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Upper back pain that has lasted 4 years now. Please help.

Have been suffering from upper back pain and discomfort for 4 years now and trying to find a solution. If anyone has had the same type of injury or know how to get rid of it I would like to hear.

Location of the pain is in my upper back, around the area of the ribs. Its quite close to the spine. Only on the left side of my back.
I think its some of these spinal erector musles that has been overused or inflammed.
When I use my hand to feel on these muscles they feel thicker and harder than the muscles on the right side, so there is clearly some difference in muscle quality.
It feels like there is a long hard string or wire that goes from all the way from my left side of neck down to my lower back/quadratus lomburum.
When I move my neck it feels like there is "sand" moving in that area. I can hear the sound of this. I also get this cracking sounds from my upper back on the left side when I extend my shoulders back. If I have been sitting down for a while and standing up I sometimes get a very loud more deep sounding crack.
Lying straight down temporarly make this pain and discomfort less.

What makes the pain worse is exersices on the back-muscles. It seems to irritate these muscles. Also stretching these muscles seems to irrritate them.

I have tried to massage with lacrosse balls and it gives a short temporary relief and the cracking suddenly goes away for a short time even if I try to crack. But then the constant cracking and discomfort comes back within a short time.

At the worst it was painful to breath, because I think the expansion of the rib cage during an inbreath put these sore back muscles on a stretch and gave me pain. Walking longer than 5 minutes was the most painful. Standing upright for longer periods of time is also painful. Running for some reason did not give me pain.

I don't really know what started it, but I spend alot of time infront of the computer with my left arm and elbow restining on a quite high table for long periods of time.

I have been going to 15 different physiotherapist and osteo, chiro etc... They have no diagnosis and seem to have no clue what this is. I have taken MR and nothing was found.

So is this something I need to struggle with the rest of my life or is there something I can do?



  • I see you've been to specialists, but what about your primary care physician?  They should know your body better than anyone (other than yourself).

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,478

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  • EMS, I have been to my doctor and he send me to the physiotherapists. I touched my uppper back and conluded that "these muscles where like wires/strings" So he just recommended to go to a therapist. Can it be that I have Rheumatism?

  • Hard to say, but I'd think the doctor's you've seen could rule in/out that possibility.  There are specific blood tests they can run to see if it's Rheumatoid Arthritis or not.

    In the mean time, if I were in your shoes I would keep trying massage therapy.  The guy who does my back is able to get the muscles to calm down despite huge spasms.  It's strictly your call.  I am a huge believer that each individual must be in control of there own medical care.  Doctors are so busy that they simply can't remember everyone and what they are being treated for.  

    Best of luck! 

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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