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Breast pain – Symptoms and causes


Breast pain (mastalgia) can be described as tenderness, throbbing, sharp, stabbing, burning pain or tightness in the breast tissue. The pain may be constant or it may occur only occasionally, and it can occur in men, women and transgender people.

Breast pain can range from mild to severe. It may occur:

  • Just a few days a month, in the two to three days leading up to a menstrual period. This normal, mild-to-moderate pain affects both breasts.
  • A week or longer each month, starting before a period and sometimes continuing through the menstrual cycle. The pain may be moderate or severe, and affects both breasts.
  • Throughout the month, not related to a menstrual cycle.

In men, breast pain is most commonly caused by a condition called “gynecomastia” (guy-nuh-koh-MAS-tee-uh). This refers to an increase in the amount of breast gland tissue that’s caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Gynecomastia can affect one or both breasts, sometimes unevenly.

In transgender women, hormone therapy may cause breast pain. In transgender men, breast pain may be caused by the minimal amount of breast tissue that may remain after a mastectomy.

Most times, breast pain signals a noncancerous (benign) breast condition and rarely indicates breast cancer. Unexplained breast pain that doesn’t go away after one or two menstrual cycles, or that persists after menopause, or breast pain that doesn’t seem to be related to hormone changes needs to be evaluated.


Breast pain can be cyclic or noncyclic. Cyclic means that the pain occurs on a regular pattern. Noncyclic means that the pain is constant, or that there’s not a regular pattern. Each type of breast pain has distinct characteristics.

Breast pain characteristics
Cyclic breast pain Noncyclic breast pain
  • Clearly related to the menstrual cycle and changing hormone levels
  • Described as dull, heavy or aching
  • Often accompanied by breast swelling, fullness or lumpiness
  • Usually affects both breasts, particularly the upper, outer portions, and can radiate to the underarm
  • Intensifies during the two weeks leading up to the start of the menstrual period, then eases up afterward
  • More likely to affect people in their 20s and 30s, as well as people in their 40s who are transitioning to menopause
  • Unrelated to the menstrual cycle
  • Described as tight, burning, stabbing or aching sensation
  • Constant or intermittent
  • Usually affects one breast, in a localized area, but may spread more diffusely across the breast
  • In women, most likely to occur after menopause

Extramammary breast pain

The term “extramammary” means “outside the breast. ” Extramammary breast pain feels like it starts in the breast tissue, but its source is actually outside the breast area. Pulling a muscle in the chest, for example, can cause pain in the chest wall or rib cage that spreads (radiates) to the breast. Arthritis that involves the cartilage in the chest, also known as costochondritis, can also cause pain.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if breast pain:

  • Continues daily for more than a couple of weeks
  • Occurs in one specific area of your breast
  • Seems to be getting worse over time
  • Interferes with daily activities
  • Awakens you from sleep

Breast cancer risk is very low in people whose main symptom is breast pain, but if your doctor recommends an evaluation, it’s important to follow through.


Changing hormone levels can cause changes in the milk ducts or milk glands. These changes in the ducts and glands can cause breast cysts, which can be painful and are a common cause of cyclic breast pain. Noncyclic breast pain may be caused by trauma, prior breast surgery or other factors.

Sometimes, it’s not possible to identify the exact cause of breast pain, but some factors may increase the risk.

Risk factors

Breast pain is more common among people who haven’t completed menopause, although it may occur after menopause. Breast pain can also occur in men who have gynecomastia, and in transgender people who are undergoing gender reassignment.

Other factors that may increase the risk of breast pain include:

  • Breast size. People who have large breasts may experience noncyclic breast pain related to the size of their breasts. Neck, shoulder and back pain may accompany breast pain that’s caused by large breasts.
  • Breast surgery. Breast pain associated with breast surgery and scar formation can sometimes linger after incisions have healed.
  • Fatty acid imbalance. An imbalance of fatty acids within the cells may affect the sensitivity of breast tissue to circulating hormones.
  • Medication use. Certain hormonal medications, including some infertility treatments and oral birth control pills, may be associated with breast pain. Breast tenderness is a possible side effect of estrogen and progesterone hormone therapies that are used after menopause. Breast pain may be associated with certain antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. Other medicines that can cause breast pain include those used to treat high blood pressure and some antibiotics.
  • Excessive caffeine use. Although more research is needed, some people notice an improvement in breast pain when they reduce or eliminate caffeine.


The following steps may help prevent the causes of breast pain, although more research is needed to determine their effectiveness.

  • Avoid hormone therapy if possible.
  • Avoid medications that are known to cause breast pain or make it worse.
  • Wear a properly fitted bra, and wear a sports bra during exercise.
  • Try relaxation therapy, which can help control the high levels of anxiety associated with severe breast pain.
  • Limit or eliminate caffeine, a dietary change some people find helpful, although studies of caffeine’s effect on breast pain and other premenstrual symptoms have been inconclusive.
  • Avoid excessive or prolonged lifting activities.
  • Follow a low-fat diet and eat more complex carbohydrates.
  • Consider using an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) — but ask your doctor how much to take, as long-term use may increase your risk of liver problems and other side effects.

Jan. 16, 2021

Breast Pain – Clinical Methods


Breast pain is a sensation of aching, pulling, drawing, burning, or stinging in one or both breasts as a result of functional or pathologic conditions of the breast or, secondarily, due to extrinsic causes.


