If you’ve been experiencing chest pain, it’s remotely possible that the cause could be coming from your neck.
However, it’s far more likely to be coming from either acid reflux, a musculoskeletal problem in the chest region, or a problem with your heart.
Chest pain actually has a wide variety of many causes including bronchitis, pneumonia and muscle spasms from the workout the day before.
Heart problems that cause chest pain include clogged or spasming arteries, rhythm disturbances and valvular narrowing.
But can chest pain ever be caused by a neck problem?
“A thoracic disc herniation can pinch a nerve that can cause pain radiating around the trunk and into the chest,” says John D. Lipani, MD, FACS, neurosurgeon-in-chief for and founding director of Princeton Neurological Surgery in NJ.
“But this is uncommon.” It’s even more unlikely if 1) you’ve never been diagnosed with a disc herniation in that area, and 2) you have no other symptoms suggestive of a thoracic or cervical disc herniation (back pain, tingling or shooting pain down an arm, hand weakness).
If you’ve been having new-onset chest pain and notice it comes on only when you move your neck about, this would suggest a muscle related cause.
In fact, strained back muscles (as in, “I threw my back out”) can cause chest discomfort when a person deeply inhales. The neck may also hurt upon certain movements.
But if your chest pain is also accompanied by feeling short of breath, nausea, faintness, sudden weakness, sweating, arm or jaw pain – don’t try to convince yourself that any of these other symptoms are being caused by an innocent neck problem.
Get to the emergency room as soon as possible – especially if the chest pain arises whenever you exert yourself.
Dr. Lipani is a board certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeon. His specialties include minimally invasive spine surgery and non-invasive brain and spine radiosurgery. He’s the founding director of the JD Lipani Radiosurgery Institute™ for non-invasive neurosurgery.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.