I have pain at the top of my back.

I've been getting an on and off pain at the top of my back just below my neck, I have been getting it for nearly a year now but because it is on and off when it doesn't hurt I feel no need to go to the doctors. I get it mainly when I am at work and it is almost unbareable it restricts the movents in my arms and moving my head. I was sent to the hospital in may because it got so bad but they told me it was a strained muscle, I didn't think a strained muscle would cause me so much pain for a year. I get a swollen area over my spine when its there and its like a burning stinging pain and throughout my shoulders it aches. Do you think I should be worried about this?

1 October 2013

Does the swelling and pain affect both sides of the back, or just one side?  If the pain, aching and swelling affect both sides, could it be related to your posture at work?  

If you are sitting at a desk for long periods of time and are bending over, the neck and upper back could become painful. Making sure your work station is correctly set up for you is very important (if your job is at a desk).  A swelling or pain that comes and goes would not likely be serious (because serious conditions are usually persistent in nature). However, without examining you myself I would not be able to totally reassure you that there is nothing going on here.

If you have not seen your doctor about this complaint, it would be sensible to make an appointment, preferably when the pain and swelling are present. The doctor can then decide if you need to have an X-ray or any other investigations.

Answered by Dr Emmajane Down.


You may also be interested in...

Prevent RSI

Boost your bone power!

Top tips to achieve a back friendly car

Got a health question?

We’re here to help you take care of your health - whenever you need us, wherever you are, whether you're an AXA PPP healthcare member or not.

Our Ask the Expert service allows you to ask our team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives, counsellors and pharmacists about any health topic.