What Are Some Causes of Thoracic Pain in the Back and Chest?


Quick Answer

Causes of back and thoracic, or chest, pain include coronary artery disease, myocardial infarctions and coronary artery dissections, according to WebMD. Individuals who experience chest pain that spreads to the back, left arm or jaw should seek immediate emergency medical attention as these conditions can be life threatening.

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Full Answer

With coronary artery disease, blocked arteries restrict blood flow to the heart, which can result in chest pain that spreads to the back, explains WebMD. This angina, or pain due to reduced blood flow, can also spread to other parts of the upper body, including the arms, shoulder and jaw. Patients with coronary artery disease are at a heightened risk for heart attacks. Resting can ease angina, and physical and emotional stress can exacerbate the pain.

With a myocardial infarction, or heart attack, the pain similarly starts in the chest and can spread to the back, jaw, arms or throat, but it is typically more sudden and severe, states WebMD. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, racing or irregular heart rhythms, dizziness, sweating and nausea. A coronary artery dissection is the result of a tear in the coronary artery and produces sharp chest pains, which can spread to the back, abdomen and neck.

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