Pain upper chest/top of breast

Does anyone experience pain on top of the chest, above the breasts? I have persistent pain that apparently is not due to heart, nor lungs, nor costochondritis. The pain is sharp and sometimes travels to the back. Heat doesn't seem to improve it. I had it for few days now, last week it went worse, I went to a&e but heart and lungs ok and no infection. Rheumatologist thinks it might be slipping rib syndrome and gave me strong painkillers but what if it isn't and I'm masking something else. Any views? The pain is sharp, not burning and seems to be more towards the right side, above right breast, towards the armpit.

45 Replies

  • I had similar pain which turned out to be a very tiny dislocation of the spine and rib cage. I ended up seeing a well respected chiropractor who saw the tiny abnormality on the x-ray and was able to resolve it in a few sessions. As with all things, check with your GP or Rheumatologist before consulting another medical professional. To keep in alignment, I have been going to a local community center pool that is year round do do "aqua exercises".

  • My brother had similar pain and say definitely get an MRI

  • I get this also! It seems to start as like a circle of pain near the centre of my chest a little to the right just above breast level and the pain reaches my armpit. My cardiologist seems to think its inflammation in the area rather than associated with my heart issues. Mine seems to flare up for a few weeks at a time x x

  • Mine too, it is very odd. I have started the painkiller from my rheumatologist but the side effects are not nice so I didn't continue. I just hope it will get better on its own.

  • Hi, I also get this. I think it is inflammation as it seems to flare up when I have been working hard or been carrying shopping or clapping. Clapping is the worst time. I hope you feel better soon. I find gentle stretching helps. Just simply linking your hands behind your back to open your chest area up. GENTLY being the important instruction.

  • I also noticed that it is getting worse when I lift/carry stuff! I will start the stretching now that I know it helps, when I have this pain I tend to just protect the area rather than do any exercise. Thank you for the tip.

  • Thank u Sollyn. I tried this simple stretch & had immediate relief! I have been suffering for 3 days with this pain!

  • I had this kind of pain for months and it stopped when I cut out caffeinated coffee. worth a try ?

  • That's very interesting, I was going to see a gastroenterologist in case this pain also comes from acid reflux and coffee is one of the things that should be avoided for that. I absolutely love coffee but I'd gladly cut it out just so I don't get this terrible pain!

  • I get left side sharp chest and arm pain, palpitations and breathlessness from reflux. I didn't want to take PPIs (because reflux can be low acid too and when I took PPIs I felt like I was going to expire), so I cut out aggravating foods - gluten and indeed carb rich diet, caffeine, tomatoes etc etc. Took unpasturised apple cider vinegar before meals. Propped myself up in bed better.

    It could be anything, but if you know you suffer from GERD it might be one avenue to consider.

  • I will try this. Thanks

  • The stretching is the counter pose to the guarding and also washes your muscles some how. I just know that it helps and feels great!

  • I will definitely try it, I am so relieved that I am not the only one having this! Many thanks.

  • I can remember when I first had it, I thought I was going to die! Luckily not life threatening lol.

  • Thanks for this, I thought it was all in my head. My rheumy said it was inflammation. It gets so severe that I end up in a & e. the pain is usually just there!

  • Really strange...

    I saw my GP a month ago as I had exactly the same pain... She told me is was "stress" have a hot bath and relax... Thank God I found this site, I'm not feeling BoNkErS anymore, or if I am, all the people on here are too... which can possibly be the case.

    (I am now in the process of changing my GP)


  • I am by now surgically attached to my hot water bottle, the warmth helps with the pain and hot bath does too. Stretching, as suggested by sollyn above works too, I found, thank you sollyn. Mine hasn't gone away completely, has yours? What did you use in the end? It amazes me that there is no collective medical body that records these symptoms and informs the specialists, looks into causes and finds solutions, so many people experience it!

  • I like you use a Hotwater bottle and painkiller - and like you it is still there at times, not like it was when it first started - although it has come back very strong at times, but generally not.

    I must say - I shocked by the lack on consistancy, or grouping together of knowlegde shown by the medical people... It is shocking.

