pain in middle of back

Hi to you all I have TA and now on 15mg pred.

I sometimes have a pain that begins in the left middle of my back that grows in intensity and spreads up to my jaw and la sts about 30 mins until it begins to ease. After my last episode my gp took bloods to check esr etccand had an ecg after which the gp sent me to hospital where I had another ecg and blood test for blood clot. All were clear. I read a post from a lady who had the same symptoms and eventually had op to repair aorta she has gca.

I dont know if I should be as worried as I am. I told my gp about this lady and he said tell my rheumy in april when I see her again. I j u st dont know how hard to push this.

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  • That's weird. I only have PMR but get what I call "spasms" every so often that sound like yours. For the last year or so, they were approx. every 6 weeks but recently I have had 3 in just a few weeks. I can get relief from the tightening pain with paracetamol, but if I can't take those, it can last up to an hour. I find that the pain usually starts in my upper back on the left and moves around to my left breast/rib cage and also in my jaw and sinuses below my eye. I have never mentioned it to any doctor. Do you think I should?

  • Hi Suzy - I'm wondering if perhaps the same investigation as I suggested to laurMay above may be helpful to you as well just in case you have an element of undiagnosed GCA involved with your PMR?

  • Thank Celtic. I have managed to get an appointment with Dr. Hughes in 4 weeks so I will ask him.

  • Hi suzy I would mention it to your gp. I was concerned when I read the post from that lady so it was good to talk to my gp. I'm just back from seeing him and he's checking out the possibility of ulcers. At least I've started getting answers I'm dreading the next episode of pain.

  • laurMay, it may be that you have GCA affecting not just the temporal artery ("TA"), but also that one or more of the larger arteries in the body may be affected. Everyone diagnosed with GCA is at a small risk of an aortic aneurism and, therefore, should have a routine X-ray or ultrasound every year, both during and after steroid treatment, to rule this out. Apart from this, has your pain only appeared at the lower doses (I assume you started on 40-60mg of Pred)? If so, perhaps you could trying increasing the dose back up for a while to see if this pain resolves. It is possible for the ESR and CRP blood test results to lag behind the symptoms.

  • Hi celtic pain began just before diagnosis last year. As of monday esr & crp are normal and gp s ays that rules out gca so hes considering a gastric problem.

  • Sometimes it doesn't go back up again, especially while you are still on pred, but it doesn't mean there isn't some problem due to the GCA.

    I found this a few days ago

    The Diagnosis and Treatment of Giant Cell Arteritis

    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

    and I do think it wouldn't hurt a few UK doctors to read it. Above all they emphasise that temporal arteritis and GCA should not be used as synonyms - and also comment on the incidence of arterial problems in the first year post diagnosis. All ignored in the UK in my experience.

    Last year sometime I asked one of the top PMR/GCA rheumies about the increase in cardiovascular events in the first year after diagnosis of GCA and was told "It is still a very small risk" The Germans don't appear to think so and mention problems I have never come across in reading UK/US articles.

    I'm not saying this to scare anyone - but I do wish they'd take us just a bit more seriously sometimes.

  • My blood tests are good but I took a Pet-scan in january and still got inflammation in my aorta. My GP told me that the scan is more sensitive than blood test

  • Hi evafel

    How is your inflamed aorta being treated?

  • hello everyone. I had undiagnosed pmr for 4 months and in the last week pre diagnosis i developed a dreadful pain just to the left of my sternum just under my breast. when i was diagnosed and started taking preds the pain went and so i thought it was part of the pmr pain. however, over the 2 years i have had pmr i had this pain that would come on for no apparent reason. The pain is very severe and lasts for 1 minute or so and then following that i absolutely can not touch the bone under my left breast for at least 3 days although the initial pain has died down considerably.

    I get this pain about 4 /5 times a year and following my last bout which literally happened when i turned over in bed! i took myself along to the local minor injuries unit. They gave me an extensive medical including an ecg, and i left with the diagnosis of costocondritis. the dr said that the condition was probably triggered by the pmr and would probably reoccur all the time my pmr was active.

    The unit's dr was lovely and really sympathised with pmr patients, saying that it is a horrible, horrible condition and a condition that appears to trigger other conditions to either reactivate or bring on. How true this is i don't know. However, i do remember in 1989 i was repairing our side path and i lifted up a paving slab that strained my sternum and this damage and pain was with me for 2 or so months and i have during the passing years never suffered from this injury again. but as i said 2 weeks pre diagnosis this pain appeared that i suppose could be attributed to this past injury?

    I now refer to this current pain talked about in the above thread. I have not suffered from this pain that originates from my back but i have a pain that originates from my liver position area that migrates up my chest to my jaw / teeth. the pain is quite severe but only lasts for about a minute. It only happens whilst i'm in bed and never experienced this pain pre pmr. in 2 years i have experienced this about 5 times. I again have never mentioned this to my gp as i also have a diagnosis of non alcoholic fatty liver and thought that this pain could be when my bile duct is clogged? I am being monitored for this also with a ultra sound appointment expected very soon.

    I think the problem for many of us is that since our gca/pmr diagnosis we are experiencing all manner of twangs, pangs, aches and pains that only occur intermittently and so feel stupid visiting out gp's and saying 'oh by the way i experienced the most most dreadful pain in my .......... but i'm fine now'

    All the best, Tina

  • My doc says mine -same as yours including jaw- is wind. So I slug back a couple of swigs of very fizzy drink which I keep specially for this and have a good burp and it is gone - voila!

    Doc says my oesophagus goes into spasm hence intense pain.

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