Monday, March 29, 2010 KHoward347, Community Member, asks

Q: Upper back pain between shoulder blades along spine?

I have had a horrible pain in my upper left shoulder blade area for eight months now that radiates down into my mid and lower back on the left side. The pain started after a severe whiplash injury. My MRI and X-rays appear normal, and I have been evaluated by two chiropractors and two physical therapists. I've also seen a pain specialist who has given me steroid injections that have helped, but the pain is returning. The pain is worse when I sit.  Does this kind of pain ever go away or will I require surgery to treat it?

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Answers (6)
davidnewman, Community Member
11/ 7/10 6:41pm

I Have had the same problem started in the right shoulder blade area then it started moving to the other side. After three weeks it started moving down my lats both sides. I went to a physical therapist and they thought it was a rib out of place so they started trying to move my ribs and stretch me,all that did was transport the pain from mid back into my traps and now it feels like my whole body is stiff. i have to stretch every morning and every hour though out the day.It feels like there are rubber bands in my legs that are tightening its so painful to stretch my legs out mainly in my calf's when i stretch legs. My Neck so tight all the time feels like i cant move my head backwards and when i do my neck sounds like knuckles cracking. I have to wear a stimulator machine all day at my job or my back will lock up and they pain will get so bad i sweat and either fall asleep or throw-up 

davidnewman, Community Member
11/ 9/10 10:31pm

Have you fixed this problem?? i am now going on 7 months.

KHoward347, Community Member
11/ 9/10 11:33pm


I am going on 1 1/2 years now.... The pain has gotten a little better, but it is still there. I am no longer taking any more meds or seeing any docs for the pain. I went to a really awesome physical therapist who really encouraged me to strengthen my neck and back and keep them that way for the rest of my life. I try to do strengthening exercised every other day and when I actually comply the pain is a lot better... I am getting so used to it though. It is more of just a part of who I am... I have learned how to sit properly and to take frequent breaks from sitting... and to stretch and STRENGTHEN. I would say strengthening helped me the most...that and heat! It was REALLY bad in the beginning, I couldn't sleep because of the pain... but not it is a more subdued pain that I can feel... but it is not as "loud" as it was before..also try reading this book.. it is EXCELLENT for neck and back pain sufferers "8 Steps to a Pain Free Back: Remember when it didn't hurt" by: Esther Gokhale...


KHoward347, Community Member
11/ 9/10 11:37pm

also... please note, i never had the pain go anywhere else besides my neck and back, so I am not sure if we have a similar condition.... i can totally feel where you are coming from though... I am so sorry you have to endure this. I HATE PAIN!!!! But again, stay STRONG and STAY POSITIVE!  also, check out was a great resource for me to be able to connect and talk with people experiencing similar things as myself.  I will be praying for you David. May God bless you and give you the strength to endure this time of extreme hardship.

nick, Community Member
2/27/11 11:05pm

November 2010:


I started having the same symptoms out of nowhere, no injuries, no accidents, etc.

LIttle I know that this will be a long journey. I went to see a doctor and he spent 5 minutes with me prescribing pain killers and muscle relaxants. None of them worked.

I have pain in the neck radiating to middle finger (the finger pain is on and off) and lots of pain in the right shoulder blade next to the spine.


January 2011:


I went to see a chiropractor after hearing the miracles they can do ( I guess it works for some people). After 3 visits I started feeling even worse. Remember ifyou are not feeling comfortable stop seeing your choropractor. These techniques could very dangerous. All of the nerves from the brain to the body go through the neck, and the chiropractor is twisting this like he is doing his laundry. We did X-ray and nothing abnormal


Then next logical step was to see a professional, a Neurologist (they have no interest in doing a surgery as neurosurgeons, so it's a good starting point). We did MRI. It showed some little to mild disk bulge...normal wear and tear. No visible pinched nerves, etc. We did several tests with some electricity in my arm to test the nerve response in the root of C6 C7 nerves, all normal. However, they pain is still there. He told me that I should not feel such pain but I do, as KHoward pointed, nothing visible but present pain. So he told me take some more painkillers try PT.


March 2011:


I am in my 4 month. My life is on standby. I forgot what is "normal" and a day without pain. Several missed days at work and nice bills from the doctors. First thought in the morning is how bad it will be today. I do walk with painkillers in my pockets, trying not to take them as long as the pain is bearable.

