Diagnosing Upper Back And Chest Pain
If you go to the doctor for upper back and chest pain, the first thing your doctor will want to do is find out what is causing your pain. If you have sudden chest pain along with other symptoms of a heart attack or emergency condition, then you may need to go to the emergency room. Otherwise, your doctor will want to know about what other symptoms you have been experiencing. It also helps to talk to your doctor about when the pain first started and whether or not it has gotten worse over time. Also let your doctor know if certain movements or activities have made your pain worse.
Any recent injuries or changes in your lifestyle and habits can also help your doctor determine the most appropriate diagnosis for your upper back and chest pain. A family medical history will also help your doctor determine if you are at higher risk for certain genetic or hereditary conditions that might cause upper back and chest pain. Your doctor may also want to run diagnostic imaging tests on your upper back and chest to get a better look at what is going on. A CT scan or MRI can provide your doctor with a detailed look at what is going on in your back and chest. Both CT scans and MRIs show bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and organs inside your body.
Symptoms Of Chest And Back Pain
Symptoms of chest and back pain can include:
- Sudden constricting feelings in the chest and back
- Dull chest pain that happens on both sides of the abdomen
- Throbbing or stabbing pain around the trunk
- General discomfort in your abdominal area
- Pain that starts in your chest and radiates through to your back
- A tearing sensation moving down your chest or back
When To See A Doctor For Upper Back Pain
While most upper back pain goes away within a few weeks, with or without at-home treatment, this type of pain could require medical attention. So when should you worry about upper back pain, and how do you know if upper back pain is serious? Some serious symptoms, as outlined below, warrant a visit to the doctor.
Contact your doctor for an appointment if discomfort still persists after a week of at-home treatment or if:
- Discomfort has become severe, especially when lying down
- You notice weakness or numbness in one arms or legs
- Pain radiates down one legs
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Chest And Back Pain Causes Treatment And More
On its own, back pain is not always a concern, although it can be uncomfortable.
But when back pain and chest pain happen at the same time, it could be a sign of a serious health problem.
Its important to understand when chest and back pain is an emergency and what to do about it, as well as when it may resolve on its own.
Can Nerve Pain In Back Radiate To Chest
Some of the most common symptoms of thoracic pinched nerves are pain in the middle of the back and numbness. The pain is felt in the front of your chest or shoulder and spreads to the back. tingling that spreads from the back to the chest.
Dont Suffer In Silence: Many Causes Of Chest And Back Pain Can Be Easily Treated
Your doctor can help you figure out whats wrong if you have back or chest pain. It is possible to treat a wide range of common chest and back pains with medication or surgery, so dont pass up the chance to get help if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
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What Is Upper Crossed Syndrome
Upper crossed syndrome is a deformity of the neck, shoulder, and chest muscles that happens gradually over time. It will generally start with extremely tight back muscles of the shoulder and neck .
As these muscles take on too much strain, they begin to curve forward. Then, as a result of the forward curvature, the muscles in the front of the chest shorten, weaken, and also become overly tight. Eventually, the muscles of both the upper back and the front chest take on deformities, making it difficult and uncomfortable to maintain good posture. Consistent upper back pain sets in, accompanied by an uncomfortably tight chest.
Upper crossed syndrome largely happens as a result of poor posture, compounded over time. And unfortunately, there are a myriad of reasons that our posture suffers. From staying hunched over a laptop for long periods of time to staring down at a smartphone for hours on end to long commutes in a car, many of our everyday activities dont necessarily encourage good posture.
Gym-goers should take caution, too. Though many people love the cardio burn from a good spin class, the position that keeps you hunched over the handlebars of a bike also doesnt encourage good posture. The same goes while using other cardio pieces of equipment.
So whats a relatively healthy person to do?
What Are The Treatments For Upper Back And Chest Pain
Upper back and chest pain treatment will depend on the underlying cause.
Your doctor may recommend taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation. They may also recommend avoiding any strenuous activity or exercise. This is particularly important if an injury causes your upper back and chest pain.
Some conditions, such as aneurysms, may require surgery. Your doctor can provide more information about any surgery or other recommended treatments.
Severe Stomach Pain After Eating A Fatty Meal
If you find yourself doubled over after eating a high-fat meal, you may be experiencing a gallbladder attack. âWomen are especially prone to gallbladder disease,â says Hardeep Singh, MD, gastroenterologist from St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, CA. âOverweight women in their 40s are at highest risk.â The pain becomes worse after eating, lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and may come and go, becoming more constant and severe over time, says Singh.
