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Most people tend to believe that, when they feel chest and upper back pain, they are experiencing or about to experience a heart attack. This is not the case, as most pain in this area is due to issues in the back or diaphragm rather than the heart itself. Back issues, such as spinal compression or a herniated disc, can cause pain in the chest since many of the muscles and tendons that originate in the upper back can extend into the chest area. Tightness due to back pain can cause pain throughout the diaphragm and the ribs.
While the good news is the sufferer is most likely not having a heart attack, the bad news is that this pain can be just as painful and problematic. In many cases, back pain is caused by weak or tight muscles, and stretching and exercise can help relieve the pain. In other instances, spinal compression may cause back and chest pain, which may require physical therapy or a regular exercise and stretching routine to fix. More serious issues, such as a herniated disc in the spine, may require a simple remedy such as rest and exercise, but they may also require a more intensive treatment. In some cases, a herniated disc requires surgery.
Nerve damage can certainly cause chest and upper back pain, especially if a person is experiencing spinal compression or a herniated disc. As pressure is placed on a nerve, the areas serviced by that nerve may experience sharp pain, numbness, tingling, or even a loss of motor control. To treat nerve pain, it is important to figure out what is causing it; if a person feels upper back pain in conjunction with nerve pain that may stretch throughout the diaphragm, shoulders, and arms, the nerve pain may very well be the result of spinal compression or a herniated disc.
Weak muscles are more likely than strong ones to become tired, and when muscles become tired, they tend to tighten up. When this occurs, the muscles may pull on the spine or other bones and tendons in the body, thereby misaligning the diaphragm. This can cause pain in the chest and back, as well as in other areas of the body. The best way to remedy this situation is to participate in a regular exercise and stretching routine that strengthens the muscles and keeps them limber, reducing the possibility that they will tighten up and cause alignment issues.