New pain in mid back and also top of arms at shoulders

by Cynthia Lundie
(San Pedro CA)



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» New pain in mid back and also top of arms at shoulders

I am 62. I weigh 213 and I know I need to lose weight. I just got my results from the thoracic, lumbar and cervical x-rays that were done two days ago and they said there are extensive arthritic degenerative changes to all the disks throughout my back - no advanced problems beyond that at this point.

I got these x-rays done because I had new pain in my mid back right at where a bra strap would be. I've never had mid back pain before. I've had neck problems and cervical bone spurs, and 30 years ago I had lumbar pain and a laminectomy, but no lower back troubles since then.

At the same time of the new mid back pain I also had sudden pain at the top of my arms right at the shoulder but on the arm every time I would lift my arm or try to rotate them. At first I thought it was because I had done something to hurt my arm but then why would happen in both arms at the same time when I've never had this problem?

I did start a new healthier living program a month ago - starting to walk 20 minutes a day and want to increase to 45 minutes or an hour. I'm also following healthier eating diet including some of the suggestions you have on your site such as legumes, seeds, salmon, lean poultry, veggies and greens, sourdough bread (I have heartburn), hummus, avocado, etc. I love those foods so that hasn't been hard.

I also started to stretch and saw an exercise on TV where you stand against a wall, holding a T-shirt between your hands about two feet apart, your arms straight against the wall and up above your head, and then pull the t-shirt in opposite directions like a tug-a-war between your two arms. I was doing that every morning it did feel good but now I can't lift my arms or rotate them with the pain in the two pain at the top of each arm, and loss of range of motion in my arms without pain.

Again the mid-back pain right on my spine, and soreness in the muscles just to the left and right, also developed at the same time and when I turned over in bed the other night I had such a horrible crink/muscle twist in one of the muscles right there that I was in pain for three hours and couldn't move; I've never had that in my life! It was a muscle on the left side under my ribs at the bra strap level or slightly lower.

Is any of that related? Did I hurt my mid back and upper arms with the stretching exercise? My neck seems worse as well with "grating sand" sounds when I turn my head, muscle stiffness and/or pain radiating onto the back of my head, and if I sit slouched, or on a hard chair (for instance a folding chair at a meeting), or wear a new pair of flats, it can make these symptoms worse with my cervical problems.

Please help with some advice - I want to get healthier but I don't want to hurt myself doing it !

Hello Cynthia,
It's great that you've made the decision to become healthier; unfortunately obesity, pain and pills or kindred spirits.

You've made a great start on the dietary side; rather than go over the top, just decide to keep at it. Don't think of it as a diet, but rather a new way of living, and as you say you love those foods. If you have a sensitive tum, avoid all breads and rolls at supper time.

You've added in great new foods; now trying taking out the refined starches, and I guarantee you'll get below 200 pounds; white rice is top of the list of highly glycemic foods; avoid it at all costs.

It sounds to me that indeed you have strained your shoulders and back with the new t-shirt exercise; not a bad routine, mind you, but too much, too quickly I suspect. Rather do our shoulder routine that you'll find below; they're less stressful.

As far as your midback is concerned, you've probably strained a rib head or one of those degenerative arthritic joints. Remember any exercise program, or weight loss for that matter, should reduce your pain and inflammation, not increase it! Don't go like a bull at a gate because it's just not sustainable and you'll make yourself miserable.

Consider cycling and swimming rather than upping your hiking too much; you probably already have the beginnings of arthritis in the knees, most obese folk do, and you'll just give yourself knee pain.

Have a massage or two, do some of those gentler exercises and if it's not improving you'd better start looking for a local chiropractor.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B



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» New pain in mid back and also top of arms at shoulders

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