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When Should I See My Doctor
In some cases, you should seek urgent medical attention or consult a doctor if you have abdominal pain.
If you have a sudden, severe, incapacitating pain in your abdomen, go immediately to your nearest emergency department or call triple zero and ask for an ambulance.
You should also seek urgent medical attention if you have pain that:
- is severe and/or getting worse
- has lasted for several hours or more
- wakes you from sleep
- is spreading to your neck, chest or shoulders
- makes it difficult to swallow
Urgent medical attention is also required if you have abdominal pain accompanied by
- unexplained weight loss
- skin that appears yellow
If you are experiencing pain high up in your abdomen that is made worse by exercise it could be angina or a heart attack. If you, or someone near you is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, call triple zero immediately and ask for an ambulance.
If you are pregnant and experiencing abdominal pain, check with your doctor or midwife. Abdominal pains are common in pregnancy, but should always be checked out.
If your abdominal pain does not match the situations above, but it is recurrent or persistent , or it started mild but is worsening, you should still consult a doctor.
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Getting A Diagnosis For Upper Back And Chest Pain
Any sudden onset of unexplained chest pain that lingers needs to be evaluated by a doctor. When evaluating upper back and chest pain, a doctor typically aims to rule out cardiac causes before checking other potential causes, such as an injury to the muscles, ribs, or spine.
A trained medical professional can accurately diagnose the cause of upper back and chest pain. Once an accurate diagnosis is found, an effective treatment plan can begin.
Chest And Back Pain At The Same Height
Chest and back pain at the same height, such as the one that occurs between the shoulder blades, specifically in the upper back and chest, can have many causes, ranging from a muscle strain, which is the cause more common, even an organic problem.
However, the main cause of chest and back pain at the same height is stress, anxiety and being subjected to depressive symptoms . These alterations contribute to the appearance of anxiety, nervousness, tightness and pain in both the upper back and the chest.
These discomforts can be controlled as the necessary treatment to manage stress and anxiety is carried out.
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Treatment Approaches For Long
If you think you may fall in the upper crossed syndrome camp, you may be hesitantly wonderingso what now? Muscle deformities sound pretty serious and when left untreated, they can be. However, the muscle deformity caused by upper crossed syndrome is largely very treatable and has a great success rate from conservative care treatments especially.
But first, if you think that you may have this syndrome, seek medical treatment as soon as you can. Your success rate and timeline of recovery will look better the sooner you can begin your treatment program. Plus, a professional will be able to guide you through the best approach based on your specific needs.
These are some of the top approaches to treatment to keep in mind as you plan your own recovery.
When To Get Immediate Help
It is important to try to identify if the cause is serious or life threatening. The information below should not be used to self-diagnose your condition.
It should give you an idea of what is causing your chest pain and whether you need to get emergency help or see your GP. It does not include every possible cause, but describes the most common reasons for chest pain.
You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you develop sudden severe chest pain, particularly if:
- the pain is central or band-like and feels heavy, pressing or tight
- the pain lasts longer than 15 minutes
- the pain spreads to other parts of your body, such as your arms, back or jaw
- you are at risk of coronary heart disease for example, you smoke, are obese, or have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol
If you think you could be having a heart attack, call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance. Do not worry if you have any doubts about whether it is a heart attack. Paramedics would prefer to be called out to find that an honest mistake has been made than to be called out when it is too late to save a persons life.
If the discomfort is not sudden and severe, or has resolved, it may be more appropriate to see your GP. If your own GP surgery is closed, you should contact your local out of hours service if you are concerned and need advice as to whether you need assessment or treatment.
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Prevention Of Upper Back Pain
The following tips may help to prevent you from developing upper back pain.
- Lift objects safely and correctly by bending at your knees and not from the waist.
- Make sure your back is properly supported when sitting.
- If you wake up with back pain, a more supportive mattress that adjusts to your back and supports its various curves and hollows may help.
- Take regular breaks from sitting for long periods of time and from doing repetitive tasks.
- Practise good posture see our section on causes of back pain.
- Exercise regularly see our FAQ on some specific exercises for upper back strength.
- Learn and practise good technique for any sports youre doing.
