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Doctor insights on: Sudden Sharp Upper Back Pain

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Dr. Praveen Mambalam
469 Doctors shared insights

Thoracic (Upper Back) Strain (Definition)

Discomfort or pain in the back at the level of the rib cage to the neck. Although upper back pain is not as common as lower back pain, the causes are often the same and include muscle strain or irritation (most common), injury to the spine leading to slipped disc or degeneration, or the pinching of a nerve in the back. ...Read more


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Sharp upper back pain on the left side when breathing deeply started after cycling It took more than 15 minutes until the pain disappeared...?

Sharp upper back pain on the left side when breathing deeply started after cycling It took more than 15 minutes until the pain disappeared...?

Upper back pain: The pain that you describe is typical of an inflamed rib head as it inserts into the spine. Anti-inflammatory medications, stretching and massage can help. Apply ice at night and moist warm heat in the morning. Chiropractors are helpful with this problem. Injection of the rib head with a cortisone shot is another treatment option. If the pain persists then a thoracic MRI scan is warranted.

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I have sharp upper back pain, that radiates all the way through my chest randomly throughout the day. I am only 22 years old, what could cause this?

I have sharp upper back pain, that radiates all the way through my chest randomly throughout the day. I am only 22 years old, what could cause this?

Chest pain: May be pleuritis, given your age and asthma issues. May be costochondritis, a very common problem also in your age group. Less common, but more ominous is cardiac pain--get that one checked asap.

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What causes sharp upper back pain when taking a deep breath?

What causes sharp upper back pain when taking a deep breath?

Several things: It could be from a cracked rib or inflamed rib joint. A blood clot caught in the lungs can do this. Irritation of the lung lining can do it too. If you are having trouble catching your breath, call your doctor or go to an urgent care or emergency room.

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I caught a breath taking sharp upper back pain in my left side that shot to my abd in the same spot can it be a spasm? On hurts on deep breath

I caught a breath taking sharp upper back pain in my left side that shot to my abd in the same spot can it be a spasm? On hurts on deep breath

It could be: The doctors who ordered your test would have the best idea, since the considered most of the options. Would obviously also consider things in your upper belly on the left side, since your diaphragm, a dome shaped muscle under your lung, flattens during a deep breath, and pushes on the contents of your upper abdomen.

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My daughter woke up Today with sharp upper back pain and shoulder pain. It hurts whenever she is bending down or coughing. What Can it be?

My daughter woke up Today with sharp upper back pain and shoulder pain. It hurts whenever she is bending down or coughing. What Can it be?

Rib/vertebral dysf: Sounds like rib or vertebral dysfunction. Must rule out lung or other serious problem, but key may be pain w/bending. Ribs/vertebrae can get 'locked' for seemingly no reason-even during sleep & hurt w/coughing or certain movements. A good history & physical incl hands-on osteopathic exam may be the best way to find the cause. Osteopathic manipulation can free them & relieve the pain.

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I get upper back pain between my shoulders. It feels sharp. I get it when I workout and when I have to carry something for awhile. What could it be?

I get upper back pain between my shoulders. It feels sharp. I get it when I workout and when I have to carry something for awhile. What could it be?

Upper back pain: This very well could be muscular and a sign of either muscle strain or spasm or even a pinched nerved. It would be important to know how long this has been occurring, is it getting worse and have you tried any over the counter meds like Ibuprofen or Naprosyn (naproxen)

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I can't sleep having sharp chest and upper back pain?

Chest, back pain: Please make an appointment to see a medical doctor to discuss your chest and upper back pain and insomnia. A good history and physical exam can help rule out anything serious such as cardiac disease and the doctor can advise as to pain treatment. Often young women suffer from breast cyst pain and muscle/skeletal strain syndromes.

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I have middle and upper back pain with sharp chest pains. What caused this and how do I treat it?

Chest pains: Pain in your chest is a serious medical condition. It is always a red flag and appointment with your pcp is warranted. Rec.: see your pcp for further investigation. Take care.

