Upper back pain: I've had discomfort in the... - Arthritis Action

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Upper back pain


I've had discomfort in the upper apart of my spine for about a month and a half now. I'm finding that I'm starting to feel in more now . I'm very uncomfortable when I try to sleep during the night . Who's the best doctor to see about this ? My GP or a rheumatologist? I'm finding that the loner I'm on my feet the worse it gets. So far my arthritis has been horrible this winter so far. Doctors have yet to find anything to help me. Would like some suggestions to to the pain in my upper spine though. Who else is having the same problem in there spin? Thanks J. D.Quinn

18 Replies

Hi JD, I think a rheumatologist. Doctors are limited in some areas.

I'm in the states right now, but will go again to a specialist when back in England.

I had imaging done on my lumbar region, and it came back clear. I don't understand it - maybe arthritis can't be detected in this way? Chronic pain is always with me. So I'll yet again have it checked out - a never-ending cycle of confusion.

Take care as always - Sookie

Sunnyspells in reply to Hidden

I had the same and went to my doctor who organised X-rays, and said he didn't think it was the RA. I have two compression fractures in my spine, probably due to weakening of the bones from 6 years of steroids. They are not very serious, and apparently will heal in about 2 months, but please get it checked out

I've already been diagnosed with oa . Back in. 2015 I was diagnosed with it. I have been to the rheumatologist since then. It's very uncomfortable tho. .

JDQuinn75 in reply to Hidden

It's never ending once it starts.

JDQuinn75 in reply to Hidden

Sookiedee, I had thought about going back to the rheumatologist I went to a couple of years ago. My GP that I had at the time referred me to him to see what kind of arthritis I have. I've only been to home twice. That's when he did x-rays on both of my hips as was as my right shoulder. Going one the 4th year of having oa and I'd have to say it's awful. I just hope I don't start feeling it in my neck . Having both ra and oa run in both sides of my family. Both of my grandfathers had both form of arthritis. So I suspect that eventually I'll end up with RA. My dad has ra and psoriasis. His arthritis did hit him as early as it hit me. He was in his late 40s to early 50s before he started having trouble with it. Why this has started on me before I'm 50 I don't know. I'm not liking it though.

Mine was agony, couldn't lift my arms above about waist height and couldn't lie on my back at all. Hope you find out what it is and that it gets better quickly

Sunnyspells, I'm hoping mine won't get any worse than it is now. With me already having days that are worse than others,, let me just say I'm hoping for the best. I'm doing everything I can possibly do to keep myself comfortable. Sometimes it helps other days it doesn't. But I think I'm going to have to make a trip to the rheumatologist again. He'll probably xrayed me to see what going on. I'm sure it has to do with my arthritis tho. Anymore I seem to get new symptoms., this is the newest for me. So what next? I already have it in my hands, feet, knees and shoulders and possibly in my hip. Plus having pain in the lower back as well. Like I said what's next?


I agree, I think arthritis travels throughout the body. NO ONE in my family had arthritis until their 70's so this really is a one off for me. Chronic pain is the PITS.

Arthritis affect people differently. I wasn't really prepared to have to start dealing with this when it started on my when I was 37 . I was just a few months away from turning 38 when I started noticing symptoms in my hands. Now goingon42 in September this year it's progressed quite a bit in the past couple of years. 2014 is when I noticed the symptoms in my feet, by the time 2015 got here it was in my knees, shoulders elbow and the pain was also in my hip and lower back. That's pretty much the time line on how might even has progressed. I believe I also have siaticia nerve compression as well on my right side. I see my doctor for my yearly in March. So I'll ask him what he thinks I should do. He'll most likely tell me I need to go back to the rheumatologist. I know I can keep feeling this way for the rest of my life. The fatigue is awfully when it hit me as well . It just drains me. Well Sookiedee I'm about to call it a night have a good evening and try to stay pain free from your arthritis. It's hell know. Jason


Well, Jason, you have been pretty darn strong dealing with it all and I commend you. So sorry about the fatigue and everything else you must endure.

