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Dr Hive.....what would you do?


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My son (16) has been complaining that his back (upper between shoulder blades) has been bothering him.  Sort of painful, but it doesn't keep him from doing anything he wants....we went skiing over Christmas, he forges, he moves things, he shoots hoops etc.  But he is still complaining that it bothers him.  He says it feels like it needs to "pop" or something.  

Would you take him to the doctor?  or the chiropractor? We tried Motrin and that sort of helps....but not long term.  He has been complaining off and on for a couple months.  I didn't think it was serious because he will go for weeks without saying anything and like I said he does everything he wants to do.  But then out of the blue he will mention it again. 

So....what would you do? 

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I’d start with the doctor.

But, just throwing this out there, our pediatrician friend is seeing lots of kids - younger and older - with sore backs.  She says it’s from increased time on computers, laptops, etc, and not being aware of how they are sitting or having screens and chairs at proper heights.

So, doctor, but also maybe see if that might be an issue.  If he’s spending more time on the computer - how’s his set up?

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I’d try a massage therapist first, with the assumption that it’s a tight muscle that keeps reading its ugly head. A deep pressure massage helps me way more than Motrin or anything else if the culprit is jacked up muscles. 

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Anything that has been going on for months, I'd want to see a doctor just to clear nothing more nefarious was going on.  He may also be able to be set up with PT.  I do think a lot of people are having stress or being home related symptoms.  Like I read emergency dental for broken teeth was up 50% at some dentists due to people clenching their teeth.  I actually had to have a newish crown replaced unexpectedly last summer.  

But after that, I'd look at chiro, massage, regular movement and exercise.   

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heating pad or hot rice sock for tight muscles that have been bothering for a long time

massage - you can give a nice back rub at home.  Use your thumbs. 

exercise - walking/running daily while swinging arms

stretching a theraband with arms extended to activate those muscles

self-massage the spot with a Lacrosse ball or a tennis ball against a wall  

reputable chiropractor, if all else fails

 

ETA:  I once had a chiropractor tell me many upper back problems are caused by poor reading posture. He suggested stacking books and propping up the one being read at eye level.  If you have a recipe book holder, it may work well for that.

Edited by klmama
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Chiropractor. Evaluate for scoliosis and for milder non-scolio curvatures. 

I have an S-curve in my spine, and there is a spot in my upper spine between my scapulae that is always sore. Sounds like your son could be experiencing the same. If so, chiropractic adjustments while growing are really helpful, and also physical therapy and hanging. Yes, hanging. Literally grab the top of a doorway or some monkey bars and hang a while--things stretch and straighten out.

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I had a similar pain and bunches of chiropractic visits didn't help. So I saw an orthopedist who took an x-ray and sent me for 6 weeks of PT. Mostly it was a couple of decades of bad posture and being hunched over in a chair at the computer. When it bothers me now, my favorite remedies are rolling on a foam roller and a chair stretch where you sit upright in a chair, put your hands behind your head and you stretch backwards 20 times over the back of the chair trying to stretch out that area. If it continues to bother him, though, I'd get it checked out by an orthopedist. Just my 2 cents.

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Hot water bottle.  Keep changing the water so it stays as hot as possible.  Do this for 1+ hours before bed.  Repeat until pain is gone.

Edited by EKS
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11 hours ago, kfeusse said:

My son (16) has been complaining that his back (upper between shoulder blades) has been bothering him.  Sort of painful, but it doesn't keep him from doing anything he wants....we went skiing over Christmas, he forges, he moves things, he shoots hoops etc.  But he is still complaining that it bothers him.  He says it feels like it needs to "pop" or something.  

Would you take him to the doctor?  or the chiropractor? We tried Motrin and that sort of helps....but not long term.  He has been complaining off and on for a couple months.  I didn't think it was serious because he will go for weeks without saying anything and like I said he does everything he wants to do.  But then out of the blue he will mention it again. 

So....what would you do? 

My upper back gets that way on rare occasion; getting a picked up hug from behind is usually a successful method to crack it.

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It could be muscular. There are lots of tiny muscles around the shoulders and upper back. Physiotherapy to work on healing and then strengthening the specific muscle could help. My dh had a similar issue and the PT did the trick. 

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