For many people, the sudden onset of chest and upper back pain is an extremely frightening experience. Most people will think that they are experiencing a heart attack right off, having never felt pain in their chest before. It can begin as a dull pain and rapidly grow to feel like something is sticking through your chest. But the most common cause of chest and upper back pain is simply poor posture, both while sitting and while standing. When the muscle groups connecting your shoulder blades to your upper back get stressed, overstretched, or cramped, they cause chest and upper back pain. If the pain becomes sharper or worse when you breathe deeply, then the pain is most likely posture related.
In order to understand why this occurs, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of the muscular structure of the chest and upper back. There are three main muscle groups in your chest and upper back that are responsible for this pain you feel. They are the trapezius, the pectoralis major, and the latissimus dorsi. The latissimus are the pair of large, flat muscle groups running vertically down either side of your back. They connect the upper arm to the lower back, allowing you to rotate your arm. The pectoralis major, or pecs, are the large muscles that connect your arms to your breastbone. The trapezius muscles are two large, triangular muscle that connect your shoulder blades to your upper back. They help to move your shoulders and arms.
An exercise that can help relieve this type of chest and upper back pain is the shoulder raise. Standing upright and straight, raise your shoulders as far as you can with your arms hanging at your sides. Do not lower you shoulders, and begin rotating them towards your back. Do this ten times, then allow your shoulders to return to a relaxed position. Do this exercise twice a day to help relieve your chest and upper back pain. Having someone perform focused massage on these three muscle groups can also help with your chest and upper back pain. Swimming or some water aerobics can be beneficial as well, exercising your arms and chest without putting excessive of a strain on them.
But remember, any cheat pain can be heart related. It is better to be safe than sorry, so go talk to a doctor if you experience any kind of chest pains. If it is not heart-related, the doctor should be the one to make that determination.