Is Back Pain a Symptom of Heart Attack?

Back pain as a symptom of a heart attack can be somewhat atypical, but it does occur in some cases. This type of pain is often described as aching, pressure, or a sharp, stabbing sensation in the upper back or between the shoulder blades. It may also radiate down the arms.

It’s important to understand that not all back pain is related to heart issues. Back pain can have various causes, such as muscle strains, herniated discs, or arthritis. However, when back pain is accompanied by other heart attack symptoms, it should not be ignored.

Common heart attack symptoms include:

  • Chest discomfort: This is the most common symptom. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the chest, which may last for a few minutes or come and go.
  • Shortness of breath: You may have difficulty breathing, even if you haven’t been physically active.
  • Pain or discomfort in other areas: As mentioned earlier, this can include back pain, jaw pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, or pain that radiates down the arm (usually the left arm).
  • Nausea or lightheadedness: You might feel nauseous, break into a cold sweat, or become lightheaded.

If you or someone you are with experiences these symptoms, especially chest discomfort along with other warning signs, it’s crucial to call emergency services immediately. Rapid response and treatment can greatly improve the chances of survival and recovery from a heart attack.

Remember that symptoms can vary from person to person, and women, in particular, may experience different or more subtle signs of a heart attack. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention if you suspect a heart problem.