There are several various reasons why you might experience chest and upper back pain together. Reasons can be related to the heart, gastrointestinal tract, as well as other parts of the body.
While some causes of chest and upper back pain aren't emergencies, others are. You must always seek emergency medical attention if you have sudden or unexplained chest pain that lasts more than a couple of minutes. Below are 10 potential causes of the upper back and chest pain.
A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the muscles of your heart is obstructed. Because of this, individuals having a heart attack might experience chest pain that can spread out right into the neck, shoulders, and also back.
Other symptoms to watch out for consist of:
- sensations of pressure or tightness in the chest;
- cold sweats;
- shortness of breath;
- feeling lightheaded or pale;
- nausea, or vomiting.
Women are more likely than men to experience heart attack pain involving the back or jaw. It's also vital to keep in mind that some people having a heart attack might experience a few symptoms or none at all.
Angina is pain that occurs when your heart tissue isn't getting enough blood. It can often happen to people with coronary artery disease. It commonly takes place while you're exercising on your own.
Similar to pain from a heart attack, angina pain can infect the shoulders, back, and also neck. Angina signs and symptoms can vary in men and women. Women might feel pain in the back, neck, or abdomen along with or instead of chest discomfort.
Other angina symptoms can consist of:
- feeling fatigued or weak;
- shortness of breath;
- feeling lightheaded or pale;
- nausea or vomiting.
Heartburn happens when the acid or components of your stomach returns up into your esophagus. This triggers a painful, shedding experience in your chest, behind your breastbone. It might also sometimes be felt in your back or abdominal area.
Heartburn often tends to be worse after eating a meal or in the evening. You might likewise notice an acidic taste in your mouth or discomfort that worsens while lying or bending over.
Being pregnant, obese, or overweight can additionally boost your threat of creating heartburn. Some foods can also cause the problem, including spicy foods, citrus, and fatty foods.
Pleurisy occurs when the membrane layers that line your lungs and chest cavity become inflamed. Generally, these membranes move smoothly past each other. When they're inflamed, they can scrub against each other, which causes pain.
Pleurisy can be triggered by a variety of things, consisting of infections, autoimmune problems, and cancers. The pain of pleurisy becomes worse as you inhale deeply or cough. It can also infect your shoulders and back.
Other symptoms that can happen consist of:
- shortness of breath;
- high temperature;
- unexplainable weight loss.
Your gallbladder is a small organ that stores a digestive fluid called bile. Gallstones happen when this fluid solidifies inside your gallbladder, developing stones.
Gallstones may cause pain to happen in several places, consisting of:
- the upper right area of your abdomen;
- right below your breastbone;
- between your shoulder blades;
- in your right shoulder.
The amount of time you experience discomfort from gallstones can last for a few mins to several hours. You may likewise experience symptoms like nausea or vomiting.
Numerous risk factors may increase your risk of gallstones, including being female, being pregnant, and also being obese or overweight.
The pericardium lines the surface of your heart. Pericarditis takes place when the pericardium becomes inflamed. An infection or autoimmune condition can trigger it. It can additionally take place after a heart attack or heart surgery.
Pericarditis causes sharp chest pain. This pain may worsen while breathing deeply, lying, or swallowing. The discomfort from pericarditis may likewise be felt as discomfort in the left shoulder, back, or neck.
Other symptoms to be aware of:
- dry coughing;
- feelings of fatigue;
- trouble breathing while lying;
- swelling in your lower extremities.
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Sometimes muscular problems might cause pain in the chest and upper back. Recurring use or overuse of several muscle groups, as an example with tasks such as rowing, can cause aching pain in the chest, back, or chest wall.
Other symptoms you may experience include muscle stiffness, muscle mass twitching, and sensations of tiredness.
Your aorta is the largest artery in your body. An aortic aneurysm takes place when part of the aorta becomes weakened. In many cases, this compromised area might tear, which can result in serious blood loss. This is called aortic dissection.
Many times, an aortic aneurysm will develop with very little or no symptoms at all. Nonetheless, some individuals might feel pain or tenderness in their chests. In several cases, discomfort might additionally occur in your back.
Other signs to watch out for include:
- shortness of breath;
- feeling hoarse.
In some cases, a pinched nerve in the upper part of the spine might create pain to radiate to the area of the upper body and possibly to the extremities.
In addition to pain, other symptoms you might experience include muscle spasms and stiffness in the affected area of the back, which might restrict movement. Additionally, there are some case studies in which a herniated disc in the upper back has created pain in the chest or chest wall surface.
