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Chronic upper back pain

juliek75jjuliek75 Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I am excited to find a forum of others with my same kind of pain. At least I know I'm not alone. I am 36 and always had a "touchy" back my whole life, but nothing major. Then about 4 years ago my upper back started hurting extremely bad. I didn't injure it, it just sort of happened gradually until I couldn't take it no more and went to the doctor. Well long story short, here I am 4 years later with no more relief or answers than I had then. Tests show I have "mild" scoliosis, "mild" kyphosis and "mild arthritis and degeneration. All the doctors say I shouldn't be in this much pain. I think the combo of all the "mild" things is the most likely answer, but they don't agree. I've had PT, went to pain clinic for 6 months and had injections of all kinds, which weren't very helpful, seen an orthopedic MD and now seeing a rheumatologist. Each one seems very interested in helping me until nothing works, then they pass me off to another doctor. I'm soo tired of it all. I can't say the worst pain is all the time. Sometimes I can go a couple weeks where the pain is definately still there, but bareable. This has been a bad week, even having 2 days off and doing nothing but some light housework and my back has been constantly in spasm. I feel like a wimp, like I am a 36 year old in a 96 year old's body. I feel like when I go to the doctors they think I'm lying or something, maybe they think I'm a drug-seeker, which would be wierd since the first thing I tell them is that I can't take anything that will make me fuzzy headed because I am a Home Health Nurse. I do take half a Lortab on occasion if I don't have work and my back is just hurting too much to bear. I have to be really desperate though cause I hate the "hangover" feeling afterwards. I hope maybe to find someone else who was just like me that is finding relief or at least a real diagnosis.


  • Hello Julie.
    When I was in rehab after my surgery,a consultant physician told me he had been treating people with spine issues for years, but it was only after his own spine was injured in a recent car accident that he actually understood the pains people had been describing to him. "It was a real revelation" he said (and he also admitted he was terrified at the prospect of surgery!).

    The "pass the parcel" between doctors has a familiar ring to it as does the craving for a proper diagnosis.
    It's only when you have that certainty that you can really move forward. Until then you feel like you are just groping in the dark trying this and that in the hope that you might stumble upon a cure, or at least something to give you hope.
    I know, I've been there.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    You're not a wimp. Chronic pain is exhausting..to say the least.

    I've had experience with my docs giving up on me. My thought is they like to be successful and when they can't fix something...well it must not be as real as expressed by patient...me.

    For me the EMG was the most telling and doc was understanding..as if for the first time..saying all the things he could see that were way wrong. It's like that test validated everything I had been saying.

    I too, struggled with feeling like a drug seeker.. wondering what docs thought of me...esp when I needed to go to ER for out of control pain.

    Now my mindset is I am a caregiver to me. It's like I personified the pain...made it my friend..and I will take care of this friend to the best of my ability.

    For me..I minimize my ...whatever...but to care for someone else...I'm right there. It took me awhile to realize...I had to be advocate and right there for my own self. Now I don't too much worry about what others are thinking. I cant control that.

    It's not an easy situation that we find ourselves in. Hang in there and keep in touch!

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Chronic upper back pain is very difficult to deal with because nobody can understand another person’s pain. Each individuals pain is interpreted and feeling generated by his or her own brain and body. People suffering from chronic upper back pain will need to find coping strategies and therapies to help them manage and live with their pain so it does not become their focus in life. For many patients, the best chronic upper back pain therapy is a combination of treatments that are specific to their situation and requirements. Exercise is important in managing some types of chronic upper back pain since it helps keep tension to a minimum and strengthen muscles but it is best to work with your doctor and a physical therapist or a professional personal trainer to help you.
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