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Excruciating Middle Back Pain...For No Reason?!

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Old 12-13-2003, 04:22 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11
hamburger_helper HB User
Excruciating Middle Back Pain...For No Reason?!

Hi all,

A month ago, I experienced some pretty nasty back troubles. I couldn't determine a cause; I left for work one morning, and by the time I got out of my car, my back was killing me! I could walk OK, but any reaching or side-to-side movement was pretty much out of the question. That trouble subsided in about 2 days.

Two days ago, I started experiencing similar pain, though it took a bit longer to develop (wasn't intense the first day...more of a nuisance). This time, I was able to trace the start of the pain: when I stood straight up after brushing my teeth over the sink. It was more of an "ooh...that didn't feel good," and, like I said, it didn't really get bad until last night.

Last night, we went out to dinner, and I found myself having trouble cutting my meat; what a pain that was! Anyway, it was bearable until we left the restaurant. By the time I got outside, my entire torso was in excruciating felt like my spine was exploding! My abdominal muscles tightened, I had trouble was pretty scary.

Now it's a little better, though I didn't sleep too well. Rolling over hurt a lot, as did getting in and out of bed.

I've discovered a few things:

1. The pain is centrally located just to the right of the middle of my back, just below the shoulder blades.
2. I feel best when I'm on all fours - no real pain.
3. It hurts the most when I look down. Moving my neck in any other direction causes no pain whatsoever.
4. When I bite the bullet and look downward to stretch my back out, I can get it to feel significantly better for a few minutes.

Is this just a muscle spasm? Should I keep periodically stretching my back by tilting my head downward? That's what results in the most relief, even if it's only temporary.

I should add that I'm 25 years old, and don't have a history of serious back trouble - I would have the occasional lower backaches, but nothing like this.

Thanks for any advice you guys may be able to provide!


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Old 12-13-2003, 09:58 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 127
xavier213 HB User
Re: Excruciating Middle Back Pain...For No Reason?!

Hi and welcome. You sound just like me, we're the same age and I have the same exact problems with my back! I have had mine for almost 2 yrs now and no one has been able to figure out why or what is causing my pain, other than a slight curve in my upper back.

You are definitely having muscle spasms. Upper back ones feel like you're having a heart attack or at least an ashtama attack. I get the same thing, my heart races, my abs get tight, I can't breathe,etc. I also have noticed that I get mine when I look down. I'm doing PT for m back right now and part of it is to stretch my calfs. I did it one day while leaning againist a wall and looking down and almost died in pain from the spasms. I also have a lot of trouble lying down "flat" on my back. I can't do it at all.

I would suggest at least going to your primary care dr and getting it looked at. You might need to do some PT to build up some of your muscles. I find that stretching backwards really helps me a lot. I have to do stuff like that before bed otherwise I'm up all night with those spasms. Good luck and please keep us updated. I'm curious if you go to the dr what they say because my dr is a bit baffled by my pain when all the tests are coming back "normal".
chronic back & foot pain & now severe allergies! Just shoot me!!

Old 12-15-2003, 09:42 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 432
robste HB User
Re: Excruciating Middle Back Pain...For No Reason?!

First of all, you can experience excruciating back pain without having any earthly idea what may have caused it. Sometimes, just moving the wrong way can cause it...especially if you do not regularly exercise or stretch.

Get to your primary care physician. He or she should do a few simple tests such as have you lie flat on your back, tell you to relax your left (or right) leg,and then the dr. will lift it straight up. This is to see your range of motion and if there is any pain in your back when this is done.

If you have not "injured" your back from anything obvious, you may be having muscle spasms, or your hamstrings and back muscles could be very tight,and this causes lots of pain.

The first thing the dr. will probably do is to give you muscle relaxers to help relax your muscles, because I'm sure you're probably tensing up when moving because you anticipate that it will hurt. Possibly the dr. may give you some pain meds. too for when the pain gets real bad. They usually have you take the meds./relaxers for 1-2 weeks.

The dr. may also send you for an MRI to see if you could possibly have a bulging disk and/or x-rays to see if anything's wrong.

If nothing major is found, physical therapy can do wonders...after the bad pain is gone, exercise does help.

Nowadays, most doctors prescribe meds., stretching, exercise, and physical therapy instead of surgery for back very wary if surgery is even mentioned especially in the beginning.

Believe me, I understand what you're going thru...had the same sort of thing happen to me 3 years ago except with my lower back. My back muscles are weak, and my dr. told me I'll have to do stretches twice a day for the rest of my life if I want to avoid more problems. It's a small price to pay, and it really helps. Please let us all know what happens, and good luck to you.

Old 12-15-2003, 01:41 PM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11
hamburger_helper HB User
Re: Excruciating Middle Back Pain...For No Reason?!

Hi all,

First off, a big thank you for the replies. It makes me feel better knowing what's going on.

I went to the doctor today, and, sure enough, she knew immediately that I had a spasm in my back. She gave me some pain meds and some muscle relaxers. Basically it's the painkillers by day, muscle relaxers by night.

I did some stretching before bed last night, and it seemed to help me sleep (though the Tylenol PM probably had something to do with it, too ).

Thanks for the help and support, and I'll give an update in a week or so...

Take care,

Old 12-15-2003, 06:37 PM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: California USA
Posts: 58
larryp HB User
Re: Excruciating Middle Back Pain...For No Reason?!

H. Helper,
I have the same type of pain in my middle back that can be extremely painful at times and not too bad at other times. Sometimes it is hard to breath. I have had this problem for 37 years and in the last year it has been more aggravating than years past. I also have lower back and leg problems so the Neurosurgeon decided to order an MRI of the Thorasic (middle) spine to make sure the pain(problem) in my middle back wasn't causing the problems at the lower levels. As it turned out it wasn't causing the lower back problem but the MRI showed two disc herniations. I went to Chiropractors for years and every time they adjusted that area I would be in pain for weeks so I finally told them to leave that area alone. I also had PT and this aggravated the middle back. My Neuro Dr. won't touch this area as he says it is too risky (life threatening). I guess there are a few Surgeons in the country that do Thorasic Spine surgery.
Good Luck,
1990-Myelogram=L4-5 LAMINECTOMY.1998-Myelogram,Discogram,CTscan=L 4-5 FUSION w/BAK cages. 2002-Prolotherapy injections. 2003-April-MRI Lumbar spine=DDD,bulges,arthritis,low disc height,Physical Therapy.2003-May-MRI Thorasic spine=Two herniations displacing nerve roots.2003-July-Nerve blocks/epidurals; 2003-August-L5/S1 FORAMENOTOMY.2003-October-Lumbar Discogram=2003-December-L5/S1 FUSION w/BMP/LT cages. 2004-Jan-Pain much worse than before surgery. CTscan & L1/L2 nerve block & Myelogram.

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