Shortness of Breath & Upper Back Pain


Shortness of breath and upper back pain should be treated seriously as they could signal an impending heart attack. Other serious conditions also share these symptoms, so seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing them. Once you have ruled out more serious causes, you can pursue treatments to improve your situation.

Serious Causes

Shortness of breath and upper back pain are symptoms of a number of conditions including heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, coronary artery disease, fibromyalgia, lung disorder, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, emphysema and angina.

Other Potential Causes

Other causes could be asthma, anxiety, anemia or muscle strain.

Also Known As

Shortness of breath is also referred to as dyspnea or SOB. Upper back pain is also called thoracic pain.


Rigorous treatments under the guidance of a medical professional should be pursued, especially if the cause is believed to be heart or lung-related. For less serious conditions, chiropractic manipulation, massage therapy and acupuncture are treatments that could be sought. Also, because anxiety is often diagnosed once other conditions have been ruled out, stress relief is important.


Preventative techniques include avoiding narcotics and tobacco products, exercising regularly, breathing from your abdomen and ensuring that your sleep and work environments are ergonomically designed for optimal posture and breathing.

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