Upper back pain

Hi there,

In addition to all the other symptoms do any of you get chronic upper back pain? Mine is very right sided. It's a constant penetrating ache around the middle spine area, shoulder blade, shoulders and rib cage. If my partner massages me I am so sore to touch in between the ribs and bones. Sometimes it feels like my bones are sore too! 

I get this daily. One particular spot to the right of the back of my neck is excruciating to touch. I don't think this is just tension. It's quite debilitating and specific. 

I've read that lower back pain is more common for general complaint. 

Only thing that helps ease it is massage, and heat pads.. 

There is always something hurting with the joints or muscles or bones! I wouldn't say it stops me moving about but makes me moan consistently moving about. Often I get cramp like tightening in my back too. Not sure if you call them spasms? 

Can anyone relate?


10 Replies

  • I have used something called Bowen therapy which really helped with those sort of problems - very gentle for sore backs and better than massage in the long run. If it will help you'll know after 3 sessions - no change at all, no point continuing. The pain clinic here where I live diagnosed it as myofascial pain syndrome and deal with it very efficiently with steroid and muscle relaxant injections and manual mobilisation - but I don't live in the UK.

    Or it could be something called costochrondritis  - google it and have a look. Have you had any physiotherapy assessments?

  • Hi thank you. I will have a look at Bowen therapy. I don't think it's costochronditis it's very much spine area and upper back of neck spreading out to side ribs/shoulder blade. But I might read more about it to check. Thanks!

  • I had this symptom and discussed it with my pain specialist. Your description of your pain and the relief you get from the heat pads and massage sound the same as my experience. My pain doctor explained that this is quite common and diagnosed mine as para spinal inflammation. Non steroids anti-inflammatory medications are supposed to be effective but I can't take these. My doctor gave my a short course of low dose diazepam which really helped as it causes the muscles to relax. I'm guessing that breathing hurts too because you are using your muscles in your back to move your lungs? I made myself do some abdominal breathing to rest my upper back. This all happened to me last April and it was 3 weeks of the worst pain I've ever experienced so I'm so sorry to hear that you have this going on right now. Diazepam definitely did it for me but not all doctors are happy to prescribe it. Good luck and feel better soon!

  • It's not the kind of pain that I am screaming - although the collar bone/neck pain I get - is - that is excruciating and more so on inhaling. Last for few hours or so then relaxes. But the constant upper back pain is bearable but borderline.. Thank you for your response. I do feel like it's spinal inflammation sort of in my bones.. 

  • Can relate to everything u r saying . one of many things I have suffered over the years. But I do have periods where I have relief from this. Don't know y it stops don't know y it flares up again maybe the changes in medication. Do you sometimes feel that someone has there hands inside and is gently squeezing? I get that sensation sometimes.

  • Yes something like that - the squeezing.. Thank you for responding. I get some relief - maybe a day or two here and there randomly. Can't wait for my first rheumatologist appt! 

  • Hi Trueman,

    I have suffered with all sorts of neck and back pain my whole adult life. Definitely get it checked out. Don't be fobbed off either. You gave to emphasise how much pain you're in and hoe long it's been going on for. It needs properly assessing to diagnose what's causing it and getting the right treatment. I hope that happens for you as soon as possible x

  • I have chronic upper back pain and occasional lower back pain. I am currently going to physio weekly and it is slowly helping. My advice is to ask your GP for a referral to physio to get a proper assessment.

  • Thanks for the replies! Sorry late responding back.. 

    Despite all of your discomfort mentioned it's good to know that some of you know what I mean!! 

    I'm sure I'm getting quite stiff now as well in the upper back area. Things like lifting hairdryer above shoulder height is hard work at 41 I'm not sure it's supposed to be?! Turning side to side/twisting upper torso is pretty impossible..

    Or maybe getting old.. 

  • Hi...I have this down my right side of my back daily. I got to a chiropractor 2 x a week. I get a deep, sometimes painful massage once a week which loosens it up. I think it is somewhat fibro related.   I take a natural muscle supplement. It helps a lot. Tumeric is really helping me today. Lots of pain everywhere. 

    Hope you feel better. 

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