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Sports Medicine

Possible torn upper back muscle/ligament

10/12/2007

Question:

On 8/2 I believe that I pulled/strained a muscle in my upper back from lifting weights incorrectly. On 9/11 I saw a physiatrist who requested that I `push hard` against his hand . When I did so the muscle pulled again--hurt a good deal. The doctor said that it would go away. It`s still here, and I can`t use a shoulder bag of any type nor lift anything that weighs more than one half lbs. When my back touches the back of a chair, it feels as if the back is raw,and leaning against stucco. Very uncomfortable.

Answer:

It is likely that your symptoms are due to a muscular injury, however, there are other possibilities that can be addressed since your symptoms have persisted. 

A pinched nerve in the neck or a fracture in the vertebrae of the neck could cause similar pain, but would be much less likely. 

I recommend that you seek physician evaluation again since your pain has not followed the expected course of resolution and consider physical therapy or additional tests if warranted based on the results of your physical exam.

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Response by:

Charles Webster, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati