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Back pain between spine and shoulder. Had massage to relief pain, felt a bump, crackles while stretching. Reason?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
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My upper back has been in pain for at least 6 years ago. It is on the right side in between my spine and shoulder blade (can't specifically point it out). I used to crack my back or go for back massages to relief the pain (pain is deep in the muscles kind of pain and it will gradually worsen to intense upper back aches until there is a temporary relief) and even with the relief measures, it's just a nagging pain at the same area.

Recently, i tried using the shoulder massager and actually felt a bump (some sort like a ping pong ball size - in my opinion) at the same area. The pain sometimes makes the muscle go 'cold' and also the area 'crackles' as i try to stretch. Pain has never gone off, but only relieved.

Medicine prescribed are usually muscle relaxants or painkillers, but i know they are temporary relievers so i don't really bother to take sometimes. Just need advise on the bump (very hard when rubbed by the massager, but DEEP. The effect seems like driving on a curb). What should i do and what could be the bump and cause of the crackling and back ache. Thanks!
Fri, 24 May 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 59 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
The pain that you have described is likely to be related to a muscular pain. The lump that you have noticed can be related to a benign muscle mass (myoma) or a bony ( osteoma) rib swelling. The swelling can cause a nerve compression causing a persistent pain in the area for last 6 years.
A direct examination of the swelling is an integral part of the diagnosis. Investigations like MRI scan will help in detecting the proper size and extent of the swelling.
Take medications or muscle relaxant prescribed by your physician. Doing a hot fomentation in the area will also be helpful. And since it is a long standing illness visit your orthopaedician and clinically-radiologically establish a diagnosis to commence definitive treatment.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Back pain between spine and shoulder. Had massage to relief pain, felt a bump, crackles while stretching. Reason? 28 minutes later
Hi Sir,

Thanks for your reply. Can i just verify the following

- benign muscle mass (myoma) or a bony ( osteoma) rib swelling --> since the 'ball' didn't move with the back massager, the two are possible causes right?

- is it one of the cause for my bad headaches (when it comes), at times very persistent?

- if i leave the situation be, and if indeed it is either benign muscle mass (myoma) or a bony ( osteoma) rib swelling, what will happen if i don't do anything about it?

- What are the ways to treat the benign muscle mass (myoma) or a bony ( osteoma) rib swelling? Is it through surgery? Or..?

Sorry for the many questions as I just need to prepare myself with more information. Have seen a lot of varying diagnosis and wanted to prepare for proper referral to the right department (instead of being treated as a simple muscle strain).

Thanks, Sir.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 11 minutes later
Thanks for writing again.
Yes. The bone or a muscle mass are the likely causes of the swelling you have.
The persistent headache is not related to the back pain or the lump you have detected.
The treatment depends on the type and size of swelling and the symptoms caused by it. Most commonly a surgical resection is done under a local anaesthesia.
If left untreated, it may gradually increase in size causing more severe symptoms.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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