- Stop doing any activity that you know is causing your back pain.
- Stop smoking it can speed up the degeneration of the discs between your vertebrae that act as shock absorbers.
- If you are overweight, losing weight may help to reduce the risk of back pain.
Muscle Injury Or Overuse
Sometimes chest and back pain may be due to injury or overuse of muscles. Injury can occur due to things like accidents or falls.
Overuse can also cause muscle pain. Repetitive motions that are used in day-to-day activities, work, or sports can also contribute to this. An example of a repetitive activity that may cause muscle pain in the chest and back is rowing.
Generally, pain from muscle injury or overuse may be worse when moving the affected area.
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What Is Abdominal Pain Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Most people experience abdominal discomfort or pain at some point in their lives. Abdominal pain is usually felt in the part of the trunk below the ribs, above the pelvis and the groin. It can range in intensity from a mild ache to severe, disabling pain.
While abdominal pain isnt normal, it isnt necessarily serious, and it often resolves itself.
How Do Doctors Diagnose The Cause Of Upper Back And Chest Pain
Your doctor may look for heart problems first. Diagnostic tests they may order include:
- chest X-rays to look at the structures in your chest
- ECG to look at your hearts rhythm
- cardiac ultrasound to view your heart as it beats
- angiogram to look at the blood flow in your heart
- cardiac catheterization to look for any blockages in your blood vessels
- stress test to see how your heart functions when stressed
- blood tests to check for specific enzymes that may indicate heart damage
If the tests dont indicate a heart condition or if you have any other symptoms, your doctor will look for other possible causes. Other tests they may order include:
Chest And Upper Back Pain
The human body is a complex structure, and each part is connected to the other via some route. A problem in any one will affect the other hence the reasons can be stomach, joints, bones, or muscles. There is a chance of having an emergency, but not sure. It is better to visit the urgent care for a checkup to know about the problem. Frequent and more prolonged chest pain can be a warning sign. Besides, below we discuss a few health problems that lead to upper back and chest pain.
Signs of heart attack
Have you ever wondered why people who suffer from a heart attack feel chest pain first? During the attack, the heart muscles blood supply stops, and it doesnt get sufficient oxygen. The problem starts from the neck towards the shoulder and back. Furthermore, few signs of heart attack are
- Getting cold sweats and shortness of breath
- Feeling tightness in the chest
- Having nausea and being faint
Women have higher chances of back or jaw pains in heart attack, yet symptoms vary in individuals. If you get any of these, rush for an emergency without wasting any time.
AnginaAnother illness that causes pain in the chest and upper back is angina. In it, the heart tissues dont get a sufficient amount of oxygen due to other diseases. The angina patient gets pain after exertion and quick movements. Symptoms may vary as per gender and age however, common ones are shortness of breath, extreme sweating, weakness, and nausea.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself And Prevent Angina
Follow the treatment prescribed by your doctor. In addition, follow these guidelines:
- Control your physical activity: Learn what types of activity cause you to have angina and avoid these activities. Avoid sudden hard physical activity. Learn to pace yourself physically.
- Moderate exercise is beneficial to many people living with angina. Consult your doctor about beginning an exercise program.
- Avoid situations that are stressful. Learn the types of situations that upset you. Many people can learn to control their emotions better once they are aware of situations that trigger emotional upset. In particular, you should try to avoid situations that cause you to feel pressured, such as deadlines and an overcrowded schedule. Excitement and anger can also trigger angina.
- Eat a healthy diet. If you are overweight, begin a weight-loss program under the supervision of your doctor or a dietitian. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and avoid foods high in cholesterol and fat . Heavy meals and/or eating too fast can put a strain on your heart. Try to avoid eating large meals and rich foods that make you feel stuffed.
- Dont smoke: Cigarette smoking often makes angina worse and it increases your risk for heart attack and other circulatory problems.
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure increases the hearts work and can aggravate angina.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Acute Upper Back Pain
Acute upper back pain symptoms can differ from person to person. For some, the pain might be mild and go away within a couple days, but for others, the pain can worsen and interfere with daily tasks. With acute pain, the pain is a sign of injured or diseased tissue, the severity of the pain matches the level of tissue damage. When the tissue heals the corresponding pain is relieved. Upper back pain symptoms and treatment plans can vary depending on the cause of the underlying problem.
Some common symptoms of acute back pain are:
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