Our team of medical experts are ready to help

Your questions answered

Dean asked...

Sharp pain in my upper back.

Over the past few days I have started to get a really sharp pain in my upper back (just below the right shoulder blade) when I breathe in deeply. The area is also slightly swollen. What could the problem be?

  • mother-thermometer-doctor-at-hand

    Do you need to see a GP quickly?


    Would you like to speak with a doctor by video or phone at a time that suits you?

    Our Doctor@Hand service, delivered by Doctor Care Anywhere, offers a doctor appointment by video or phone at a time that suits you.

The answer

With the sort of symptoms you describe it is important to consider the initial cause of the pain, for example recent strenuous exercise or exertion of your right arm. General fitness and health also need to be considered, and the presence of any under-lying or pre-existing medical conditions, plus current medications.

I would suggest you attend your GP for a physical examination and he may request a spinal x ray or alternatively an MRI scan would provide a more detailed clearer picture.

Pain killers for example paracetamol or non steroidal anti inflammatories can be used in combination and can be purchased over the counter. Other symptom relief remedies that may be beneficial are heat pads and massage to relieve muscle tension. The GP may refer you to a physiotherapist or chiropractor to strengthen the muscles to reduce localised pain.

Regular exercise, healthy weight and correct posture and sitting may reduce recurrence of symptoms and promote long term prevention.

If you have had a recent fever or weight loss or any other symptoms, these should also be discussed with the GP.

Answered by Health at Hand nurses.

You may also be interested in...

Top tips to achieve a back friendly car

Join action

Health MOT's

Newsletter sign up

Sign up to our monthly newsletter, Better Health, to receive our latest health and wellbeing updates.

Sign up to newsletter