What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider may ask questions such as:
- Is the pain between the shoulder blades? Under the breast bone? Does the pain change location? Is it on one side only?
- How would you describe the pain?
- Does it begin suddenly? Does the pain occur at the same time each day?
- Does the pain get better or worse when you walk or change positions?
- Can you make the pain happen by pressing on a part of your chest?
- Is the pain getting worse? How long does the pain last?
- Does the pain go from your chest into your shoulder, arm, neck, jaw, or back?
- Is the pain worse when you are breathing deeply, coughing, eating, or bending?
- Is the pain worse when you are exercising? Is it better after you rest? Does it go away completely, or is there just less pain?
- Is the pain better after you take nitroglycerin medicine? After you eat or take antacids? After you belch?
- What other symptoms do you have?
The types of tests that are done depend on the cause of the pain, and what other medical problems or risk factors you have.
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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Causes Related To The Esophagus
- Gastroesophageal reflux : it is produced by the passage of gastric acid into the esophagus, which can cause burning or tightness behind the breastbone. It can be mistaken for a heart problem. This alteration generates chest and back pain, which must be reviewed by the specialist doctor, in this case, the gastroenterologist.
- Esophageal spasms and disorders of the esophageal muscles: they generate intense pressure in the chest and back area. Symptoms such as pain, heartburn, vomiting, heartburn after meals or difficulty swallowing, are some of those that can clarify the origin of chest and back pain.
Chest Pain Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
Chest pain can be a warning sign of a heart attack. A heart attack happens when the blood supply to your heart becomes blocked and damages the heart muscle.
The longer a heart attack is left untreated more damage occurs. In some cases, a heart attack can be fatal. Many Australians die of heart attack, or suffer permanent damage to the heart because they dont know the signs or wait too long to act.
Symptoms of a heart attack may include:
- Severe crushing pain in the centre of your chest or behind the breastbone. You may feel this as a squeezing, tightening, choking or heavy pressure feeling.
- Pain spreading to the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw or back.
- Feeling anxious, dizzy or unwell.
- A sick feeling in the stomach.
- Shortness of breath.
- Symptoms that often last 10 to 15 minutes or more.
Symptoms of a heart attack may vary from person to person, and some people have few symptoms or none at all.
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The Three Most Common Causes Of Noncardiac Chest Pain
When To See A Doctor
You should always take chest pain seriously, as sometimes it may be an indicator of a serious health condition, like a heart attack.
Always seek emergency medical attention if you have unexplained or sudden chest pain, especially if you have difficulty breathing or the pain has spread to other areas like the arm or jaw.
You should also make a doctors appointment for any condition that isnt relieved using OTC medications or has symptoms that recur, are persistent, or begin to worsen.
You can connect to a physician in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.
Common Causes Of Chest Pain
Most chest pain is not heart-related and isn’t a sign of a life-threatening problem. Some common causes of chest pain are outlined below.
This information should give you an idea of whether these conditions may be causing your chest pain. However, see your GP for a proper diagnosis and for advice about how to relieve the pain and tackle any underlying cause.
Immediate Action Required: Phone 999 Immediately If:
You or someone else has symptoms like:
- central chest pain or discomfort in the chest that doesn’t go away it may feel like pressure, tightness or squeezing
- pain that radiates down the left arm, or both arms, or to the neck, jaw, back or stomach
- difficulty breathing
- rapid heart beat
- low or undetectable heart beat
- blue or pale tingling of knees, hands and lips
- chest pain and breathlessness, nausea, sweating or coughing up blood
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Cardiovascular Causes Of Burning Pain In Chest And Back:
Myocardial Infarction: A burning chest and back pain which does not resolve within a few minutes is a sign of an impending myocardial infarction. This pain is caused when the heart does not get the required amount of blood due to some blockage of the arteries.
CAD:Coronary artery disease is the most common cause for a cardiovascular condition causing burning pain in the chest and back. The pain may radiate to the left arm to the neck and jaw. The individual may also have nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and palpitations. Such types of pains are a medical emergency and the individual needs to be taken to the nearest emergency room for treatment as any delay in treatment may prove costly.
Pericarditis:Pericarditis, which is inflammation of the pericardium and myocarditis which is inflammation of the myocardium can also cause burning pain in chest and back.
Aortic Dissection: This is yet another cardiovascular cause of burning chest and back pain. The aorta carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body and runs from the heart down to the abdomen. A rupture of the aorta within the chest cavity can also cause burning chest and back pain. A rupture of the aorta is mostly caused due to a penetrating injury to the chest from a stab or a gunshot wound. A motor vehicle accident in which the steering wheel hits the chest directly may also lead to an aortic rupture causing burning chest and back pain.
Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Some episodes of chest pain occur as part of an anxiety or panic attack.
In addition to chest pain and overwhelming feelings of anxiety, these attacks can cause symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, breathlessness and dizziness.
Most panic attacks last for 5 to 20 minutes. In the long-term, you may benefit from psychological therapy and medication, or both.
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Experiencing Upper Back And Chest Pain
Your upper back is supported by the thoracic spine that runs from the base of your neck to your lower back. Your ribs also protect your chest cavity and vital organs from injury. Because your spine, ribs, and organs like the heart are so close to one another, pain in one area can cause discomfort in other areas. Here is what it might feel like to have chest and upper back pain at the same time.
Chest Tightness And Back Pain Other Causes
Chest tightness and back pain can be a sign that you need help. Many of the diseases that affect us are due to bad habits we have practiced for years. You may use medicines to help, but the best approach is to change the way you eat and live.
Medicine will help, but you will continue to experience many sicknesses unless you change. If you cut out those things that make you ill, you will soon cease to experience such issues.
