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How can I get rid of my back pain?

Q: I am 37 years old. I have pain in the right and left upper back. When I bend my neck (jaw towards the chest) there's pain in the right upper back near the spine. I play badminton regularly and also do yoga for close to 40 minutes every day. I also feel pain on my left side, i.e. below the armpit near the rib cage. When I take a deep breath, the central part of the back pains. The pain is not unbearable, but very uncomfortable. I got an ECG done five months back and the report was fine. My doctor says there is no problem, and that I might have strained some ligament while playing badminton. Even when I sit in front of my laptop with a slightly concave position, there is pain in the area behind the left breast bone. The pain is there on and off and while playing badminton. When I stopped playing badminton for a month, there was no pain. I am thinking of getting a massage done to improve my condition. Is it advisable? What is the line of treatment I need to follow?

A:From your description it sounds like muscular pain, especially because it is linked to your posture and activities. Since you have already consulted a doctor and no obvious abnormality was detected, I believe it is unlikely to be anything significant to be worried about. However, two possibilities can be considered: 1. Fibrofascitis of the muscles of shoulder girdle - This can be linked to posture and activities. 2. Early spondylosis of the neck with irritation of some nerve root in the neck. Typically, this presents with pain that radiates along the course of the nerve. For both, you need to learn to restrict the movements that cause pain and also to do some exercises to reduce the strain on your ligaments and improve muscle tone. Massages always give relief but don't overdo it, as massage can itself cause problems of stiffness. Please seek help from a good orthopaedic surgeon if the intensity of your pain is gradually increasing, if there is pain in the night while you are resting or you have to wake up in the night with pain.

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