I find my right shoulder and going down the arm could be some sort of nerve compression which is a new sensation. It's so unfair when the body turns against you and very difficult not to feel bitter.

I hope you can receive some new and helpful advice in March which may be encouraging.

Take care, Sookie

JDQuinn75 in reply to Hidden

Oh I know Sookiedee, This week has been miserable for me. My hadst have been hurting like hell and they still are while I type this message to you. But the discomfort in my back I seem to feel more in the upper part of my spine. I know I've said this before but I'm going to say it again. I fear for the worst. What's going to happen gets really bad? The meds I've tried haven't helped me. My siaticia nerve is acting up tonight in my lower back through my buttocks on the right side and down the leg. I could go on and on with all I'm feeling right now. Days like this I feel like doing nothing. I'm sure you feel the same when you feel awful as well. This keeps me from doing the things I like to do on my free time. Staying in on the days I want to go out but don't because of my arthritis. I feel like it's controlling me. J. D. Quinn

I went to my GP with exactly this problem, severe pain at the top of my spine, the pain radiating down either arm, it was agony. My GP told me I had pulled a muscle and gave me gel. I paid to go private, had x-rays and an MRI. I had severe problem with my discs and had a bone fusion operation. Since then I've been pain free. I may have had a bad experience, but GP'S aren't experts !

marmalade-mad, I've been feeling this for almost two months now. One thing I don't need is to find out my back needs to have a fusion as well and put me out of work. I'm not real sure who I should go to about this. It seems since my arthritis started on me starting with the hands, as each year passes another part of me starts to hurt. I'm in my early 40s. At the rate I'm going now with this I'll probably have to have a fusion tho. It's been very painful this winter, my arthritis has. But I have a feeling it's starting to get aggressive. But I need to find a doctor that will listen to me and act like they care and not just shrug off what I'm telling them. That's the feeling I got with the rhumy I went to in 2015. That's when I found out it was oa that I have . I didn't care for him at all. But I think it's more than just OA. J.D. Quinn

Check your enviroment. I had shoulder pain and was about to go to the doctor, when I discovered that there was an AC unit in the light fitting over my desk. I had the air directed along the ceiling in stead of straight down and then exercised away the pain. Exercise has been found to be better at reducing pain than pain killers.

It is not the only time my OA has been triggered by cold not bad enough to notice or do anything about. I am now super vigilant.

Knees and toes, My environment is fine. I'll probably be making a visit to the rheumatologist again soon. I don't really want to but at this point I don't think I have a choice at this point right now. I stay pretty active everyday and rest when I need to do to my arthritis.

I had severe pain across my upper back too which radiated down the backs of both my arms. The pain was horrendous and I also found sleeping impossible. I never really found anything particular that helped to reduce the pain until I started on a biologic in December. I am now almost pain free in my upper back. Diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in Oct but earlier x rays showed degenerative changes in my thoracic spine, although they haven't diagnosed OA. I just turned 40 and, like you, can't believe this is happening to me! Wish I could give you some better advice. Try to get yourself a good consultant. I had to change consultant after being unhappy with my initial consultation, and now have an amazing one. She very quickly arranged for various investigations, figured out my diagnosis and got me started on the right treatment. Has made a world of a difference to me to get alot of the old "me" back again. Hope you manage to get some relief soon.

Mhairi54, all mine started in my late 30s I was just shy of turning 38 when it started on me. Now turning 42 in September . Mine isn't to the point yet for being unbearable just uncomfortable right now. I'm uncomfortable all over anymore. It started in my hands in 2013 them my feet by 2014. By 2015 it started in my shoulders , elbows and lower back. Now the upper part of my spine. It's been hell the last 4 years. Still year to find a pain killer or one that will ease it some.

Mhairi54 in reply to JDQuinn75

Here's hoping they find some soon.

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