A combination of chest and back pain should be taken seriously, for it may be life-threatening. Chest pain in particular can signify any number of emergency threats to your health, including but not limited to heart attack, pneumonia, angina, pulmonary embolism, or even cancer. Get to a doctor or go to the hospital as soon as you can.
Pay close attention to your chest pain and back pain symptoms. Make notes on the details of your condition, if you can. This may help with diagnosing your condition for the most effective treatment, especially if this is your first experience with these symptoms.
The main determination to make is whether the pain you are experiencing is the short-term result of a strain or injury, or indicative of a long-term, or chronic, condition.
A key point to bear in mind is that any severe muscle strain can impact muscle groups next to it. Upper back muscles and many chest muscles work together for the purpose of breathing. Muscular injury usually heals itself within a few weeks.
Sometimes chest pain happens with back pain due to spinal injury, which causes nerve endings to fire into other parts of the body. A pinched nerve in the mid- to upper spine region is a common cause of back and chest pain.
If a bone condition or spinal disk is causing the pain, any chest pain will resolve once the back pain is treated and relieved. Likewise, if the rib cage is damaged or broken, it is common for severe pain to emerge in the upper back.
Diaphragm injury is a frequent cause of upper back and chest pain together. Since the heart and diaphragm share the same pain pattern, diaphragm problems cause chest pain, as well as tightening the upper back.
Many times, chest pain and back pain occur together when one area grows inflamed and spreads the pain to other regions of the body. It can also occur when someone with heart disease has a heart attack. Lung inflammation or infection, such as from pleurisy, is another possible cause. Chronic pain of this nature may even have a psychological basis. When the upper back and the chest hurt at the same time, it can be difficult to know what is really happening, and this is why it often takes an exam to sort things out.
Treatments for Pain
If breathing brings on the pain, then you may need to find a breath pattern that reduces your pain. Slower, deeper breaths may be less painful than frequent, shallow ones. Anything you can do to encourage relaxation, and to avoid moving the body into positions that increase pain, is always advisable.
Drugs may provide short-term relief of inflammation and other symptoms. Rest may ease the suffering. Cold or hot compresses on the pain site may soothe the pain as well.
Various forms of massage may bring some relief, and some have found that chiropractic care helps them. Both massage and chiropractic place an emphasis on spinal alignment and muscle tissue stretching.
When this type of pain is due to heart disease or a similar condition, changes in lifestyle may be necessary in order to achieve long-term pain relief. Such changes could include exercise and diet. Again, the main thing to remember regarding back and chest pain together is to get yourself checked out by qualified medical help immediately.