Begin by asking whether the pain is unilateral or bilateral, localized or diffuse. If localized, ask the patient to point out the spot, if possible, with one finger and to clarify the type of pain, possible radiation to other areas of the chest wall or arm, whether it is continuous or intermittent, and any relationship to the menstrual period. The questioning at this point is intended to differentiate abnormal physiologic changes associated with engorgement and nodularity from benign lesions of physiologic origin. One should consider traumatic causes such as manual or oral manipulation during sexual activity, exercise, sports, or change of job requiring use of one arm more than the other. Has the patient recently been under any unusual amount of physical or mental stress? Is she taking or has she changed birth control pills, which may coincide with the onset of current symptoms? Pain as a symptom with tenderness on examination are commonly but not always associated. Generally, breast pain not associated with tenderness is due to extrinsic causes. The inability to sleep on the abdomen is a good indicator of the severity of the symptoms. Previous treatment of the breast pain (hormones or pain therapy) should be obtained.

Basic Science

Innervation of the breast is provided by somatic sensory nerves and autonomic (sympathetic) motor nerves (). Parasympathetic fibers do not exist in the breast.

The supraclavicular nerves (somatic) supply sensory fibers for the innervation of the upper cutaneous part of the breast, while the lateral (IV–VI) and medial (II–IV) branches of the intercostal nerves supply the lower cutaneous parts and the mammary gland. Sympathetic motor fibers destined for the smooth muscles of the areola, nipple, and wall of the vessels travel along with all the above-mentioned nerves and then follow the arteries of the breast. The postganglionic sympathetic fibers stem from the ganglia of the paravertebral upper thoracic sympathetic chain.

In breast disease, pain is experienced in the breast itself, but because of the kind of innervation described above, it may also radiate to the side of the chest, to the back, to the base of the neck, or to the medial side of the arm.

For 4 to 5 days before the onset of menstrual flow, the blood flow to the breast increases significantly. The breast volume, measured by water displacement, may increase by up to 25%. During this time, most women experience variable degrees of tension, tightness, fullness, heaviness, and breast discomfort. Normally, these symptoms disappear after menstruation. An increase in the severity and duration of these symptoms is one of the most common reasons premenopausal patients seek medical advice for breast pain. Many women whose complaints are caused by this entity are erroneously labeled as having fibrocystic disease. Normal cyclical pain and tenderness or the exaggeration and prolongation of this normal pain are commonly bilateral, but usually the central and upper, outer portions of the breasts are more involved.

Clinical Significance

Abnormal cyclical pain and tenderness are often indistinguishable from the symptoms and findings of fibrocystic disease. Abnormal cyclical pain and tenderness usually occur in the teens and twenties, whereas fibrocystic disease usually occurs in the 30 to 50 age group. The symptoms of both entities are more severe immediately before menstruation and may be symptomatic for several cycles, followed by spontaneous improvement. When pain and tenderness are associated with the physical findings of gross cystic disease (three-dimensional palpable masses), it may be the result of leakage of the fluid from the cyst into the wall. However, the most common fibrocystic disease presenting with pain and tenderness is fibrosis and adenosis, with the symptoms being cyclical and usually associated only with nodular changes of the breast tissue rather than discrete masses. Although pain and tenderness are usually associated with benign disease, breast cancer patients commonly present with the symptom of pain, often not associated with tenderness. The type of pain is commonly bizarre.

There are causes of breast pain unrelated to fibrocystic disease or abnormal physiology. Cervical or dorsal radiculitis may cause tenderness and complaints of pain over the points of exits of the lateral anterior cutaneous nerves in the midaxillary line. Costochondral chondritis (Tietze’s syndrome) commonly causes unilateral breast pain and tenderness localized over one or more of the costochondral articulations. Mondor’s disease (thrombophlebitis of the thoracoepigastric vessels) is always associated with pain and tenderness over the lateral and inferior breast, which usually subsides spontaneously in 1 to 3 weeks. Other causes of mastodynia with or without tenderness are herpes zoster, trauma, infection, duct ectasia, and stasis. Benign neoplasms (fibroadenoma, intraductal papilloma) rarely are associated with pain and tenderness. Some workers have felt that there are different types of breast pain, depending on the etiologic factor. The pain in fibrocystic disease is often described as “heavy or full of milk”. In cervical or dorsal radiculitis, the pain is “sharp and radiating”; in Tietze’s syndrome, “aching”; in trauma, “sore, bruised or stabbing”; in infections, “throbbing”; and in duct ectasia, “itching, burning, or drawing.” A very common entity of mastodynia, always associated with tenderness, is commonly seen in postmenopausal patients. This type of pain is usually burning and stinging, and is not associated with physical or radiographic findings of fibrocystic disease. It is most common in the central and upper portions of the breast. Patients are usually obese with above-average-size, somewhat pendulous breasts. Although the cause of pain due to this entity is not clear, it is very likely related to obesity.

If no apparent cause of the pain is found by careful history, physical examination, mammography, and ultrasound, if indicated, the patient can be reassured that there is no evidence of cancer or other disease that necessitates or warrants surgical intervention. Generally, if the patient’s symptoms persist without remission for 2 to 3 months, repeat examinations are indicated.


  1. Corry DC. Pain in carcinoma of the breast. Lancet. 1952;1:274–76. [PubMed: 14889840]
  2. Egan RL. Priorities in managing breast problems: roundtable discussion. Patient Care. 1975;9(7):20–58.

  3. Haagensen DC. Diseases of the breast. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1971;101.

  4. Leis HP Jr. Diagnosis and treatment of breast lesions. New York: Medical Examination, 1970.

  5. Pack GT, Ariel IM. Tumors of the breast, chest and esophagus. Vol 4. New York: Paul B. Hoeber, 1960.

  6. River L, Silverstein J, Grout J. et al. Carcinoma of the breast: the diagnostic significance of pain. Am J Surg. 1951;82:733–35. [PubMed: 14903305]
  7. Vorherr H. The Breast: Morphology, Physiology, and Lactation. New York: Academic Press, 1974;20–70.

Coping with Pain after Breast Cancer Surgery


Nearly half of all women experience pain or physical limitations after breast cancer surgery, a condition known as postmastectomy reconstruction syndrome, or PMRS. However, many women find relief with treatments that include medication, physical or occupational therapy, and lymphedema therapy.


