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DrRussMD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 65289
Experience:  Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, health, prevention, complementary medicine, etc.
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I woke up two days ago with a stiff left upper back, behind

Customer Question

I woke up two days ago with a stiff left upper back, behind the should blade area. I realized I had slept on my stomach which I don't normally do. Now I am having burning severe pain behind my left shoulder blade. If feels better after Aleve and/or Tylenol. I am a 56 year old woman with some GERD and don't like to take a lot of NSAIDs. Do you think the cause could be the way I slept?
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  DrRussMD replied 1 year ago.


The sleep position might have affected it, but this implies a problem in the upper thoracic spine, and possibly the lower cervical.

You need an exam.

At this age, disc disease symptoms can come and go, but the degenerative process will continue.

This needs to be ruled out.

Exam and MRI if indicated.

See your doctor with this request.

OK, so you might have more questions or want to give me more information: Please use reply to expert if you have further questions. When you are ready, please click a positive rating [hopefully excellent—that’s how we are paid, per rating]. If you forgot something, come back. I am here daily.

Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for this question

This could simply be a muscle spasm

Is the area tender when you push on it?

Expert:  DrRussMD replied 1 year ago.


Muscle spasm is not typically a burning pain.

In fact, it is characteristic of a pinched nerve, radiculopathy.

We can not say, without examining you, that this is not a disc problem.

And examination is a must.

This has gone on long enough without exam.

I would have it examined now.

As always, you can find me in request in medical to save time, have a correct and safe answer by a double board certified US doctor, etc.

"for Dr. Thomas only"

good luck

Please click a positive on the rating scale.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Expert:  DrRussMD replied 1 year ago.


I have you coming up in the in box, but no post from you.