What causes neck pain to radiate to the chest?

What causes neck pain to radiate to the chest?
What causes neck pain to radiate to the chest?

What causes neck pain to radiate to the chest is a common question we get as neck health experts.

There is a condition where neck issues, such as cervical spine disorders, lead to referred pain in the chest.  The mimicking of symptoms of angina from the neck is called cervicogenic angina.

Cervicogenic angina refers to chest pain and discomfort mimicking angina pectoris but is caused by cervical spine pathology, particularly cervical spondylosis and radiculopathy.

We will outline several factors that may contribute to its development.

Various factors causing neck pain to radiate to the chest.

  1. Nerve compression: The first proposed mechanism for cervicogenic angina and dyspnea involved the compression of the cervical nerve roots.
    • Approximately 70-72.6% of cervicogenic angina cases are caused by compression of the cervical nerve root, particularly the C4-8.
  2. Referred pain:  The nerve compression can lead to referred pain and sensory disturbances in the anterior chest and upper extremities.
    • Compression of the C4-C8 nerve roots, which carry innervation to the pectoralis muscles, can cause pain in the anterior chest wall.
  3. Muscle Tension: Muscle tension and spasms in the neck and shoulder region can also contribute to the condition. These muscle issues can radiate pain into the chest area.
  4. Posture and Ergonomics: Poor posture, especially when using electronic devices or sitting at a desk for extended periods, can strain the neck and contribute to referred chest pain.
  5. Stress and Tension: Emotional stress and tension can lead to muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, potentially causing referred chest pain.

To confirm the cervicogenic origin of the patient’s symptoms, a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation should be performed, including the patient’s history and physical examination.

Diagnosis and management of cervicogenic angina typically involve addressing the underlying cervical spine issues and relieving the associated pain.  If you experience chest pain or discomfort, it’s crucial to seek medical evaluation to rule out any cardiac-related issues. Our team will be happy to provide a thorough neck health examination once cardiac causes have been ruled out.

Conservative management, including specialized physical therapy care, should be considered in patients presenting with cervicogenic angina and dyspnea. We provide a comprehensive treatment approach through our Cervicogenic Angina Relief Program.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can help you!