    How hard would it be to collate information and share it in 2012!!! with all the technology available... x

  • I get pain like this. I have both Lupus and schleroderma which has affected my lungs, oesophagus & have a hiatus hernia. The pain in th shoulderblade has been put down to the acid reflux and indigestion so hopefully the gastroenterologist will be helpful.

    Good luck

  • I'm having the same issue. Did you ever find out what it was?

  • Mine went away once the hydroxy really started to have effect. I put it down to inflammation in the chest area. It took me almost a year for it to resolve. I also have had pericarditis and still have some fluid around the heart from it, so that could have been a factor.

    Doctors focus on tests - if the tests show nothing, then they'll just give you painkillers. For me the painkillers did nothing to resolve this, so I stopped taking them. Eventually the pain went away once the lupus got more under control.

  • Hi, I apologise for the length of my story in advance!!

    Im 24 male.. I have a 1 year old daughter! I started a bar managent job in May! and i am Hugely involved in sports! I was playing a hurling final on the sunday and did not receive an injury!

    Went to work monday as normal! I woke 2 days with chest pains on my left side and was rushed to hospital here in Ireland! I was sent home 3 hours later and was told it was an anxiety attack!!

    3 days later pain was still there, worse then the first day! This time i was rushed to hospital because they thought i was verging on a heart attack! I got ecgs, ultra sounds, xrays, physio.. Nothing showed up so was sent home again a week later!!

    Pain was still there, i was crouched over clutching my chest and my left shoulder, i could feel my heart rubbing against my ribs.. At this stage i had not slept more the 2 hours in nearly 3 weeks.. Went back to my doctor and he sent me back to hospital.. The did an echo on my heart and discovered that i did in fact have pericarditis and a 'rub'..

    It took 4 weeks and 4 days for that to ease, But just as that door was closing, another opened!! I went into a fit of palpitations on a sunday night and again the monday nnight causing my heart to go into atrial fibrillation and a feeling i would not wish on my worst enemy!!

    I got the irregular heart beat resolved and am now out of hospital just over 3 weeks now.. About 2/3 days after i got out i got these pains in my chest on the right side.. It stayed for about a week and i passed no heed on them!! They recently returned 2 days ago.. I tried the stretching and didn't work for me.. I may as well be taking softmints instead of painkillers as they are not helping!!

    Any other tips guys? I got quite a shock with this occurrence and still quite scared..

    Thanks!! :)

  • Have they checked for pericarditis? That's inflammation of the sack around your heart. It isn't always obvious at ECG, so you need a proper cardiologist to have a good look. The good news is that if you have it, ibuprofen or even steroids would sort it out. That feeling as if your heart is rubbing against the chest - that's pericarditis. The heart actually is rubbing against ribs, poor thing.

    How are you feeling otherwise? Any flu-like feeling? Pericarditis makes you feel like that.

    Try not to panic and see if you can get a cardiologist to do a heart ultrasound and see whether there is any inflammation and/or fluid around your heart. Let us know how you get on.

  • I have gone through all that! If The pericarditis has not got, it has reduced hugely but this pain in my right side of my chest started a couple of days after leaving hospital!! Stayed for the guts of a week and left but now is back again and worse than before :(

  • Have they checked for chostocondritis? It is inflammation of the ribs and very very painful. If you put this term into the search box above you'll get loads of posts about it. You're not alone in this.

    Have a read and see. If you still have concerns, write a new post yourself (rather than respond to an old one) to ensure a wider review and response.

    I'm sorry you're going through this. To be this young and have such painful experience is no fun, I'm sure.

  • hi! im just 16 years old TT^TT i feel the same~ thanks for all the advice up their :D

  • same as heart attack pains, , varies every time could be across chest , trough to the back , on one side.

    do you get any numbness with yours at all.


  • I am experiencing the same thing right now let me know if you get a answer for your question wondering if I should go to the hospital

  • I am actually experiencing this pain right now and I've had it for three or four days. Gas pills also believe it or not helps relieve the pain. I was kind of freaking out thinking maybe there is something seriously wrong. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this website and read all of your replies it was a big help.