  • PMRS is a common side effect of surgery and other treatments for breast cancer.

  • A physiatrist can best diagnose the condition and recommend treatment.

  • Weakness, tightness, pain, or muscle loss in the chest wall are common signs.

  • Treatment for PMRS varies according to symptoms.

After undergoing breast cancer surgery, many women experience lasting pain or discomfort in the breast or chest area. Called postmastectomy reconstruction syndrome (PMRS), this condition is a reality for up to half of women who have breast cancer surgery.

“We use the term postmastectomy reconstruction syndrome to describe specific symptoms that some women may experience after treatment for breast cancer,” explains Memorial Sloan Kettering physiatrist Katarzyna Ibanez.

Physiatrists are doctors who specialize in rehabilitation medicine. MSK has a team of rehab specialists dedicated to caring for people with cancer.

Although the name implies that only women who have undergone mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast and underlying tissue) experience PMRS, the symptoms may be caused by a number of treatments for breast cancer: surgery, lymph node biopsy, reconstruction, chemotherapy, or radiation.

“Whatever the cause, treatment and management are essential so women can get back to their lives in the most comfortable way possible,” Dr. Ibanez says.

A Range of Symptoms

Women with PMRS may experience weakness, tightness, or pain in the shoulder; muscle loss in the chest wall; or muscle spasms and pain. Some women say they have trouble taking a deep breath, comparing the sensation to wearing an “iron bra,” Dr. Ibanez explains.

Other signs include:

  • swelling of the chest wall

  • sensitivity to touch on the chest wall or armpit

  • restricted range of motion

  • axillary web syndrome (also called cording, in which ropelike tissue structures form under the skin of the arms)

  • breast tightness

These symptoms, which can range from mildly annoying to severely restricting, might not be present right after surgery but can pop up years later.

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Seeking the Right Diagnosis

If you have complaints of pain or discomfort after breast cancer surgery, you may find that it can be hard to get a diagnosis. The surgeon has removed the cancer and the oncologist has done his or her job, but how does the leftover pain get diagnosed and treated?

It’s important that women with PMRS understand that this is a real syndrome.

Katarzyna Ibanez

If you think you may have PMRS, make an appointment with a physiatrist in your area, Dr. Ibanez advises. He or she will need to take a detailed medical and functional history. A comprehensive physical exam, which includes seeing how well you can move, may help your doctor determine if there are underlying problems with your nerves, muscles, or other tissues.

Sometimes, blood tests or an imaging test such as an MRI may be needed. A test called an electromyography can help to see if there is abnormal muscle or nerve function in the area.

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Finding the Solution

Treatment for PMRS is as varied as its symptoms are, which means there is no specific intervention that will work for all women.

Rehabilitative treatments may include medication, occupational and physical therapy, and lymphedema therapy.

The mainstay of treatment is a highly specialized physical therapy that reeducates the affected muscles and nerves, improves posture and body awareness, stretches the chest wall muscles, strengthens other muscles, and restores joint and soft tissue mobility.

Pain medications may be effective for some women. Others find relief from botulinum toxin (Botox®) or other injections that may reduce or eliminate painful spasms.

In determining a treatment plan for her patients, Dr. Ibanez says, it’s important for her to know more about their lives. Your doctor should be asking questions like:

  • What kind of activities, hobbies, and sports do you participate in?

  • What type of job do you do?

  • What have you found the most disabling?

  • What activities do you most want to return to, and is there a timeframe or any other factors to keep in mind?

Other factors to take into account are how long the symptoms have been present and what treatments, if any, have already been tried.

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Getting Back to Normal

Many women come to her office seeking help, Dr. Ibanez says, and are relieved to hear that they aren’t alone — and that there is treatment. “It’s important that women with PMRS understand that this is a real syndrome,” she stresses. “There is a physiology to it. There is nerve and muscle damage, atrophy, and a change in biomechanics.”

Neuromodulation Center for Cancer Pain

We are the only center in the tri-state region dedicated exclusively to alleviating pain caused by cancer and its treatments. Learn how our experts we can help.

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With a comprehensive program that can last six, eight, or 12 weeks, followed by a lifelong exercise program to maintain the gains, most women will feel much better. “We can never say 100 percent, but I would say 80 to 90 percent of women see great improvements,” says Dr. Ibanez. She adds that it’s important to continue the exercises after the completion of therapy, because symptoms may return or worsen.

“My patients say that life isn’t the same as before cancer treatment, but it’s better than when they first came to see me,” she notes. “They can participate in activities like yoga and swimming, and they can lift their child or grandchild.”

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Breast pain: Causes, types and treatments

1. Why do my breasts hurt?
2. Breast pain linked to periods
3. Breast pain not linked to periods
4. Chest wall pain
5. Diagnosis
6. Treatment
7. Coping 

1. Why do my breasts hurt?

Breast pain is very common in women of all ages.

Having painful, sore or tender breasts can cause a lot of anxiety. But on its own, pain in the breasts isn’t usually a sign of breast cancer. 

Many women experience breast pain as part of their normal menstrual cycle (periods). This is called cyclical breast pain.

Lasting pain in the breast that’s not related to periods is known as non-cyclical breast pain.

Sometimes pain that feels as though it’s in the breast is coming from somewhere else, such as a pulled muscle in the chest. This is known as chest wall pain. 

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2. Breast pain linked to periods (cyclical breast pain)

Many women feel discomfort and lumpiness in both breasts a week or so before their period. 

The pain can vary from mild to severe and the breasts can also be tender and sore to touch.   

You may experience heaviness, tenderness, a burning, prickling or stabbing pain, or a feeling of tightness.

The pain usually affects both breasts but it can affect just one breast. It can also spread to the armpit, down the arm and to the shoulder blade. 

