FROM OUR EXPERTS
When we live with pain on a daily basis, we often wonder if a new pain is something we should be concerned about. It can be particularly difficult to tell if you have a condition like fibromyalgia, where the pain typically moves around from day to day. Right or wrong, most of us wait to see if the pain gets worse before getting it checked out. But when it's chest pain, we naturally wonder if we could be having a heart attack. Heart Attack Symptoms So how do we know when chest pain is something to worry about? Following are signs that can indicate a possible heart attack: • Uncomfortable pain, pressure, squeezing or fullness in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. • Discomfort that spreads to other areas of the upper body including the back, neck, jaw, stomach, shoulders, or one or both arms. • Shortness of breath. • Sweating, anxiety, nausea, or lightheadedness. • A feel...
Sometimes back pain is not strictly related to spinal structures. Sometimes back pain comes from other places, specifically internal organs. In a process called referred pain , internal organs can send pain signals to other parts of the body. For example, when someone is experiencing a heart attack, the left arm may ache. Nothing is wrong with the arm, but this limb hurts because the heart is referring pain to it. The neck, mid-back and low back are also potential targets for referred pain. Here are two examples when "back pain" has nothing to do with spinal problems.
Gallbladder : The gallbladder is a small organ tucked up near the liver that helps with digestion. Within this internal organ problems can arise like a blockage from a stone, an infection, or just an inflamed gallbladder attack. Sometimes the symptoms clearly point to a problem with the gallbladder. These classic symptoms include right upper quadrant abdominal pain just underneath the right chest wall, nausea, gas, ...
Back pain - nonspecific
Low back pain
Pain in any part of the back
Pain may radiate to the buttocks or upper leg(s)
Signs and tests
A physical examination focused on the back, the abdomen, and the extremities may confirm back pain or muscle spasm , but the examination does not reveal a specific cause (such as a herniated disk) or any neurological problem (such as weakness or change in sensation).
X-rays of the spine are usually normal. Further work-up may include a CT scan or MRI of the spine .
You should know
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