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Angina And Heart Attack Risk Factors
Angina and heart attack are usually caused by underlying coronary artery disease, which has certain risk factors some you can change, others you cant.
Risk factors you can change:
- family history of heart disease
- ethnicity Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander and certain other populations are at higher risk
It is important to remember that people without these risk factors can also experience angina or a heart attack.
Can I Prevent Upper Back Pain
Preventing upper back pain when breathing is challenging if the onset of symptoms is sudden and acute. Not every potential cause is preventable. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and good hygiene practices may reduce the likelihood of developing a cardiovascular condition or infectious disease. In addition, exercising and stretching can help a person avoid muscle strains.
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What Upper Back And Chest Pain Feel Like
Infographic:Upper Back Pain
Upper back and chest pain may begin gradually and worsen over a long period of time, or it can start suddenly without explanation or after an injury. This pain is typically felt more on one side of the spine, but it can be felt on both sides. People with upper back and chest pain usually have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Dull achiness that is felt in the upper back and chest, perhaps just on one side, and/or possibly extending into the shoulder area
- Burning, sharp, or electric-like pain that may worsen with movement, possibly radiating pain along a rib from the upper back to the chest area
- Stiffness in the shoulder, chest, and/or upper back due to pain or muscle tightness, which can reduce the ability to perform basic tasks, such as getting dressed or driving
- Pressure or fullness in the chest rather than pain1
- Increased pain while breathing or trouble taking full breaths
- Trigger points in the upper back and/or chest that feel tender, sore, or tight, and can flare up and spread pain to nearby areas when touched
- Pins-and-needles tingling or numbness that might be felt along the rib or across a bigger area, possibly more in the chest or back
- Pain that spreads into the neck and/or arm, which can range from dull to sharp, and could be accompanied by tingling, numbness, and/or weakness
- Rib pain that travels along the rib or possibly between ribs
When To See A Doctor For Rib Pain And Middle Back Pain
In most cases, your upper rib cage pain in your back should go away with simple stretching exercises and back-strengthening exercises. However, in some cases of chronic middle back pain and rib pain, you should see a doctor.
According to the National Institutes of Health, you may need professional medical attention in the following circumstances:
- You have middle back pain or lower back pain that causes tingling in your legs or arms.
- You have severe back pain that wraps around your ribs that doesnt go away.
- The middle back pain persists after an injury or fall and home treatment doesnt help relieve the pain.
- You notice any changes in your bladder or bowel function along with back pain.
- You have any kind of unexplained chest pain.
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Aortic Dissection Or Rupture
The aorta is the large artery that leads blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It runs from the heart, through the chest and into the abdomen, where it divides into two arteries that enter the legs. Dissection or rupture of the aorta in the chest — called the thoracic aorta — can cause burning chest and upper back pain. In aortic dissection, the inner layer of the artery tears away from the rest of the vessel wall. This causes the artery to balloon outward and possibly burst, or rupture. Aortic rupture may also occur for other reasons, such as a major chest injury due to a car accident. Aortic dissection and rupture can be fatal and require immediate medical attention.
- The aorta is the large artery that leads blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
- Dissection or rupture of the aorta in the chest — called the thoracic aorta — can cause burning chest and upper back pain.
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What Causes A Heart Attack
To understand the connection between heart attacks and back pain, its best to know what causes a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is severely reduced or blocked.
Blockages are caused by clots, which are buildups of plaque that eventually stop blood from flowing through the arteries that feed the heart, also known as the coronary arteries. Heart attacks are deadly not just because they stop blood flow, but because they damage or destroy the heart muscle. When the heart muscle is too damaged to pump regularly or at all, the body cannot function properly.
Back And Rib Pain: Causes Of Upper To Middle Back And Rib Pain
Issues with your muscles, ligaments, or ribs in your back can often cause rib pain in the back. The middle and upper part of your spine is called the thoracic region and it helps to support your upper body. Irritation, inflammation, back rib injury, strained or pulled back muscles, or a herniated disc can all cause pain in ribs and back.
Back rib pain or middle back pain is less common than lower back pain. However, pain in your upper or middle back can cause a lot of discomfort in your day-to-day activities. Depending on the cause of mid-back pain, you may have dull aches and discomfort between your shoulder blades. Sometimes, the back pain can feel as sharp and jabbing discomfort that suddenly gets worse. Or, back muscle stiffness may make lifting your arms sore and painful.
There are many ways to get rid of back and rib pain without having to turn to painkillers. For example, hot or cold compresses can help to increase blood circulation and speed up the healing process. Or, you may have to improve your posture to ease nagging pain and prevent rib pain in your middle back. In many cases, stretching exercises strengthen and flex the strained muscles and ligaments in your middle back to relieve pain.
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Chest And Back Pain: Causes And Symptoms
Have you ever felt pain in your chest and back at the same time and you dont know what it is? This is more common than you think and these pains can indicate the presence of an alteration in your body.
A pain in the chest or upper back can indicate a disorder of the esophagus, the beginning of heart disease, muscle or bone problems, among others. The appearance of these pains in both areas can create confusion as to whether it is a gastric or cardiovascular ailment.
Next, in this FastlyHealarticle, you will have all the information about chest and back pain , what are its causes, symptoms and how to treat it .
Causes Of Burning Pain In The Chest & Back
Burning pain in the chest and back can be a symptom of a serious medical condition and requires evaluation by a doctor. The chest contains a number of different organs, so pain in the chest and back can be indicative of disorders in several possible organs, including the heart, aorta, lungs and esophagus. Burning chest and back pain may also be caused by musculoskeletal or nerve disorders.
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