Back pain may occur on its own at first before causing chest pain. Back and chest pain can also be progressive, meaning it worsens over time. Progressive pain can begin as a dull, aching pain and develop into a sharp burning sensation with certain movements. Sometimes chest and back pain can be caused by injury or overuse of muscles.
Injuries can happen due to things like accidents or falls. Chest and back pain can be a cause for concern, especially if a person has an undiagnosed condition, such as heart disease or cancer. Pain on the left or in the center of the back, in combination with chest pain, could be related to a heart condition or heart problems. If you experience chest pain along with back pain, seek emergency medical attention.
Pericarditis can cause pain and discomfort in the chest, upper back, and left side of the body, and can worsen when you lie down or take a deep breath. When in doubt, if you are concerned about your chest and back pain, go to an emergency room and follow up with your doctor for ongoing care. When the muscles that support your upper back and chest become aggravated and inflamed, it can cause pain and discomfort in those areas that may worsen with certain movements. There are several different types of treatment depending on the cause of upper back and chest pain.
If you have sudden chest pain along with other symptoms of a heart attack or emergency condition, you may need to go to the emergency room. A pinched nerve in the neck or upper back can cause back pain that radiates to the chest and can mimic the pain of heart disease. For other causes of chest or back pain, your provider will give you clear instructions on how to treat or manage your condition. Heartburn is caused by stomach acid moving into the throat, causing a burning sensation in the chest.
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. A bruised or broken (fractured) rib could also cause pain in the chest or in the middle or upper back, especially when a person breathes in. However, chest and back pain can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a heart attack. Pain in the center to the left side of the chest and back could be a symptom of one of the heart conditions listed below.
While you may experience chest pain or back pain for a number of reasons, in some cases you may experience both at the same time. Read on to learn more about common causes of chest and back pain, when to seek help, and what you can do to relieve symptoms. It's important to understand when chest and back pain is an emergency and what to do about it, as well as when it can resolve on its own.