Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at

    Back Pain - Shoulder Blades - Rib Cage
    xasx posted:
    Hi Everyone,
    I have a mild disc bulge between L3-L4 and a small left sided disc extrusion at L5-S1 that impinges upon the S1 nerve root in the left lateral recess. I have different types of back pain over the last few years that comes and goes. Last year I had trouble walking because the pain in my lower left back got so bad, but I could run fine and it eventually would go away after a few months. Most of the times it was lower back pain on the left side and stiff neck muscles.

    Lately, I have been getting severe pain between my shoulder blades on both sides. I have always been able to tolerate my back pain, but this seems to finally bother me. It then feels like it radiates down and then into both sides of my my ribcage. Sometimes I get a slight burning sensation. Normally a massage would relive my back pain, but this pain does not seem to respond much to massages. It comes and goes in severity, but has seemed like it is slowly getting worse.

    I recently had a blood test done and also an ultrasound of the abdomen for gallstones. Both came out ok. My doctor has prescribed me medication for the pain, but I am always weary about taking medicine unless I really need it. Do you think this is just back pain or could it be related to some other issues? Should I just wait it out longer to see if it gets worse as my doctor recommended. He did not recommend another MRI since I had one a few years ago. Thank you.
    bj1208 responded:
    hi and welcome to the support group -

    first - when was your initial diagnosis done of your lower back? who did the examine?

    second - what treatment options were given for your lower back?

    your upper back could be hurting because you are babying the lower part. Meaning you could be straining your upper back as a means to ease the pain(s) from your lower back.

    BUT the only way to actually tell is to see either an Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist, If it's been more than a year since your last lumbar MRI then a new one will be required to see what changes have gone on. Once the spine surgeon examines you they will let you know what treatment options are best. At this time they can also let you know about your upper back as far as what is causing this - if it's tension, bulging disc(s) etc., Only the spine specialist can examine you and let you know 100% what the diagnosis is.

    It would be in your best interest to see a spine specialist as soon as possible. You already have problems in your lower back and these will only get worse, not better, with no treatment options. The lower part of your back is the main streamline to walking, standing, sitting etc., and it's best to get this re-examined.

    please let us know what you find out - take care - Joy
    fetay responded:
    The pain that you are having around your rib cage and in your upper back really do seem like your gallbladder. Did you have the bloodwork and CT done when you were having pain, because you could have already passed a stone. It took 3 Cts to actually diagnose me with my gallstone. Like Joy said, it can also be from babying your lower back, that is why my upper back hurts now, according 1 of my docs.
    Have you tried muscle relaxers? Those may help you and not be as stong as narcotics. I am not one to say take a pill it will help, but if you are starting to not be able function it may be a good idea. I have been working with a pain doc for about a year off and on now and I was deathly afraid of using meds, but as long as you are on the lowest dose possible and don't get addicted, they do help. You do have to be careful about addiction tho, because i have seen that happen to a lot of people
    anniecrz1 responded:
    You have just described the exact same pain I am experiencing. It is 5 am and I'm up because I cannot sleep. This pain only comes to me at night after a few hours of sleep and no matter how many times I change positions it will not get better. My neck hurts also and don't know if it's connected. Like you I have herniated discs, I have suffered from horrible lower back pain for the last 10 years or so. But this pain is worse, I've never been woken up by pain like I am every night now forthe last two weeks or so and it happened right after plowing snow.
    xasx replied to anniecrz1's response:
    So just to update on my problems. I found that going to the chiropractor when it gets bad and improving my posture has started to help a lot. I also keep active and not let myself get in a slump where I do not go to the gym for too many days. If I can't go I do something at home, even if it's only for 30 minutes. I cut down my alcohol intake drastically and spicy foods. I still get back pain, I am guessing it is a mixture of heartburn and nerve pain, but going to the doctors they just keep you in a endless cycle of visits and tests. I had a CT scan which showed nothing soon after the ultrasound and a gallbladder tests which also came back fine.

    Helpful Tips

    Making the Most of Your Doctor Visit #2Expert
    Here are the rest of the suggestions (had to break into to two parts due to the character limits) 5. Make sure that all records ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    39 of 54 found this helpful

    Helpful Resources

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health Spine Center