Click here to find out more about how AskDr works for doctors
1

Experiencing pain in the upper left back

Started with a stiff neck, kept working out without letting it settle. Pain has persisted for over 3 weeks now. Initially, range of motion of the neck was limited due to stiff neck. That issue has since improved drastically, almost back to normal, slight discomfort at the extreme ranges of motion. Pain is best described as an aching pain that manifests in several areas: sometimes in the pectorals, elbows, or traps, as well as the general upper left back areas, all on the left side. No pain in the neck. Pain has also improved over the weeks, on a scale of 1-10 it would be a 3 or 4 most of the time. Pain is experienced at seemingly random times, unrelated to movement. Have seen a physio, was told it would resolve in 6-8 weeks. Also advised to do certain neck exercises to help speed up the recovery process. Is there cause for more concern or is this fairly normal?
3
2
Dr. Bryan K
Doctor
5 Streak Score Doctors are able to put a streak together by performing an activity everyday
Hi @Mr_J, the sequence of symptoms you experienced is not uncommon. To go for a work-out with that neck ache, your body would typically use compensatory muscle groups of the upper back and pectoralis in order to protect the neck muscles. However, these muscle groups would in turn fatigue, causing you the aches you feel. It is encouraging that the pain is improving and you are returning back to full function. I agree with the Physio that such an injury would typically take 6-8 weeks of disciplined rehab to recover. To speed up recovery, some have tried ultrasound therapy or dry needling. Based on your symptoms, there is not much cause for concern. However if you do develop numbness/tingling or weakness of either hand/forearm/arm, or if the pain does not resolve in the expected 6-8 weeks, it would be prudent to visit a doctor.
Reply
2
Recommended
Leave a review for Dr. Bryan Koh by clickinghere
@Mr_J
Thats reassuring, thank you for responding so quickly.
Dr. Yan Yuan Tan
Doctor
49 Streak Score Doctors are able to put a streak together by performing an activity everyday
I agree with Dr Bryan. The physiotherapist might recommend some heat therapy as well as strengthening exercises. Some physiotherapy clinics do have transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy which might help with the muscle pain as well.
1
1
Dr. Yan Y T
Doctor
49 Streak Score Doctors are able to put a streak together by performing an activity everyday
Dear @Mr_J What you are experiencing is not uncommon and likely musculoskeletal back pain as the pain comes on after exercise and gets better with rest. It would be prudent to avoid strenuous activities for now and allow the stiff neck and bodyaches to recover before returning to your usual exercise regime. You can continue seeing your physiotherapist and continue with the neck exercises and monitor if the stiff neck gets better. I will advise you to consult a doctor if the pain is persistent or you experience numbness or weakness in your hands or shooting sensation of pain from the neck down to your hands as it might suggest a more serious condition. Imaging such as Xray or MRI of the cervical spine might be necessary in such situation. Do not hesitate to see a doctor if you experience nausea or vomiting as well as fever as it might suggest a more serious condition when combined with your neck pain. I wish you a speedy recovery.
Reply
1
Recommended
Leave a review for Dr. Yan Yuan Tan by clickinghere