Someone once told me that lacking potassium could cause leg cramps... was it potassium or magnesium.. oh well, better get my facts straight before i started taking extra.

    Hope all is well with you - keep me informed.

  • I'm not sure if this is technically correct but I believe a slap tear is a rotator cuff tear. If you take your opposite hand and slap the top of your arm that is roughly the muscle. It can be irritated, partially torn or stretched or even pulled completely free from the shoulder.

    Sometimes PT will rehabilitate depending on the severity of the injury. It's pretty similar to the miniscus in your knee in how it works and how it gets injured.

    Georgette even if PT doesnt fix it it will get you ready for surgery. I did that and I healed incredibly fast after the surgery.

    Good Luck
  • I was told that a SLAP Tear is between the shoulder joint and bicep, but I could have heard incorrectly :)

    I've gone to one PT visit so far, had to cancel one due to a snowstorm. I'm going to call again on Monday and schedule a few more, as I'm due back to the ortho on the 24th. I'm sure he'll tell me surgery and i hope you are right - i'm good with pain anyways most times. At least i know that it's not my heart at this present time - was a big relief.

    I hope everyone is well

  • Thanks for popping in. I've been wondering if the PT has helped.

    If you do need surgery, it's good to hear the success stories from others. Kris had a great outcome and we have another member named Faith that comes to mind.

    Glad to hear your heart checked out okay.

    Please keep us posted!

    Hang in there and best wishes for less pain,


  • Hey.. how are you feeling?
  • How are you doing? How's the tummy feeling? I was reading in another forum about your tummy troubles.

    Also, has PT been helping your shoulder?

    I go in for my nerve block and coccyx injections tomorrow morning. I am about ready to pull my hair out from my tailbone fractures... so I'm welcoming the injections with open arms. :)

    Take good care and hope to hear how you are doing.

    Tammy :)
  • Hey there. I'm hangin' in.
    Having issues still with the shoulder/neck - also the tummy issues, but those are getting better.
    I'm having an attack today as I type this.

    PT is helping but ortho is scheduling surgery on the bicep to release the pressure of the SLAP tear. I'm a little unsure how it works - i'm still a tad confused.

    I'm having a panic attack right now - unsure why. Went for a nice walk after lunch - made it around the track 2x and felt a weird sensation and walked back to the car and home. Thank G my son is home right now ... I'm thinking of popping a Xanax to take the edge off.

    I had a diet bar for lunch, had chocolate on it - i'm thinking it didn't digest and also choco can give you heartburn/indigestion if you have GERD.

    I'm hoping it'll subside knowing my hubbie is due home.

    Enough of my drama - how are you feeling? Touch base when you can ;)

Sign In or Register to comment.