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What can cause sharp intense upper back pain radiating down left arm?

See below: You have symptoms which could be serious and should see your physician. He/she will listen to you, do a physical examinarion, run some tests, and let you know what's going on.

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What would cause one sharp deep pain in chest to the left of sternum? No other symptoms. Chronic upper back pain.

Depends: To answer this question, we like to know the duration of this pain, the nature, provoking factors and relieving factors. Causes can be due to muscle strain, heart disease, lung disease, infections, tumors, esophageal spasms, blood clots, etc. Get checked out!

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I have had sharp shooting chest pains both side accompanied by upper back pain between shoulder blades. Sometimes worse by breathing why is this?

I have had sharp shooting chest pains both side accompanied by upper back pain between shoulder blades. Sometimes worse by breathing why is this?

Discuss with MD: You need an evaluation, it could be nothing but will need an evaluation and good physical exam, to rule out heart or lung causes. In your age group it is most likley musculoskeletel, but still warrants an evaluation.

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I have chest pain and upper back pain who wake up me at night every night, the pain is sharp and last a long time. Can it be heart related?

I have chest pain and upper back pain who wake up me at night every night, the pain is sharp and last a long time. Can it be heart related?

Chest: It is very possible that that those complaints could be related to the heart as well as possibly the aorta which is the tube that comes from the heart and delivers blood to the remainder of your body, this is probably something that you should get checked with your family doctor and move further if necessary

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46y.o. female upper back pain when food enters stomach. Sharp/stabbing/severe. Happens 97% of time. Started 30 hours ago. What do u think it is?

46y.o. female upper back pain when food enters stomach. Sharp/stabbing/severe. Happens 97% of time. Started 30 hours ago. What do u think it is?

Gallstone/pancreas: The most likely explanation is pancreatic problems or gallstones, but there are other possibilities like gastritis, duodenal ulcer, GERD or even esophagitis. If pt takes a lot of ibuprofen it could be NSAID gastritis. If fever or vomiting go to ER otherwise call your doctor to be seen as soon as possible, e.g tomorrow AM. If there is a fam history of aneurysm the aorta should be checked. GI virus?

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I quit smoking 2 weeks ago after 30 yrs. No coughing (!) and a little cranky. But upper back pain (not sharp) behind my shoulder blade. Is this normal?

Congratulations: So glad to hear that you are smoke free! The back pain is not likely related, especially since you are not coughing. Please get checked by a doc. Don't let it become a conscious or unconscious way to slip back into your old habit. You are getting better with each passing day. Peace and good health!

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What causes upper back pain and left chest pain around the same area. Steady sharp pain from area left chest to To same distance straight to upper back? Feels like a pinch when I'm moving

What causes upper back pain and left chest pain around the same area. Steady sharp pain from area left chest to To same distance straight to upper back? Feels like a pinch when I'm moving

Many possible, r/oMI: Various issues can yield left chest pain radiating into the upper back. First you need an EKG to rule out a myocardial infarction, as it can present in the manner you're describing, but is usually, but not always, accompanied by chest heaviness, shortness of breath, sweats, and left arm or neck pain. A chest xray will show wether is it pneumonia or maybe just a sprained pec muscle

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What would cause 1 sharp, 5 second, deep pain in chest to the left of sternum? No other symptoms. Chronic upper back pain. Fear cardiac. PCP says heart ok

Muscular?: Often, sharp, brief pains in the chest are due to strained ligaments or joints In chest wall where rib joins to breast bone, called costochondritis. When you bend, turn, deep breathe, or cough this can cause brief stabbing pain. Usually heat to area and Advil or aleve (naproxen) can help. If pain continues to occur, or gets worse, or you get short of breath or other symptoms, see doctor again. Good luck!

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Ok have bad upper back pain?

Ok have bad upper back pain?

PT: Was probably just muscle pain. I would recommend you get into a formal course of physical therapy along with anti-inflammatory medications. This should do the trick.

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