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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: thoracic back pain tenderness for 6 mths

 darkestdays30 - Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:13 am

I have this pain/tenderness in my thoracic spine (6 mths), started out hurting upon waking up, & it would be so bad, I couldn't go back to sleep and would have to get up to keep it from getting any worse, after awhile being awake, the pain would improve. Exercise or bending over makes the pain worse. It is now constant & won't go away. Sleeping still increases the pain. New mattresses not helpful. Putting ice on it just aggitates the tenderness increasing the pain.

It's down in my spine about to the point where you could reach back there with your hand & it's sore to the touch. The pain pulls upward usually into my left shoulder, neck, jaw, & I think it may be causing the cheek pain & headaches also. I've had tingling in my back, back of head, legs. Occassional numbness in neck & face. Twitching in my back. Pain esp with walking goes into my left chest & causes shortness of breath.

The pain is not severe but occassionally can be. It's very hard for me to believe it could be anything serious like a slipped disc/pinched nerve, I did nothing to hurt my back. Could muscle strain bring on these symptoms? My dr did not try treating it, no physical exam or tests & blamed it on my mattresses. That wasn't very helpful.
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:28 pm

User avatar Hello,
This sounds like a trigger point in the mid thoracic paraspinal muscles.

Treatment for trigger points include:
    corticosteroid injection
    hot and/or cold modalities
    deep tissue massage
    anti inflammatory medication

So there are lots of options.

Your family physician can recommend any of these and make appropriate referrals or you may see a physiatrist who specializes in rehab medicine.

Take care.
 candy1land - Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:19 pm


When I first read this I thought I had written it myself. I have been struggling with this dull, achy mid-thoracic back pain for almost a year now.

I was a former professional weight lifter who specialized in olympic and power lifts and for many years I did repetitive motions with heavy weights. Fast forward to now - I'm in my upper 30's and about 7-8 months ago I started waking up in the morning with a dull achy and very uncomfortable pain and stiffness in my mid-thoracic region of my back. I did not injure this area and I hadn't been exercising either. I was slightly over my ideal body weight but still active.

At first I thought I'd just give it a month to resolve itself and the stiffness and achy feelings just got worse in the early morning hours. I would have to get out of bed and then I would get relief, along with a hot shower. I went to the chiropractor for 6 months and got no relief which was unusual because I've had a lot of success with chiropractic. I started stretching and doing pilates. No relief. I used heat and ice and ice didn't help much either. My posture was my next focus and those muscles around that area really struggled to maintain posture for long periods of time.

Then I went to my physician. We tried muscle relaxers and ibuprofen - they did nothing. She did regular x-rays and they came out normal. She suggested physical therapy and/or massage therapy and that's when I started actively working out again doing pilates, cycling and stretching. I have lost weight and it hasn't helped. I bought a very expensive tempur pedic bed and pillows. Didn't help.

I am quite familiar with the anatomy of this area and my thinking is that since the only thing that gives me relief is getting out of bed and taking a hot shower that it's a soft tissue problem. Massage therapy and heating pads are next on my list and I have a started a regimen of nutritional supplements as well that I hope offer some relief since muscle relaxers and ibuprofen don't work.

I don't have any other symptoms to speak of other than this dull achy uncomfortable stiffness in the morning and then later in the day going into the night. Any suggestions as to what type of problem this may be? Arthritis? Inflammatory process? I have not done an MRI yet, that was my doctor's next tool but I am going to wait until I try massage therapy. I'm just trying to avoid more doctor bills if I can figure it out on my own. So far nothing has helped and it's truly frustrating to be in pain every day.



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