ZocdocAnswersI've been having pain in my right upper back, what should I do?

Question

I've been having pain in my right upper back, what should I do?

I work as a medical assistant and every year our employer offers TB screening test. This year my skin test came back positive. So I had a chest X-ray and while having the test, I knew something was not right when the radiologist called her colleague into the room, and made a few more takes. When I received the results, I was told I had a nodule on my right lung and required follow up in 3 moths to ensured stability. Well, is been a few months since I had the X-ray, and I have been having pain in my right upper back behind my shoulder blade. It hurts so bad every time I tried to take a deep breath, or twist. I don't have any SOB, fever,productive cough, chest pain,asthma,or unexplained weight loss . Please help, I'm 36 years old former smoker, quit 9 years ago.thank you for you time.

Answer

There are several different issues going on here at the same time, and I think it would be good for you to make an appointment with your primary care doctor to get some more clarity and direction. First, there is the positive TB test. This positive test most likely means that you were exposed to TB at some point since the last time you took the test. The chest x-ray was to rule out an active TB infection in the lung, which it sounds like was done (although I can't be sure without seeing the report, ask your doctor). You most likely were or will be prescribed a medication to eliminate the latent TB infection regardless; if this hasn't happened yet, you should discuss it with your doctor. Second, there is the lung nodule. Nodules are common findings in otherwise healthy people, but sometimes they can be a sign of a early lung cancer. The standard approach is usually to get a repeat X-ray or CT scan of the lung in a few months; if the nodule is growing in size at that point, then a biopsy is usually need to rule out lung cancer. Finally, there is the back pain. This could be related to a growing nodule in the lung, but it could also be caused by poorly controlled asthma, or by simple strain of the muscles in the back. Please see your doctor today.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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