View Full Version : Does a lumbar curve cause upper back pain?

08-13-2006, 08:35 PM
Hi again,

I have this question in mind that I do not know the answer to. I have two curves: the larger is lumbar which is 45 degrees and the thoracic curve is 22 degrees. I am expiriencing pain mostly in the upper back. I read so many of your posts here and see that most of you who have lower curves have lower back pain. The doctor proposed only correcting the lumbar curve and said that it would relieve my lower back pain but I told him that I have pain in the upper back where the shoulder blades are. I asked the doctor if he thinks that scoliosis is causing the pain in the upper back but he said he is not sure and said that he wants me to get an MRI of the thoracic spine.He was not sure why the pain is there and said that in that case he would suggest correcting both curves. I also read that once the lower curve is corrected the upper curve would also decrease on its own by about 10 to 15 degrees which would make my thoracic curve 12 or 7 degrees. When I told the doctor about this he simply said that that is true. Basically I was left with no definitive answer as to why he would correct both curves and whether the pain is caused by any of my curves. I turn to you for any advice on this and also if anyone please can explain the back pain in the upper spine as oppose to where the larger curve ( the lumbar )?

Thanks so much!!!


08-14-2006, 06:22 AM
Hi Mariya-

I hope I can help you. I think maybe your doctor should do an MRI of the
cervical spine (neck) as well, it could possibly be a disk problem in your neck.
Not to scare you but that is what I am going through now.
A 22 degree thoracic curve is not that large but depending on your age
it may or may not progress. I would find the very best scoliosis surgeons in
your area and get a couple (at least) opinions,if you live in New York I know of some good ones.
An explanation for the upper back pain if it doesn't turn out to be neck related
is that your body is trying to compensate for that 45 degree lumbar curve.
Think of your vertebra as a stack of dominoes, each one affects the other.
If one is unstable or out of alignment it throws off the natural balance of the spine. Your body,in turn tries to stabilize itself and with scoliosis that can affect muscles anywhere in the back upper or lower.
Have you tried a chiropractor? My chiro has seen me through so much stuff for the past 30 years and has been able to explain things better to me than the surgeons.
Good luck to you and keep in touch

08-14-2006, 08:10 AM
My surgeon said that my upper back pain can be caused by my thoracolumbar curve (55 degrees) - my upper curve is also in the 20s. I agree with Jan that your back will compensate in anyway possible and therefore the pain is not necessarily limited to the area of your curve. However, my PCP wants to rule out other causes of the neck and shoulder pain and therefore is also scheduling an MRI for September. It is obviously different for every person, but if you are really worried, it might help to get an MRI as well???

08-16-2006, 12:58 PM
Hi I agree that you should have an MRI. I would guess that your pain is coming from a bad disc. Usally pain goes down. hope this helps Dave