  • I have the exact same pain. I have had it for 5 months. Thought maybe I pulled a muscle and it would heal on its own. Have not been to the doctor yet, because I have no faith in them to figure it out. Will try some of the things suggested here to relieve the pain.

  • I have this pain for months now. I went to get a mammo, was negative. Went back for an breast ultrasound, that came back negative too. All the doctors (primary, at the breast cancer/mammo place) brushed it off, saying it might be water retention...... What the...?!?!?!?! I am not sure who else to go to. Sometimes the pain radiates to my back, but it's mainly right above my left breast. Today is worse, I have pain under my left arm too (armpit).

    Not sure what doctor to go to, as I mentioned, the ones I went to, did not care much.

  • Yes me too over 5 months now . I'm worried sick

  • OMG YAAASS!! thank GOD i have found people with the same thing, i was sooo worried i had some sort of breast cancer or cancer in general.. what a relief!

  • i have had this pain for about 4 days now and it seems to get in the way with everything i do like moving my arm simply, i can feel it hurt, not like burning but just hurt in general.... I legit can feel the pain moving from my upper chest to the right side of my breast RIGHT NOW AS I AM TYPING SOMEONE PLEASE REPLY!! i am EXTREMELY SCARED!!

  • It's nothing to be afraid of. I too have the same thing going on. It's related to stress, and the fact that my rib cage was out of place. Yes it's scary, but I went to the chriopracter he adjusted it and the burning started. It's because the muscles are inflamed. It will stop. Try stretching to pull the muscles foward. Hot baths, and relaxing.

  • oh thank you so so much Rachel. I really appreciate it! :) :) :) :) :) :)

  • i have read all the comments and i have done some of the stretching behind my back with my hands and it really does work! thanks sollyn and I'm now going to take a nice, long hot bath and miss out on some science revision for my upcoming science exam... wish me luck! and thank you so much for everyone replying with advice and duffman7 i am soooo sorry for you i do hope you will get better soon i really do.

  • I'm so glad to read these posts, I've been so worried for days! The pain is on my right side above my breast, very sharp pain. I'm 35 and a breast cancer survivor so I panicked thinking about what this could be! I was terrified to call my oncologist to be checked, but knowing so many others have also dealt with this pain makes me feel better!

  • Sorry to hear bout ur cancer, u r a surviver congrats!! 35 is young, I turned 37 on march 16, few days after my son turnedv9. His daddy my baby daddy, passed April 23, and its tough going through illnesses n deaths. He had cancer b4, but passed away n an auto mobile accident... I love to hear ppls stories.

  • I had this pain for over a year off and on. After spending quite a bit at the doctors, I finally came across an article on gallstones. I will cut this short by giving a link that might help with this and would suggest reading up on gallstones. Please dont have your gallbladder removed.

    Hope this helps.

  • I had my gallbladder removed in 2010, when I was just 30. Ever since I've had stomach issues. Now, being obese I have hbp....but idk why do not remove gallbladder, they say u can live without it?!

  • Have u lifted anything heavy lately, are you overweight, do u have gas/stomach issues? It could b numbers if things. Stress play a key to physical pain as well. I have it all the time...heat during the summer, and weather changes do not help....follow up with ur doc...if possible, if it ain't due to upper respiratory issues, u ahold b fine...get checked out..I need go myself..get back with us!

  • I have had this 5 months now and freaked out.. my doctor says it's muscular .pain in right breast and right under my shoulder .. it's very painful at times and causes me stress

  • Hi! My pain started last night while I was asleep. The sharp pain woke me up and I thought I was on a wrong position so I changed my position and went back to sleep. Still wasn't gone. I could feel it. But I ignored it. Then again today afternoon and then tonight. It's coming back in every few hours now. I'm very worried and will probably call my PCP to see what he has to say!!!! Any otter suggestions?

  • Dont mess around with this....go get an MRI is my misdiagnosed my brother saying it was slipped rib syndrome

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