Hello and Welcome to the Pain Management Forum. I am sorry that you are experiencing pain with inhalation.
It is very difficult to determine the source of your symptoms. Upper back pain is usually related to large muscles in the shoulder. So you could have irritated that large muscle in any number of ways including just sleeping on it in an unusual manner. This would cause muscular irritation and generally includes some form of inflammation. Our shoulder are vulnerable to sprains, strains, tears along with inflammation. This includes the capsule, muscles, ligaments and bursa that are involved in the make-up of the joint itself. Pain may originate in the shoulder but may radiate to the upper back and not be "felt" in the shoulder.
The popping you hear may be related to any of those structures snapping over one another as it forced to move. It makes sense that when you inhale you would increase the pain as you are expanding or moving the irritated or inflamed area. Obviously this is only one possibility and may not be related to your pain at all.
Others may respond to your post with their thoughts or opinions though it is Sunday and the board may be a bit slower than normal. If your symptoms do not clear up with RICE, rest, ice, compression and elevation in a day or two I would certainly seek medical attention. If your symptoms become worse at any time or are intolerable I would not wait.
Please let us know how you are doing. I will look forward to your updates. Best of luck and take care.
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