Cyclical breast pain is linked to changing hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. The pain often goes away once a period starts. In some women, this type of pain will go away by itself, but it can come back.

This type of pain usually stops after the menopause, though women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can also have breast pain.  

Breast pain can also be associated with starting to take or changing contraception that contains hormones.

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3. Breast pain not linked to periods (non-cyclical breast pain)

It’s often unclear what causes non-cyclical breast pain.

It can be related to:

  • a benign (not cancer) breast condition
  • previous surgery to the breast 
  • injury to the breast
  • having larger breasts 
  • a side effect from a drug treatment, such as certain antidepressant drugs and some herbal remedies such as ginseng

Stress and anxiety can also be linked to breast pain. 

Non-cyclical breast pain may be continuous or it may come and go. It can affect women before and after the menopause. 

The pain can be in one or both breasts and can affect the whole breast or a specific area. It may be a burning, prickling or stabbing pain, or a feeling of tightness. 

Non-cyclical breast pain often goes away by itself over time. This happens in about half the women who experience it.

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4. Chest wall pain 

Chest wall pain may feel as though it’s coming from the breast, but really it comes from somewhere else.

It can have a number of causes, such as pulling a muscle in your chest.

Find out more about chest wall pain. 

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5. Diagnosing breast pain

Your GP will examine your breasts and take a history of the type of pain you have and how often it occurs. 

To check how long the pain lasts, how severe the pain is or if the pain is linked to your periods, your GP may ask you to fill in a simple pain chart. 

If your GP thinks you may have non-cyclical breast pain or chest wall pain, they may ask you to lean forward during the examination. This is to help them assess if the pain is inside your breast or in the chest wall. 

Your GP may refer you to a breast clinic where you’ll be seen by specialist doctors or nurses for a more detailed assessment.

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6. Treating breast pain 

The options for treating cyclical and non-cyclical pain are often the same, though non-cyclical pain isn’t always as easy to treat. 

If you have cyclical breast pain, your GP may reassure you that it’s a normal part of your monthly cycle. 

Diet and lifestyle changes 


Your GP may suggest some things you can try which might help reduce pain, but there’s limited evidence to show these work. These include:

  • eating a low-fat diet 
  • increasing the amount of fibre you eat
  • reducing caffeine and alcohol
Well-fitting bra

Wearing a supportive and well-fitting bra during the day, during any physical activity and at night can be helpful.  

Relaxation and complementary therapies 

Some women have found relaxation therapy useful in reducing their symptoms of cyclical breast pain, such as relaxation CDs or apps, or other complementary therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy. 


If your pain started when you began taking a contraceptive pill, changing to a different pill may help. If the pain continues, you may want to try a non-hormone method of contraception such as condoms, a non-hormonal coil (also called copper coil or IUD) or a cap (diaphragm). 


If your pain started or increased while taking HRT and doesn’t settle after a short time, tell your GP. 

Evening primrose or starflower oil

There’s evidence that having low levels of an essential fatty acid called GLA can contribute to cyclical breast pain. However, research has shown that taking additional GLA doesn’t always help the pain. Despite this, your GP may suggest that you try evening primrose or starflower oil (which contain GLA), as some women have found it helps them to feel better generally. Your GP will tell you how much to take and for how long. 

Evening primrose oil doesn’t usually cause side effects, but a few people may feel sick, have an upset stomach or get headaches. It’s best not to take it if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. People with epilepsy are usually advised not to take evening primrose or starflower oil. 

Pain relief 

Research has shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relief, such as ibuprofen, can help breast pain, particularly non-cyclical pain. 

This type of pain relief can be applied directly to the affected area as a gel. It can also be taken as a tablet. 

Before using this type of pain relief you should be assessed and get advice from your doctor on the correct dose, how long you should use it for and any possible side effects, especially if you have asthma, stomach ulcers or any problem related to your kidneys.

Paracetamol can also be useful in relieving breast pain, either with or without anti-inflammatory pain relief.   

Hormone drugs 

If your pain is severe, prolonged and hasn’t improved with any of the options already mentioned, your doctor may want to consider giving you a hormone-suppressing drug. 

The drugs that are most commonly used to treat breast pain are:

  • danazol 
  • tamoxifen: not licensed to treat breast pain and commonly used to treat breast cancer, but research has shown it’s also effective in treating cyclical breast pain so it’s sometimes used for this

These drugs have side effects, so will only be recommended after a discussion about the benefits and possible risks.

If you’re prescribed one of these drugs, your specialist will tell you what dose to take and for how long. 

There’s some evidence that younger women may benefit from a short course of treatment, which can be repeated as necessary, whereas older women who are near to or going through the menopause may benefit from a longer course of treatment. 

Treating chest wall pain

Find out more about treatment for chest wall pain.  

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7. Coping with breast pain 

Breast pain can be very distressing, and many women worry that they may have breast cancer. In most cases breast pain will be the result of normal changes in the breasts. 

Even though you may feel reassured that your breast pain is normal and you don’t have breast cancer, the pain often remains. This can be upsetting, especially if your specialist can’t tell you the exact cause of your breast pain. 

Women affected by breast pain may feel many different emotions, including fear, frustration or helplessness. Although understanding more about your breast pain won’t cure it, it may help you to get back some control over your life. 

Having severe, long-lasting breast pain can sometimes affect a woman’s daily activities which may cause anxiety and, for some, depression. However, this isn’t the case for most women and their pain can be helped or managed.

Having breast pain doesn’t increase your risk of breast cancer. However, it’s still important to be breast aware and go back to your GP if the pain increases or changes, or you notice any other changes in your breasts. 

The Breastfeeding Doctor

(Raynaud’s Phenomenon, vasospasm) 

Definition:  When blood vessels clamp up and don’t allow enough blood and oxygen to the breast tissue, nipple and/or areolae. 

