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Shoulder & upper back pain

coneillcconeill Posts: 1
edited 07/07/2015 - 2:09 PM in New Member Introductions

I've had a look on the first few pages of the forum and can't seem to find anything similar to my pain so thought I'd start a new post.

My upper back pain started nearly 12 months ago and after numerous visits to the doctor it seems like they don't want to diagnose me... or can't!

I've had blood tests for arthritis which all came back as normal so they've now booked an x-ray but I'm not sure what that's meant to detect. It's taken me a year at my doctor's surgery to get to these very basic steps.

The pain radiates along the top of my shoulders all day every day, worse in morning when I first wake up. I can also feel a lot of tension in my upper back which often goes into my neck and causes tension headaches. I have a small stabbing pain near my left armpit as well but it's not an excruciating pain, although it does seem strange. I also have pain in the area when I hiccup.

The pain affects me every day in my work and personal life. I am 27 years old and have worked at a desk since the age of 22 although I know everything is set up correctly. I am now doing yoga 2-3 a week and cardio exercise 1-2 times a week including swimming and cycling.

The only thing the osteopath can put it down to is bad posture from desk-sitting but also from just being hunched over in my every life. I'm learning to stand up straight and roll my shoulders back and down but am wondering how long this pain will last for. At 27 I think it's quite unusual to have chronic shoulder pain although I don't know the facts.

If anyone can shed any light or tips to help ease the pain I'd really appreciate.

I thought it might be a good idea to keep pushing my doctor if they x-ray comes back as showing nothing but is it even worth it? They seem reluctant to help.

Thanks in advance!

I am seeing an osteopath and have been for a good few months now but the pain doesn't seem to be getting better at all.

Welcome to Spine-Health

One of the most important things that need members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?

    . Year, Your age, etc
- Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)

  • . Which doctor did you start with? Ie Primary Care Physician
    . Who are you currently seeing?
- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?

  • . Physical Therapy
    . Ultrasound / Tens unit
    . Spinal Injections
    . Acupuncture
    . Massage Therapy
- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)

  • . Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
    . How many different tests have you had over the years? Similar results?
- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)

  • . Name of Medication
    . How long have you been using this?
    . Results
- Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
- Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

I also strongly suggest that you take a look at our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to FAQ There you will find much information that will

  • - Help you better utilize the Spine-Health system
    - Provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts
    - Tips on how to create your avatar (your picture), posting images, etc
    - General pieces of valuable information

Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
As such, no member is permitted to provide

  • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    - Medical advice of any kind
    - Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc

What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 07/07/15 20:13 est


  • I have osteoarthritis which has caused joint damage & my lumbar spine in particular is a complete mess. If there's structural damage that's very severe it may show on an X-ray but spine problems often don't. A MRI is the best diagnostic tool. It shows so much more. If its a disc problem it's probably going to take a MRI to know exactly what you're dealing with. I know! You just have to keep pushing.
    I know when I first had pain I would go to the doctors, treatment (meds really) sometimes helped a little but I'd carry on with my life & not go back even though pain remained. Time would pass then something would cause a flare & I'd go back to the docs. Rinse & repeat. Docs didn't take me seriously at the start because they'd always say "It's probably muscular. Take this & come back if it doesn't get better" & I wouldn't go back for months or years. You really need to stay ontop of this & keep pushing before you'll get the diagnostics & treatment you need. Once they know what's causing your pain there's lots they can try. Spine pain is complicated & can take a while. Best of luck. I hope you like the Spine Health site. There's tons of information, advise & support. Like everything it's better once you have a real diagnosis.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,841
    edited 07/08/2015 - 7:18 AM
    are one of the best diagnostic tests to pinpoint the extent of arthritis damage. Blood work is necessary to identify Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Bone Scans are great for isolating Osteoarthritis .

    You need to find the root cause of the pain. Have your doctor's only talked about arthritis? or have they also talked about potential disc problems? You can see from the attachment I put in your original thread, finding the problem many times is a like a game of Clue detective work.

    Posture can play a major role in upper back/neck/shoulder problems. Habits on training a better posture should help you in general. I cant speak exactly about the Yoga and cardio exercises you do, but unless you have the right type of yoga, that can create some problems. There are special yoga instructors and styles for people with spinal and arthritis problems.

    Bottom line, you want to find out where the problem is. That may take many visits to different doctors. Don't give up
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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