Chest and back pain can additionally take place as a symptom of lung cancer. Although chest discomfort is a usual symptom, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute reports that 25 percent of individuals with lung cancer cells experienced back pain as a symptom.
Back pain from lung cancer can happen when a tumor in the lungs starts to put pressure on the back. Pain from lung cancer may feel even worse when you breathe deeply, laugh, or cough.
Along with chest and also back pain, other symptoms of lung cancer can consist of:
- persistent cough, which may include blood;
- feeling hoarse;
- shortness of breath or wheezing;
- feeling weak or fatigued;
- unexplained weight loss;
- recurring lung infections, such as pneumonia.
The treatment for your upper back and also chest discomfort will depend upon the underlying reason.
- Heart attack
Some treatments for heart attacks are typically given instantly. These can consist of aspirin to limit blood clotting, nitroglycerin to improve blood circulation, and also oxygen therapy. Clot-busting medications, which aid in breaking up any blood clots, may then be given.
A procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) can help open up any kind of arteries that are found to be narrowed or blocked. This procedure uses a little balloon connected to a catheter to compress plaque or clotted blood against the wall of the affected artery and restore blood flow.
Other potential therapies can consist of:
- drugs to help prevent another heart attack, such as ACE inhibitors, blood thinners, or beta-blockers;
- heart bypass surgery;
- lifestyle adjustments such as a heart-healthy diet plan, increasing physical activity, as well as managing stress;
A variety of medications can be prescribed to help with angina. These drugs might stop embolism, minimize angina pain, or widen blood vessels. Examples of angina medications consist of:
- calcium channel blockers;
- blood thinners;
Heart-healthy lifestyle adjustments will also be recommended as part of your treatment plan. If drugs and lifestyle adjustments can not efficiently handle the condition, procedures such as PCI and heart bypass surgery might be necessary.
Several over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be utilized to soothe heartburn. These can include antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. If OTC medications aren't assisting in alleviating your signs, your medical professional might suggest you stronger medicines.
Pleurisy can be treated with addressing the underlying problem that might be causing it. Medicines might also help relieve signs, consisting of acetaminophen or NSAIDs for pain, and cough syrups to alleviate cough.
Sometimes, liquid might need to be removed from the afflicted area. This can help to prevent lung collapse.
Often gallstones do not require treatment. Sometimes, your medical professional might suggest medication to help dissolve the gallstones. People with reoccurring gallstones may have their gallbladder removed.
Pericarditis can be handled with treatments that relieve inflammation and discomfort, such as NSAIDs. If these aren't effective, your physician might prescribe a stronger anti-inflammatory medication.
If an infection is causing your condition, an antibiotic or antifungal drug will also be prescribed. In some cases, you might need a procedure to drain fluid. This can help reduce pressure on your heart.
- Musculoskeletal pain
Muscle issues that cause upper back and chest discomfort may be treated with rest and also medications that relieve pain and inflammation, such as NSAIDs. Applying warm to the afflicted area may additionally help. In extreme situations, physical therapy might be suggested.
- Aortic aneurysm
Sometimes, your physician will recommend monitoring your aneurysm utilizing imaging technology such as CT scan or MRI scan. In addition, your physician might prescribe medicines such as beta-blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers, and statins to help lower blood pressure or cholesterol levels.
Individuals with larger aortic aneurysms may require repair surgery. This can be done through open-chest surgery or endovascular surgical procedure. Emergency surgery is required for an aortic aneurysm that has ruptured.
- Spine issues
Treatment for spinal problems relies on their severity. It can include lowering your activity level and taking medications such as NSAIDs and also muscle relaxers to help with pain or inflammation. Physical therapy exercises may likewise be advised.
More severe situations might call for surgical treatment to fix them.
- Lung cancer
Several therapies can help to treat lung cancer. Which type is used depends on the type of lung cancer and how much cancer has spread out. Your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan that's right for you.
Therapy alternatives can consist of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. Additionally, surgery might be recommended to remove the cancer tissue.
Here are some great guidelines for preventing most of the causes of the upper back and chest pain:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet;
- Make sure that you get enough workout;
- Keep a healthy weight;
- Avoid smoking cigarettes and secondhand smoke;
- Limit alcohol consumption;
- Manage your stress levels;
- Remain on top of your routine physical consultations and make sure to see your medical professional if new or worrisome symptoms appear.
Some extra tips consist of:
- Limit foods that might trigger heartburn, such as hot foods, fatty foods, or acidic foods.
- Try not to lay down right after eating to avoid heartburn symptoms.
- Avoid eating late or large meals to help prevent gallstones.
- Stretch appropriately before engaging in exercise or sporting activities to avoid muscular tissue injury or stress.