How to Relieve Upper Back and Chest Pain

Your back consists of five lumbar vertebrae and a variety of muscles, ligaments and tendons. A pinched nerve in the upper back can cause pain, numbness or weakness.

A dull ache that comes and goes is usually nothing to worry about, but sharp pain that radiates into the chest could be a sign of a serious medical problem like a pulmonary embolism. Seek immediate medical care.
1. Stretch It Out

The upper back muscles work in conjunction with the ribs to protect vital organs such as the heart and lungs. They can become tight and painful if you injure them. Similarly, issues that begin in your chest, such as acid reflux disease, can also cause pain in the upper back.

Fortunately, upper back pain is not typically a sign of serious illness and can often be relieved with rest or light exercise. Stretching can help to release tension in your muscles, especially those in the shoulder and chest area. Before stretching, you should always perform a warm-up routine that lasts about 6 minutes and stretches all of the major muscle groups in the body.
2. Get Some Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep can help to alleviate upper back and chest pain by allowing your body to rest. If your pain is preventing you from sleeping, speak to your doctor about finding some relief techniques that can work for you.

Sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees to maintain the natural curve of your lower spine can help reduce back pain in this area. For those who are side sleepers, try placing a small rolled towel under your waist or a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck to reduce strain on your back muscles.

If you’re experiencing severe chest and/or back pain, it may be a sign of a serious medical condition that needs immediate attention. Seek emergency care if necessary.
3. Take a Hot Bath

The muscles in the chest and upper back work together, so a problem with one can affect the other. For example, a herniated disc in the thoracic spine can compress a nerve that runs between the ribs, causing pain that travels down the ribs to the chest.

Chest pain that is accompanied by back or neck pain may indicate a serious problem, such as pneumonia or a blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism). This kind of chest pain has sudden onset and gets worse with deep breathing.

Taking a hot bath or using a heating pad can reduce muscle stiffness and pain by increasing circulation and relaxing the muscles. It also helps to relieve pressure on the joints. If the pain persists, talk to your doctor.
4. Get Some Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Pain relievers can help to ease back pain and chest pain caused by many conditions. Both acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) can reduce fever, relieve pain, and lessen inflammation.

Muscle strain and sprain, as well as pinched nerves can cause upper back pain. Muscle strain happens when you overwork a muscle, and sprain occurs when you overstretch or tear ligaments. Both can lead to dull or sharp, localized pain, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

If you have pain in your chest and back, it’s important to see a doctor. It could be a sign of something serious, such as a heart attack. If your chest pain is accompanied by other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, sweating, or fainting, get emergency medical care.
5. Talk to Your Doctor

Pain in the chest and back can be due to many things. It can be as simple as gas or heartburn, or it can be a warning sign of a dangerous condition like a heart attack or a lung blood clot called a pulmonary embolism. The location, severity, and timing of the pain are important pieces of information to share with your doctor to help diagnose what’s causing it.

Your upper and middle back, called the thoracic spine, is made up of 12 small bones known as vertebrae that connect to your ribs. When the soft tissues that support these muscles become irritated, they may send erroneous signals that cause chest and back pain. If the pain is sudden and intense, it’s a medical emergency and requires immediate to relieve upper back and chest pain