Is accupuncture helpful for scapular pain?

by Bonnie
(Colorado)

I have been having this pain for almost 2 months, located in my right upper back. This pain feels like a constant pressure with occasional sharp shoulder pain caused by certain movements.

I have not been diagnosed by a physician for this, however, when I went to a chiropractor for upper right back pain, he caused an increase in pain.

I did not injure my back but I do have osteoarthritis. I plan on seeing my doctor who is an osteopath who will probably recommend physical therapy. Is this necessary or are home exercises effective?



Hi Bonnie, thanks for writing.

The most common cause of upper back pain is muscular pain and it sounds like that may be what is causing your problem. Osteoarthritis in your upper back, if it is severe, can cause an inflammatory irritation of the muscles that can cause pain.

The increased pain after your chiropractic visit may have been because his adjustment aggravated and exacerbated your osteoarthritis.

What to do?

Have you tried a serious course of an anti-inflammatory medication? Assuming that you do not have any other health problems making it unsafe, you could try 800 mg of ibuprofen three times per day or 500 mg of naproxen three times per day. This could relieve much of the inflammation that is contributing to your pain.

If the anti-inflammatory medications do not relieve your pain, I would think evaluation by a physical therapist would be a good idea. I do think that the home exercises that you suggest would be good but they are not as targeted to specific muscle groups as the exercises that a physical therapist can teach you after their evaluation of your specific problem.

The acupuncture that you suggest may or may not be helpful. I do not really have a good understanding of how acupuncture works, but I do think the risk is low and a short trial may be worthwhile.

I guess the good news is that something like this is not likely to require surgery. You can read more about upper back muscle pain at Stop Upper Back Muscle Pain.

Keep in touch Bonnie and let us know how you're doing.
Have a good day.
Dave

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