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Excruciating upper back pain

ProgerManPProgerMan Posts: 1
edited 12/08/2015 - 8:14 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hi everyone!

For the last 6 months, I have been getting excruciating pain in my upper back. Over this period, I have had one trigger that causes the pain, that is comprised of the following conditions:

lying flat
going to sleep for more than 3 hours

Yesterday, I found another trigger:

Stretching both arms into the air as high as I can
I have slept in hotel beds... the pain is the same. Last night, I slept on a fairly good quality air bed, and the pain is the same.

I have slept upright in the past and my weight (16 stone) has caused my mattresses and bed bases to buckle... and this happens within 3 months. My current bed is too costly to sleep upright in, so I really need to figure this out...

In order to avoid the pain on mornings where I am to go to work, I am sleeping for approximately 3 hours per night. I then catch up on my sleep at the weekend. But this is taking its toll on me.

The pain I get in my upper back feels very very tight. It is like someone is crushing my bones. When I breathe, it hurts even more, so I find I am holding my breath, or breath out hard to collapse my lungs and holding it there for as long as I can.

My lower back is a bit of a mess too:

Jun 2007 - Central disc prolapse at L5/S1
Sep 2007 - Discectomy
Jan 2008 - Disc degeneration at L5/S1
Jul 2009 - Prosthetic disc implanted at L5/S1 (Freedom Lumbar Disc)
Sep 2009 - Road traffic accident; other driver hit my car at 30mph; jarred my spine
Since Sep 2009, my back has got progressively worse, with constant spasms and tightness.

My main medications for my lower back pain is already higher than I would like:

OxyContin 40mg (morning only)
OxyNorm 10mg (night time only)
Tramadol 100mg (3 times per day)
Lyrica 150mg (twice a day)
Baclofen (5mg morning, 15mg night)
I am trying to get an appointment to see my doctor as the pain in my upper back is getting worse.

My estranged father has some form of spondylitis (or spondylosis?), and it was severe enough that he vomits every morning with the pain and he had to quit work because of it. My fear is that this is related to my upper back pain.

I am also diabetic. Not sure if this changes the views on all of this.

If anyone can provide any help or advice on this, I will gladly hear it.




  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
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  • edited 12/12/2015 - 4:20 AM
    Do not feel alone at least. IN your pain, my pain sounds the same. I had two neck surgeries, 11 various injections and nerve blocks and this last epidural in my neck did something awful to my back. From the base of my neck on down to bottom of thoracic the pain is mind altering. I always proded myself on taking low dose pain killer- and titrated down even despite major unrelenting pain becuase i wanted to feel like i could handle it on my own- that i was making progress. To hell with that. I haven't had a full night of sleep since my injection. The pain is so freaking excruciating i want to punch something! (not really- but it builds up so many feelings of upset those feelings have to go somewhere. Spinal issues are so tough to deal with because it's like a stack of cards. you pull one out and the whole pile goes out of whack. Whatever the doc did to my edpidual in my neck- well hell at least it numbed out that pain i was having in my neck! But it seemed to have set off an immence firestorm of pain below- right on down my spine in the center of my spinal canal is what it feels like. They thought it was muscular but i don't think so. To me it feels like a spinal cord issue. I do have thickening of the ligmentum flavium from a bad botched surgery at the back of my neck. BUt I also have an ugly thing called complex regional pain syndrome which makes everything much worse. IN fact i got this syndrome after they cut my dorsal nerve root. it caused so much pain that my sympathetic system went nuts. Now i have trouble managing my own body temps and this disease is like a pain amplifier- the last thing i need on earth! I get through this pain by literally purposefully focusing on very mind-intensive tasks. Not letting the pain message- no matter how loud and angry and vicious into my brain. My brain is the processing center. I essentially tell the pain siren to "[edit]" and then I intentionally spend my brain power doing extremely frontal lobe intensive tasks. IN my case I am taking courses online- learning something totally new is what builds new pathways. This is literally the only way i found how to deal with this excruciating absolutely life altering wretched pain i deal with 24/7. It doesn't really seem to work if i am doing old stuff i know i like. it only really helps by learning new things- new languages- studying new stuff takes the pain signal and essentially shuts it down. This is how i personally discovered how to F-CK my "Pain Brain." Rather than getting more surgeries which always have bad side effects- I will try to go to the brain and reprogram that. This is what drugs are trying to do chemically. But what is left out is the enormous incredible power of our own brains. I highly recommend reading Norman Doige's book "The Brain's way of Healing". Your story made my cry a bit because i know just how you feel and i know how alone it can feel just wanting to sleep and instead just grinding it out with pain. I am sending you a big hug with love and light and warmth to surround you friend. Here's to your journey.
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