Symptoms and signs:  Usually deep breast pain.

  • May be in one or both breasts.
  • May occurr before or after feedings.
  • May last a few minutes to hours.
  • Stabbing, aching, throbbing or shooting pain.
  • Can be severe, intense  pain.
  • Usually feels worse in the cold.
  • Patches of the nipple or areolae may appear pale or purple during the spasm.
  • The areolar skin may crinkle.
  • The nipple may contract.
  • May feel more intense when laying in bed at night.  



Most women have vascular spasm secondary to having inflammation of the nipple/areolae or breast tissue.   This inflammation could be from trauma, wounds, scabs, blisters, blebs.  Infections, like mastitis may also elicit vascular spasm.  The most common infection to cause vascular spasm is yeast. 


Some women have primary vascular spasm.  They may have a history of poor circulation, sensitivity to the cold, fingers turning white in the cold (Raynaud’s Phenomenon), an autoimmune disease or a history of autoimmune disease or Raynaud’s in the family.






Always treat the underlying cause first and the vascular spasm should resolve.


For immediate relief, when you feel the pain starting, take the palm of your hand and press your nipple/breast against your chest wall for a few minutes. 


Warmth will also ease the pain (hot water bottle, heating pad).


Occasionally taking vitamin B6,  100mg daily for two weeks only will help.


Severe vascular spasm that does not resolve after treating the underlying cause needs to be treated with medication.   The medication used is nifedipine.  Nifedipine is used to treat high blood pressure and also works to relieve vascular spasm.  It works by opening up the blood vessels and allowing the blood to flow to the breast more easily.  Because most women have normal blood pressure, you must be careful when you take this medication.  It can drop your blood pressure and cause side effects of dizziness, lightheadedness or headache.  Other side effects may include ankle swelling and palpitations (fast heart beat).



If you are taking nifedipine:

  • make sure to eat frequently during the day,
  • drink plenty of fluids,
  • get up slowly from a laying down position, so that your blood pressure does not drop too abruptly.   

Most people can stop the nifedipine after two weeks and the vascular spasm will not return.  If it does, speak with your doctor to make sure that the underlying cause was properly treated. 

Breast Pain (Mastalgia) | Johns Hopkins Medicine

What is mastalgia?

Mastalgia is breast pain. There are 2 main types of mastalgia:

  • Cyclical breast pain. The pain is linked to menstrual periods.

  • Noncyclic breast pain. The pain may come from the breast. Or it may come from somewhere else, such as nearby muscles or joints, and may be felt in the breast.

The pain can range from minor discomfort to severely disabling pain in some cases. Many women with breast pain are afraid they may have breast cancer. But breast pain is rarely linked to breast cancer. It should not be considered a possible symptom of breast cancer. 

What is cyclical breast pain?

The most common type of breast pain is linked to the menstrual cycle. It is nearly always hormonal. Some women begin to have pain around the time of ovulation. The pain continues until the start of their menstrual cycle. The pain may be barely noticeable. Or it may be so severe that you can’t wear tight-fitting clothing or handle close contact of any kind. The pain may be felt in only one breast. Or it may be felt as a radiating feeling in the underarm area.

Some healthcare providers have women chart their breast pain to figure out if the pain is cyclical or not. After a few months, the link between the menstrual cycle and breast pain will appear.

Researchers continue to study the role that hormones play in cyclical mastalgia. One study has suggested that some women with this condition have less progesterone than they do estrogen in the second half of the menstrual cycle. Other studies have found that an abnormality in the hormone prolactin may affect breast pain. Hormones can also affect cyclical breast pain due to stress. Breast pain can increase or change its pattern with the hormone changes that happen during times of stress.

Hormones may not provide the total answer to cyclical breast pain. That’s because the pain is often more severe in one breast than in the other. Hormones would tend to affect both breasts equally. Many researchers believe that the answer may be a combination of hormonal activity and something in the breast that responds to this activity. More research is needed.

What are the treatments for cyclical breast pain?

Treatment for cyclical breast pain will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Treatments vary greatly and may include the following:

  • Not having caffeine

  • Taking vitamin E

  • Eating a low-fat diet

In some cases, various supplemental hormones and hormone blockers are also prescribed. These may include:

  • Birth control pills

  • Bromocriptine (which blocks prolactin in the hypothalamus)

  • Danazol, a male hormone

  • Thyroid hormones

  • Tamoxifen, an estrogen blocker

Supplemental hormones and hormone blockers may have side effects. In addition, the risks and benefits of such treatment should be carefully discussed with your healthcare provider.

What is noncyclic breast pain?

Noncyclic breast pain is fairly uncommon, feels different than cyclical mastalgia, and does not vary with the menstrual cycle. Generally, the pain is present all the time and is in only 1 specific location.

One cause of noncyclic breast pain is trauma, or a blow to the breast. Other causes can include arthritic pain in the chest cavity and in the neck, which radiates down to the breast.

What are the treatments for noncyclic breast pain?

It’s more difficult to figure out the best treatment for noncyclic breast pain. That’s because it’s hard to know exactly where the pain is coming from. In addition, the pain is not hormonal. Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Your healthcare provider will do a physical exam and may order a mammogram. In some cases, a biopsy of the area is also needed. If it is found that the pain is caused by a cyst, then the cyst will be aspirated. This means that a small needle will be used to remove the liquid contents of the cyst. Depending on where the pain starts, treatment may include pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medicines, and compresses.

Breast pain | The 3 types of breast pain and their causes

Breast pain (also known as mastalgia) in women is very common, with around 70% of women experiencing breast pain at some time in their lives. Breast pain
may feel like twinges in your breast, dull pain, aching, sharp pains, or even like a bruise. Its effects vary, and in some cases, it can make basic functions like getting dressed, walking and simple acts of intimacy very uncomfortable.

