Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Upper Back pain and inability to breath - how to get this diagnosed ??

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 3 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • February 20, 2010
  • 00:00 AM

This is a problem that I've had for some time.... I've had some x-rays done in the past... however all the doctor said was "oh, you also have
some arthritis in your upper back". I was too trusting at the time and didn't realize that you agressively have to ask the right questions to
try to get an accurate diagnosis.

So, I want to try to get a good sequence of tests to figure out what the
problem is. Unfortunately, this is on a cash basis, so I just can't place
myself in the care of a practitioner who can't make the diagnosis but will
only refer me from speciailist to speciailist, until my money or patience
wears out... (anyone been there ??)

So here goes... hope someone can offer advice

Symtoms -

Upper back pain and stiffness, inability to expand upper
chest to breathe normally. Thoracic region, between the shoulder
blades. I'm literally gasping to breath.

Pain and discomfort is constant.... becomes worse with exercise.

Symptoms are alleviated when I lay down and strech my back out using a pillow or a hard curved surface placed mid- shoulder blade across the back. Symptoms immediately return when standing upright.

Range of Motion in upper back is good and free arm movement, I can rotate backwards, forward, do thoracic twists and bends. Occasionally I can feel my thoracic spine creak when stretching.

No pain or problems with cervical spine or lumbar. No nerve impingement,
no tingling, no sensations....

Very active doing aerobics, stepping, walking, weight lifting.

Mitigating factors... I'm about 40 pounds overweight 195 pounds on a 5'8" frame.... most of the weight is around the waist. . I think the weight is definitely a mitigating factor and am working to reduce it.

However the symptoms are definitely in the thoracic region of the spine, might also be muscle related.

Inability to breath is definitely caused by the back problem... as lungs
are clear, and, when lying down, with back stretched out... everything
seems normal.


#1
Would getting an exam from an orthropedic doctor be a first step ??

#2
I have a place who does thoracic x-rays, but need a doctor's order to
get these done. Is it possible to obtain a doctor's order without being
under the direct care of a doctor ???

#3
Should I be seeing a specialist to check for posture alignment or sclerosis.
What are these type of specialist called ??? Are they the same as orthropeadic doctors ????

#4

I'm trying to determine if the problem would be corrected with more
exercise and stretching... as I sleep on my back...perhaps the problems
are caused by not moving enough ???

#5

Would taking an OTC NSAID such as ibuprofen or naproxen be beneficial.
I understand there are recommendations AGAINST taking these medications for a long period of time.


Any advice would be helpful.... Any idea of what this could be ???
Your suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated....

Mike V

Reply Flag this Discussion

3 Replies:

  • Mike - Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a chronic, inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine. If it is localized in the thoracic vertebre it can cause costovertertebral joint changes that limit chest expansion . . . making it difficult to breath. Please consider seeing a Rheumatologist, they are the specialists that are best trained to offer diagnosis and treatment for AS. Best of luck to you,-EZkeeper
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 28, 2010
    • 06:56 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Symtoms - Hi Mike "I have the same as below, it inpinges on my breathing, although it seems my symptoms follows yours, are better w/ movement, maybe mine are less severe." Upper back pain and stiffness, inability to expand upperchest to breathe normally. Thoracic region, between the shoulderblades. I'm literally gasping to breath. "I'm FIFTY lbs overweight and most in abdomen, i also have abdiminal rectis, that is NOT the correct name but close, its when the middle of your abdominal muscles seperate!!! If you did a slow sit up you would see a bulge, straight down your abdomen. My chest x-ray showed degeneration in that area, I have to see my internist and he will probably refer me to a rhuemy." Mitigating factors... I'm about 40 pounds overweight 195 pounds on a 5'8" frame.... most of the weight is around the waist. . I think the weight is definitely a mitigating factor and am working to reduce it. However the symptoms are definitely in the thoracic region of the spine, might also be muscle related. Inability to breath is definitely caused by the back problem... as lungsare clear, and, when lying down, with back stretched out... everythingseems normal. "Have you seen a physician yet in any capacity?? Please lets keep each other posted, this does not seem to be a commen place for back-pain." "I'm 47 caucasian female" Please reply,georgie
    georgie430 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • This is a problem that I've had for some time.... I've had some x-rays done in the past... however all the doctor said was "oh, you also havesome arthritis in your upper back". I was too trusting at the time and didn't realize that you agressively have to ask the right questions totry to get an accurate diagnosis. So, I want to try to get a good sequence of tests to figure out what theproblem is. Unfortunately, this is on a cash basis, so I just can't place myself in the care of a practitioner who can't make the diagnosis but willonly refer me from speciailist to speciailist, until my money or patience wears out... (anyone been there ??) So here goes... hope someone can offer advice Symtoms - Upper back pain and stiffness, inability to expand upperchest to breathe normally. Thoracic region, between the shoulderblades. I'm literally gasping to breath. Pain and discomfort is constant.... becomes worse with exercise. Symptoms are alleviated when I lay down and strech my back out using a pillow or a hard curved surface placed mid- shoulder blade across the back. Symptoms immediately return when standing upright. Range of Motion in upper back is good and free arm movement, I can rotate backwards, forward, do thoracic twists and bends. Occasionally I can feel my thoracic spine creak when stretching. No pain or problems with cervical spine or lumbar. No nerve impingement,no tingling, no sensations.... Very active doing aerobics, stepping, walking, weight lifting. Mitigating factors... I'm about 40 pounds overweight 195 pounds on a 5'8" frame.... most of the weight is around the waist. . I think the weight is definitely a mitigating factor and am working to reduce it. However the symptoms are definitely in the thoracic region of the spine, might also be muscle related. Inability to breath is definitely caused by the back problem... as lungsare clear, and, when lying down, with back stretched out... everythingseems normal. #1Would getting an exam from an orthropedic doctor be a first step ?? #2I have a place who does thoracic x-rays, but need a doctor's order toget these done. Is it possible to obtain a doctor's order without beingunder the direct care of a doctor ??? #3Should I be seeing a specialist to check for posture alignment or sclerosis.What are these type of specialist called ??? Are they the same as orthropeadic doctors ???? #4 I'm trying to determine if the problem would be corrected with moreexercise and stretching... as I sleep on my back...perhaps the problemsare caused by not moving enough ??? #5 Would taking an OTC NSAID such as ibuprofen or naproxen be beneficial.I understand there are recommendations AGAINST taking these medications for a long period of time. Any advice would be helpful.... Any idea of what this could be ???Your suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated.... Mike VHi Mike, Without question, your ailments can be solved by dedicating time to yoga. Calisthetics only inhibit the body from making fluid movements. Also, pain and over-exertion strain and deprive the body of much needed oxygen - an important component to your body's first aid kit. Do some research Mike, take it seriously and don't get to discouraged early on. Your body has limitations and you have to adhere to them. Keep in mind that a few months from your starting point, you will have progressed not only physically but mentally and spiritually. It sounds like you are desperate need of an answer. It's yoga. Best of luck Mike and don't fret; this soon will pass.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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