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Chest or Back Pain

By

Jonathan Gotfried

, MD, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Last full review/revision Mar 2020| Content last modified Mar 2020
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Some symptoms are more suggestive of esophageal disorders. Severe pain that occurs suddenly after vomiting or after a procedure involving the esophagus suggests a rupture of the esophagus, although this is rare. Heartburn is a burning pain caused by GERD that rises into the chest and sometimes the neck and throat, usually after meals or when lying down. Heartburn is among the most common digestive symptoms in the United States. Difficulty swallowing Difficulty Swallowing Some people have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). In dysphagia, foods and/or liquids do not move normally from the throat (pharynx) to the stomach. People feel as though food or liquids become... read more and discomfort that occurs only with swallowing also suggest an esophageal disorder. Chest discomfort that occurs routinely with exertion and goes away after a brief rest suggests a heart problem. However, because symptoms frequently overlap, and because heart disease is particularly dangerous, doctors often do a chest x-ray X-Rays of the Chest Anyone thought to have a heart disorder has chest x-rays taken from the front and the side. Typically, the person is standing upright, but chest x-rays can be done with people lying in bed if... read more X-Rays of the Chest , an electrocardiogram Electrocardiography Electrocardiography (ECG) is a quick, simple, painless procedure in which the heart’s electrical impulses are amplified and recorded. This record, the electrocardiogram (also known as an ECG)... read more Electrocardiography (ECG), and sometimes a cardiac stress test Stress Testing Stressing the heart (by exercise or by use of stimulant drugs to make the heart beat faster and more forcibly) can help identify coronary artery disease. In coronary artery disease, blood flow... read more Stress Testing before doing tests to look for esophageal disease.

Treatment of Chest or Back Pain

  • Depends on cause

Treatment of chest or back pain is usually given only when the cause is known, but people with very typical symptoms of GERD may be given a trial of acid-blocking drugs.

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Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are dilated, twisted (varicose) veins in the wall of the rectum and anus (anorectal area). Increased pressure in the veins of the anorectal area can lead to hemorrhoids. Which of the following is NOT a common cause of increased pressure that may lead to hemorrhoids?
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