The first step in beating or managing breast pain is understanding why you’re experiencing it – so let’s find out the ‘why’s, ‘how’s, and ‘what-to-do-about-its’ of breast pain.

But just
before we do, let’s take care of one important fact:

Breast pain and cancer

Breast pain is not generally a symptom of breast cancer.

There are many reasons you might be experiencing breast pain, but breast cancer is not likely to be one of them. More likely signs of breast cancer are:

  • lumps
  • changes in the shape or size of the breasts or their skin
  • crusting, redness or discharge from the nipple
  • inflammation around the breast, collarbone or armpit.

If you have any concerns, you should always consult a doctor or specialist. Read more about how often you should be checking your breasts and who should be getting regular breast screenings, in our article about breast cancer and breast health.

The three types of breast pain

What are some causes of breast pain?

The wrong bra

Women commonly report that bras can be uncomfortable. Especially underwire bras. They can cause bruises under the breasts or chafing at the sides or straps. Generally, this points to the fit being wrong for your body or the bra not being supportive enough.
It can be this simple – knowing the ins and outs of finding a bra that works for you can save you a lot of trouble, especially if you require your bra to perform a specific function (help with sport etc). Most underwear-specific clothing stores
should have trained staff members that can direct you to the right size and fit for your bust.

Sore breasts before your period

One symptom of premenstrual syndrome is the swelling and tenderness of the breasts. Pain can range in severity, though it’s usually on the lower end of the spectrum.

What causes it? During the hormonal changes cause by menstruation, oestrogen activates the breast ducts to enlarge (mid cycle) and progesterone triggers the milk glands to swell (around a week before your period begins). How can
you ease breast pain before your period? If you’re finding that over-the-counter painkillers aren’t working for this cyclical type of breast pain, you should see your GP for more options. Your doctor might recommend diuretics or oral contraceptives
to help ease more severe pre-period breast pain.

Sore breasts and menopause

Menopause is another process of hormonal change, and this can cause breast pain in the same way your period does. Some women may find that during peri-menopause that their cyclical breast pain worsens, due to erratic hormone levels. It’s also worth
mentioning that many women have anxiety about breast pain they might feel after menopause, assuming it is a sign of breast cancer. The good news is that only 2%–7% of women with non-cyclical breast pain in one spot will go on to receive a cancer diagnosis.

Heart disease

Underlying heart disease can cause extra-mammary breast pain.

How does it happen? Heart problems can affect the chest wall, giving the impression that it’s the breasts, and not the heart, that’s the source of the problem.

What’s the treatment for heart-related breast pain? Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in Australia, and is caused by a whole range of issues. However, decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease is simple – get
some exercise, eat more fruit and veg, and consume less alcohol and sugar. Check out our heart health guide to read more about the symptoms of heart conditions and also how to look
after your heart. 

Fibrocystic breast disease

Fibrocystic is a benign breast disease materialises as painful lumps in the breast, and is not uncommon – in fact, over 50% of women will experience a case in their lifetime. You may notice sore breasts before your period, as well as areas of lumpy
or swollen breast tissue.

How does it happen? While the direct cause isn’t known, it’s believed that it’s related to hormone fluctuations during menstruation.

How can I ease breast pain from fibrocystic breast disease? It’s best to see your GP, but to start with, they may recommend over-the-counter painkillers or lifestyle changes
like wearing a supportive bra or avoiding caffeine.

Stress, anxiety and breast pain

During particularly harsh periods of anxiety, pressure and stress, you can experience breast pain.

What causes it? While the science isn’t in on the ‘why’, once again it seems to come back to hormonal fluctuations. Research has found correlations between the impact of stress and oestrogen levels,
meaning that increased stress during a specific time during the menstrual cycle could cause excess discomfort.

What’s the treatment for stress-related breast pain? It’s easy for us to say ‘don’t stress so much’ but we know that’s not as easy to do. Our stress health guide has lots of interesting articles and resources to help you better manage your stress. You’ll also find programs and services we can offer if you need more help in getting on top of stress.

Caffeine and breast pain

Your morning brew might be the culprit behind your breast pain, but unfortunately, we’re still not sure why.

What do we know so far? In a study on women with pain associated with fibrocystic breast disease, a reduction in the amount of caffeine consumed led to less breast pain.

How can I use this information? Trialling a few less coffees a day or week could yield beneficial results. If the idea of not having coffee is a terrifying prospect, switching to decaf or a strong, black tea could be a satisfactory

Breast cysts

Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that are normally harmless, and are usually identified as a lump. Sometimes they can cause breast pain, particularly in the days before your period.

What causes it? Hormonal changes due to menstruation are the most common causes of breast cysts. Cysts in general can be caused by blocked ducts, defect cells, popped blood vessels or, in rare cases, parasites.

What’s the treatment for breast cysts? First, see your doctor to confirm that the lump is indeed a cyst. Depending on the severity of the cyst, it might be best to simply leave it. If the cyst is causing discomfort or pain,
your doctor may be able to drain the cyst using a fine needle, in a generally painless procedure.


An extra-mammary pain that starts in the ribs and ‘spreads’ its pain into the breasts.

What is costochondritis? Costochondritis is inflammation of the costal cartilages – the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone.

What causes it? Unfortunately, there’s no obvious cause for most cases, but it can be related to chest injuries, excessive or forceful coughing, physical strain, infection or a tumour.

What’s the treatment for costochondritis? Rest is the first, best thing to do. Avoiding heavy lifting, applying heat, stretching and taking anti-inflammatories can help easy pain.

It’s always best to consult your GP if the pain is giving you cause to worry or is affecting your daily life.

All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified healthcare professional.