Enrolled for Yoga classes (3weeks now), doing some swimming and jakuzzi. Hopefully something will help. Next step will be steroid shot probably. I still can't comprehend it, how if there is nothing visible on these scans we can all have pain.


I thought at 29 yrs I am young for this, but as Khoward is 23yrs old there are other people even in their teen age years. It's depressing...I did not see successfull story for now. Looks like these things are for life. I wait for the day I will wake up and this pain will go away.


Thanks for the book recommendation

KHoward347, Community Member
2/27/11 11:36pm


Hey there!


I am so sorry to hear you are going through this also.. and at 29 years old. It sucks, doesn't it!? I turn 25 in June... I guess it will be 2 years of the pain at that time. 


I did steroid injections... epidurals in my neck (x3)... They helped a little... they took the edge off the pain... so that's good. Also, I get trigger point injections in the muscles in my back to help with "knots"/sore spots that seem to roam about. They have helped a tremendous amount.


The good news for me is.. I really have learned to live with the pain and I am doing a lot better. It's NOT as bad as it used to be. So it will get better Nick. You can do this! I know it stinks... but it could be so much worse. I forget what a day without pain is like too... but I am pretty much healthy in every other aspect of my body.


A friend recommended two things to me that have helped a lot. Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar. Take 1-2 tbsp, 1-3 times a day (helped upper back pain a little... but it tastes pretty strong, so i would "chase" the vinegar "shot" with a grape juice kind of stopped taking it bc it tasted bad and was inconvenient to take, but i think it did help...its worth a try for you! Its cheap and it wont hurt to try it! Make sure it is Bragg' has "mother" in it, which is what you want... You can get it at health food stores.


Another thing that has been doing WONDERS lately (just started it 3 weeks ago) is DSF (De Stress Formula). They are multivitamins that you take 1-3 times a day with meals.. I can really feel a difference... which is weird bc I have tried many other meds/prescriptions... and these have seemed to help me the most with literally NO side effects, which is a GOD send!!!


Alrighty, well I should get going, but please message me if you have any other questions or anything else I could help you with!  Or if you just want to vent!!! I know EXACTLY what you are going through. Have hope in the fact that you are NOT alone!!!

God BLESS!!!


jackieb, Community Member
6/30/11 4:59pm

I have a similar problem, started in my lower back when I was 15 years old. After pregnancy at 25 y/o the pain in my mid and upper back became unbearable radiating to shoulders, hips and legs. An x-ray showed that my lumbar vertebrae had begun to fuse themselves causing my upper back to curve too much but my MRI didn't show significant nerve damage. I'm 18 months into my 2nd flare up and I finally found some info on a condition which includes all of these symptoms as well as others I didn't even know were related. Its called ankylosing spondylitis and it frequently begins in early adulthood. Talking to my Dr. about it next appointment.  Its frequently misdiagnosed because the symptoms vary from person to person. Worth checking into if you and your Dr. are stumped though.

jb237, Community Member
1/27/13 11:41pm
Hey, sorry to hear. Just a quick question - you mentioned a whiplash injury. We're you a passenger in a vehicle on the passenger side? Because same thing has happened to a family member of mine who was a passenger beside me and he is still in unbearable pain. I was able to brace myself partially with the starring wheel and while I did suffer with tingling, numbness, nausea for months it took about 3-4 years before the pain and numbness begin to subside. Reason I ask if you were a passenger is because of the right shoulder. My passengers pain is on the right side also. Mine was on the left. Reply
Amy Tudor, Editor
7/ 5/14 4:30pm

Hi there, KHoward --


I hope you're not still dealing with this issue. It sounds really painful and very frustrating!  Continuing to work with your doctors to find a solution is going to be your best course of action, since they will know the specifics of your condition and will have seen your scans and X-rays. This pain could be caused by a number of things - nerve damage, pinched nerves, disc problems in your back, or a variety of other conditions that can lead to this kind of chronic pain.  I hope you and your doctors are able to find a solution soon!


In the meantime, here is some information that might be helpful for you:


Music Therapy Can Relieve Pain

8 Conditions That Often Accompany Back Pain

10 Common Chronic Pain Myths


Best of luck to you!

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By KHoward347, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/02/14, First Published: 03/29/10