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New member - upper back pain

Rose141RRose141 Posts: 1
edited 02/16/2015 - 8:47 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hello, I'm new to this website so just bare with me!

About one year ago, when I was 16, I pulled some muscles in the upper left hand side of my back, I still don't know how.
But I didn't go to the doctor for about a month while I had the pain, I only went when I lost the ability to use my left arm effectively. I know that was pretty dumb but I had a fear of doctors and hospitals at the time and my anxiety didn't help when it came to talking to people. The doctor gave me some muscle gel which relieved the pain and allowed the muscles to heal.

But now I am cracking my upper back around 10-20 times a day, some times more, and more recently it's become rather painful to do so. It like if I don't crack it then it hurts to move around. There's also some pain towards the centre and right hand side of my back. This all started only after I pulled my muscles, I never had any problems before hand.

I don't know what it is and I have no idea what I need to do about. Do you have any ideas of what I could do at home or who I should go and see about it?

Thank you for all replies in advance! And sorry if I takke time to reply - still figuring out how to use this.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Welcome to Spine-Health

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I have Stage IV breast cancer which has mets in my T7 vertebrate and Anterolateral 7th rib. X four year and the area keeps enlarging slightly every time I have a PET-CT which is every three months. NO pain was felt until NOW. I had mid-back wraparound pain which is DEVASTATING and only came upon me about a week ago but hasn't stopped hurting. I'm guessing it's the cancer but I can't be sure until I see myoncologist on Friday. Went to ER and they did see the cancer on MRI and CT scan but don't think that's causing this terrible pain. ANY IDEAS ANYONE? I'm even unable to manage my life now with my small dog with this pain. I do live alone. Thanks for listening. Mary
    Mary S. Olsen
  • I'm so sorry to hear of what is happening with you.

    I surprises me to hear that the doctors would not think the pain was due to the cancer reaching a bone area.

    I was doing eldercare for someone a few years ago whose cancer reached his hip bone and started causing a lot of pain. Before that he was fairly comfortable.

    They couldn't cure him ( it was stage 4 ) but we did take Tom to a radiation oncologist who radiated the "lytic lesion" ( a tumor that has reached a bone are ) I was living in a very nice, very large house with a landlord who liked having roommates so he could remain in his house and have dinner with neighbors. The alternative would have been living in a home with other elderly people.

    They gave Tom dilaudid for the pain. The lesion actually expanded in size because of the treatment and the pain actually became more severe. After about a week the cancer was no longer touching the bone and the pain subsided. Tom was kind of a tough, ex military guy who wrote and read a lot of military history. He wanted to get off the pain meds entirely and in a few months he was fine. He lived another year in confort until the cancer came back and he died.

    I've experienced what it can be like having to make appointments with specialists who then refer you to a test scanning facility and making an appointment for that.

    Then you have to wait for the results to be sent to the referring doctor, you get another scheduled appointment to get a more informed consultation and take it from there.

    The system doesn't seem to make much allowance for the fact that patients are in extremes and are anxious about not knowing what is happening and what the next step is going to be. Not to mention the need to ask for help from family and friends. Also not to mention the discomfort or worse from having to be transported to a scanning facility or medical center with this level of pain.

    My impression of the medical professionals is that they have been desensitized to the plight of their medical care customers. I can remember many conversations when Tom was seeing his doctor ( we would be there to make sure everything being said was understood - Tom only had about 20 % hearing and often missed or did not remember was the doctors said ).

    Many doctors hardly even look at the patient and just stare at a computer screen interpreting the numbers on the test results.

    One thing I do remember now is that while the PET/CT and MRI scans do have VISUAL information where you can actually see the various types of bone and tissue in the patient's body, many times they make their DECISIONS based on NUMERICAL data in the test results. This NUMBERICAL data ( tissue density etc. ) is more FACTUAL to the doctor than the VISUAL data or the patients reported pain level. Since they cannot MEASURE pain quantitatively and can only ASK you to RATE the pain ( 1 - 10 )
    they may not want to stick their necks with an opinion.

    It's called "cover your ass" and it drives a lot of medically related decisions these days.

    Another thing I learned through Tom's experiences is that if things really do get bad and unbearable you can call 911 and get admitted to thhe
    emergency room . The advantage of being checked into the hospital is that many different kinds of specialists can consult with you on how to manage the
    pain maintenance at your home ( usually by having a caretaker visit you at home several times a week to assess you living situation and help you adapter
    and even order whatever pain drugs and other drugs, check your blood pressure, interact with the hospital etc).

    It doesn't sound like you were referred to a home visiting caretaker. Usually that happens after you get a diagnosis and they come to help you before you start
    the cancer situation has changed and you need a higher level of care.
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