Healthline: Premenstrual breast tenderness and swelling

Better Health Vic: Cysts, conditions and treatments

National Breast Cancer Org: Breast cysts

Hopkins Medicine Org: Mastalgia

Malherbe K, Khan M, Fatima S., Fibrocystic breast disease

CMPC.org: About breast pain

HealthDirect.gov.au: costochondritis

Mayoclinic.org: Fibrocystic breasts

Harvard Health Publishing: Breast pain: Not just a premenopausal complaint


90,000 Muscle Clamps: How to Recognize the Problem and Relax

Our nervous system is responsible for the work of muscles. It sends signals to the right parts of the brain and spinal cord, and, having passed a difficult path, chemical energy is converted into mechanical energy. From an anatomical point of view, a pinched muscle is a shortened, very dense and stiff muscle in a local area (muscles of the face, chest, abdomen).

A spasmodic muscle is a weak muscle. Due to constant tension in the affected area, the blood supply is disrupted, the person experiences chronic pain, dizziness is possible.For this reason, he can be constantly tired and irritated, which significantly reduces the quality of life. ”

Elena Mosolova

Head of the Beauty and Health Center of the Alean Family Resort & Spa Riviera 4 * (Anapa).

Echoes of childhood

The first muscle clamps are born in a crib, when we receive signals from the outside world that restrain our internal energy and block it in different parts of the body.Banal prohibitions on fun, desires, childish impulses remain in our body. And in adulthood, we often block this energy, since we are used to the fact that it is impossible to be yourself and do what you want. The body remembers severe injuries and violation of physical boundaries for the whole life, and constant work on oneself is needed here: work with attitudes, relaxation of the body with the help of breathing practices, visualization and the ability to defend boundaries.

When we cannot answer, give back, stand up for ourselves, energy accumulates in our body – the body is ready to fight back, but internally we cannot do this.And therefore, a concentrated portion of energy remains in any part of the body (stomach, heart, throat, back, etc.). This block remains in the body for a long time, if we are talking about some severe psychological trauma. Growing up, a person can work independently on accepting his emotions, resolving and allowing himself to be himself, to feel the whole range of feelings. Here we are talking about both positive and negative emotions. ”

Inga Melikova

psychologist, art therapist

External factors – stress, hypothermia, stretching

In addition to childhood, our lifestyle also affects muscles.This can be motionless seated work without interruptions for physical unloading (walk, light warm-up), sports activities where strength training is used, hypothermia, heavy lifting, especially if the muscle corset is not prepared for such loads.

It is important to supplement a sedentary lifestyle with physical activity: let it be a walk after a day of work or yoga, a swimming pool, a short run. It is important that the activity is enjoyable and does not overload the muscles.

Muscle clamps are excessive local muscle tension. That is, individual muscle groups are strained and remain in this state, regardless of whether they are doing some work or not. One of the reasons is problems associated with the nervous regulation of these muscle zones, most often this occurs as a result of problems with the spine or in neurological diseases. Another reason is traumatic – either overstrain or injury. If the cause is an unhealthy condition of the spine, you need to see a specialist.It can be an osteopath, a chiropractor, or, in extreme cases, a massage therapist. In case of injury and overexertion, the advice is simple – get more rest. ”

Sergei the Great

physician, chiropractor, anesthesiologist and resuscitator at Gen87 Clinic

If muscle clamping is associated with sports, then I advise you to use myofascial release. The principle is very simple – you need to use special equipment (roll or ball) on the fascial lines.This is an analogy of a massage that you can do yourself, and sometimes there are trigger zones in which the muscle clamp is maximally collected. They are usually felt with the fingers in the form of balls and are accompanied by acute pain. If you have probed this area, it is better to consult a specialist. I do not recommend treating such clamps on my own, so as not to harm myself. ”

Natalia Kubysheva

trainer-expert, nutritionist of the martial arts and fitness club Ludus Dome.

Body reflexes and psychosomatics

Imperceptibly for the head, the body accumulates any tension, which the subconscious mind automatically fixes under the label “dangerous”.Unfriendly looks from the outside, traffic jams, burning deadlines, delays, endless responsibilities – the tension builds up in the body in the form of pinched areas.

We can consciously direct our attention to tense places and relax them. Ask yourself questions: why am I straining my stomach, lifting my shoulders, why my throat is squeezed, and the muscles on my face are tense. When the consciousness realizes that there is no need to strain the muscles (there is no danger), the muscles relax and the nervous system also calms down.

Many people cannot relax even at night while sleeping.In such situations, I recommend adding sports (any physical activity) and breathing exercises. This practice relieves stress, and this is almost the only effective way to independently deal with muscle clamps. Respiratory gymnastics relaxes, unites body and mind, tidies up the physical and physiological state, ”advises Natalya Kubysheva.

Relaxation methods

To work with tight muscles, it is important to give yourself permission to relax.Often we do not give ourselves a minute of peace. It is important to find exactly the way that will relax and please you, give you inner peace. This can be a visit to a bath or hammam in combination with a massage course or a yoga class of critical equilibration, self-massage, meditation, contrast shower. Allow yourself pleasure, even the smallest ones, it gives a feeling of happiness, peace and security.

As for the sequence, it is recommended to visit the bath or sauna after training and before the massage.Under the influence of heat, muscles relax, blood circulation improves, and the process of repairing damaged tissues is accelerated. Physiotherapy and massage on different days. The main purpose of the massage is to relax the muscle, normalize blood circulation and lymph flow. From physiotherapy, I recommend electrophoresis and amplipulse therapy. The first technique, by means of electrical impulses, helps to deliver drugs directly to the muscle, contributing to its relaxation. And during amplipulse therapy, amplitude pulsations of modular currents act on muscle and nerve fibers, relieving pain syndrome, activating metabolic processes in tissues, – Elena Mosolova reconducts.”Try once a year to go on vacation to resort regions with natural healing factors, where you can not only relax as much as possible, but also reboot, getting rid of psychological problems.”

