Jock Doc

Back pain feels like an electric shock

Q. Over the last week I have had pain in the upper part of my right back. At times it feels like an electric shock. When I reach for things it can be worse. I have no prior problems in my neck or back. I have tried Ibuprofen and it has not helped. What is it and what type of doctor do you think I need to see?

The largest muscle in our body is the trapezius, which runs from the base of the skull across the mid-part of your back. This is a trapezoidal-shaped muscle that occasionally can develop a sharp spasm.

When these spasms are localized and are particularly sensitive, they are known as “trigger points.” Many trapezial muscle spasms or trigger point spasms will get better with anti-inflammatory medications, such as Ibuprofen, or rest.

Since yours has persisted a week I recommend you seen an orthopedic surgeon or spine specialist for evaluation and treatment. Treatment could include a muscle relaxant, a different anti-inflammatory, physical therapy, neuromuscular therapy, or possibly an injection. Although these injuries are annoying, they are usually not very serious and will respond to these conservative treatment modalities.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to

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