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Does Cervical Spondylosis Cause Chest Pain & Does It Affect The Heart?

Ankylosing spondylitis has been widely noticed as a contributing factor of chest pain and there is no potential evidence to prove that. A statistic shows that more than 5 million patients are admitted to emergency care after reporting chest pain.

Although the majority of these cases are ruled out for cardiac problems yet there are 15-25% of cases related to other syndromes. Patients identified with acute syndromes have a high index of suspicion since many of the features and clinical findings show an increased chance of ankylosing spondylitis. Cardiac problems have been reported in one in ten patients with spondylosis.

Does Cervical Spondylosis Cause Chest Pain?

People with cervical spondylosis share some uncommon symptoms caused by the disorder of intervertebral disc between the cervical vertebrae. The most common and obvious symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease have numbness, tingling, or weakness in the neck, gradual onset low back, and hip pain, and early morning stiffness.

Certain symptoms of cervical spine disease are relatively rare and hence becomes difficult to diagnose. Some of the uncommon symptoms of this condition include

Chest Pain – Bones degenerate over time and as a result, the ribs and spine can no longer expand. This eventually affects the chest wall and it can also tear the ribs away from the cartilage which can make breathing harder. When your chests cannot expand, it often leads to life-threatening breathing problems and causes parts of your lungs to collapse.

As a result, cervical spondylosis patients can experience severe chest pain and can also result in mild to moderate cardiac problems.1,2

Rare cases of spondylosis can affect the heart, however, to rule out other conditions and not to worsen the condition, patients who are experiencing ankylosing spondylosis should seek medical attention to determine the presence of other cardiac conditions.

Symptoms Of Chest Pain Caused Due To Spine Related Disorders

Research has found proven evidence that spine disorders are the most common causes of chest pain. This is a treatable condition however it should be treated early. Furthermore, your doctor should distinguish correctly if the chest pain is induced by spinal problems or heartache. Spine related chest pain is not serious, but a heart attack can kill you.

Spinal Disc – A thoracic herniated disc may cause pain in the mid-back and produces bands of numbness around the chest wall. The symptoms of a true herniated disc may not induce back pain but can lead to radiating pain in the chest.

Back Muscles – In some instances, muscular complications may instigate pain in the chest and upper back. When one muscle becomes painful or stiff, due to muscle strain it can produce pain through your chest wall like a knitting needle.3,4

Does Cervical Spondylosis Result In Heart Problems?

Cervical spondylosis not only causes lower back pain and stiffness instead increases your risk of heart diseases such as heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. Heart disease is one of the primary reasons for death in the current era. During severe cases of cervical spondylosis, the autonomic nerves of the spinal cord are injured and result in widespread abnormalities of the autonomous function of the heart and blood vessels.

Arrhythmia is a theoretically life-threatening disorder causing myocardial remodeling, ionic imbalances, and dysfunctional ion channels. Research has found alterations in levels of neuronal growth factors during ANS development, a primary factor of cardiac arrhythmias.

Initial treatment consists of pain relievers, physical therapy, and motion exercises. When the symptoms don’t respond to treatment, surgery may be considered.5


  1. Ten top tips – Cervical spondylosis http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/ten-top-tips-cervical-spondylosis/20005655.article
  2. Cervical Angina – An Overlooked Source of Noncardiac Chest Pain https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4272356/
  3. Cervical angina: a seemingly still neglected symptom of cervical spine disorder? https://www.nature.com/articles/3101888
  4. cervical spine spondylosis can cause serious heart problems? https://patient.info/forums/discuss/cervical-spine-spondylosis-can-cause-serious-heart-problems–40826
  5. Association of Arrhythmia in Patients with Cervical Spondylosis: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 14, 2020

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