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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Upper back pain with chest tightness and trouble breathing

 tdavid2010 - Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:45 pm

Hi, I'm a 16 year old male who is having some back pain. I am in good physical shape. This afternoon I got some what started as some moderately uncomfortable pain in the upper left part of my back. The pain can extend down into my lower back sometimes. It's all on my left side. I also notice I am breathing irregularly and the left side of my chest feels rather tight. My parents are not sure if this is serious enough to go hike up to the ER and probably spend most of my night there.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:44 pm

User avatar Hello -

Hopefully by now the problem was diagnosed and resolved, but it could have been one of several things, some more worth the ER visit than others. Since the pain was one-sided and you were having some difficulty breathing, you might have had pleurisy (an irritation of the lining between the lung and diaphragm, and can be quite painful in the area you describe, especially when inhaling); you could have had a small pneumothorax, where a small "bleb" or thin spot on a lung pops, allowing some air into the pleural space with similar results. This would be worth ruling out at the ER.

Were the pain and tightness not one-sided I might have suggested asthma, which can sneak up on some people with similar symptoms, but almost always bilateral (on both sides).

Then again, you might have pulled a muscle. At any rate, I hope you are now feeling much better. Please do follow up with us and let us know how things turned out.

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