“Non-cardiac causes of chest pain” – Yandex.Q

Let’s talk about the causes of chest pain not related to heart problems.

Musculoskeletal problems

In general, the most common causes of chest pain are musculoskeletal problems (muscle-tonic and myofascial syndrome, radicular syndrome, inflammation of the costo-vertebral and costo-sternum joints and ligaments).

Such pain can occur at any age, regardless of the presence or absence of chronic diseases and cardiovascular risk factors in a person.

The cause of occurrence is uneven physical activity, lifting weights, sudden movements, forced stay in a certain position, systemic or local hypothermia, as well as a combination of these factors.

On examination, depending on the location of the problem, spasmodic and / or painful muscles, painful trigger points, paravertebral points, intensification and weakening of pain when changing the position of the body, raising, lowering, abducting or bringing the arm can be detected.


And often a patient with chest pain caused by musculoskeletal problems is mistakenly diagnosed with osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, so beloved by many neurologists in Russia, and is assigned an MRI immediately.

But real osteochondrosis is rare, MRI in most cases is not justified, since it does not affect therapeutic tactics in any way, and is not able to distinguish from each other muscle-tonic and myofascial syndromes, spondyloarthropathies and compression of nerve roots (by the way, it is radicular syndrome that is rare – only in 6% of cases of musculoskeletal problems), therefore, all these diagnoses should be made clinically (sometimes examination may be required – ENMG).


Treatment in all of the above situations is not very different: the main methods will be the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants, it is also important to maintain daily activity and gradually load the affected muscles.

Gastroesophageal reflux

Often the causes of chest pain are the reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus (gastroesophageal reflux), as well as anxiety and panic disorders.

Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), in addition to chest pains, may be accompanied by heartburn, belching, bitterness in the mouth, pain in the upper abdomen, cough, sore throat, not associated with a cold.


To diagnose, as well as exclude other pathology from the esophagus and stomach, an endoscopic examination, radiography, and daily monitoring of gastric acidity may be required.


Treatment for GERD is aimed at lowering acidity, usually with proton pump inhibitors, but other drugs can be used.

Panic disorder

In the case of panic and anxiety disorders, up to a quarter of patients experience chest pain. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate them from the same musculoskeletal pain (in addition, one patient may have chest pains due to both conditions).

Various questionnaires and a careful analysis of patient complaints and their comparison with the clinical picture during examination can help for diagnosis.

Other reasons

Much less often, the chest hurts due to pneumonia (pneumonia), inflammation of the bursa (pericarditis), blockage of the branches of the pulmonary artery (pulmonary embolism), or with the development of heart failure.

Situations when chest pains are caused by specific, dangerous conditions that require imaging with the help of any studies (CT, MRI) – only about 4%.

What is suspicious:

  • new-onset, intense, increasing pain in the thoracic spine
  • their independence from movements
  • accompanied by an increase in temperature
  • concomitant weight loss
  • already established oncological diseases in anamnesis

MC “Land of Health” – Cause of chest pain: neuralgia or heart?

For the time being, the prospect of heart disease seems distant and dim to most of us.But sooner or later, almost everyone is faced with an extremely unpleasant sensation – sudden chest pain. It is unlikely that one will be able to console himself with the thought that the hour has not yet come for a heart attack: if a person is impressionable, he, as a rule, will experience a feeling of panic. Meanwhile, it is easy to confuse pains of a neuralgic nature with heart pains.

How to distinguish one type of pain from another, why neuralgia and chest pain occur and how to maintain your health.

Symptoms of chest pain: similarities and differences

People who do not like to see a doctor (especially men) often prefer to endure an attack, stopping it with an anesthetic drug.But the cost of an error in chest pain is prohibitively high: if you do not seek help in time for a heart attack, the outcome can be fatal

On the other hand, many first of all sin on the heart – after all, it is in the chest that is located, and intercostal neuralgia, in theory, should be felt on the side, between the ribs? In fact, the localization of pain can be different, in addition, pain is sometimes given to both the arm and the back.

The main difference between a heart attack and neuralgia is its duration.Attacks of intercostal neuralgia are quite long, up to several days. Heart pains are short – for example, an attack of angina pectoris lasts 5-10 minutes.

Neuralgic pains are acute, and angina pectoris pain is dull, burning, with shortness of breath. In the old days, angina pectoris was called “angina pectoris” precisely because of the feeling that a heavy and cold toad was sitting on the chest. Pain with angina pectoris extends to the entire chest area, a person finds it difficult to indicate exactly where he hurts.With neuralgia, however, it is usually possible to accurately localize the main site of pain.

Another symptom very characteristic of neuralgia is a decrease or increase in the intensity of pain, depending on the position of the body, inhalation-exhalation. Heart pain does not depend on the position of the body, with one exception – with myocardial infarction during movement, it increases.

A nitroglycerin tablet can stop an attack of heart pain, but will not stop the development of a heart attack. Therefore, if the pain continues after taking nitroglycerin, you must immediately call an ambulance.

Why do chest pains occur?

A logical question: if everything was in relative order with health, why do seizures of high intensity occur immediately? In fact, rarely is anyone regularly examined by a cardiologist. Most cases of angina pectoris are so-called exertional angina, which occurs after physical or emotional stress. If the attack occurred after sleep, this is angina at rest.

Actually, angina pectoris is a violation of blood supply in the human heart muscle.Such constant oxygen starvation leads to the development of coronary heart disease and heart attack. The main risk factors here are:
– arterial hypertension;
– violation of fat metabolism and atherosclerosis;
– violation of carbohydrate metabolism and increased blood sugar;
– congenital or acquired heart disease.

Intercostal neuralgia is pain passing along the trunk and branches of any of the intercostal nerves (there are 11 pairs of them, and the 12th pair are subcostal nerves).It occurs due to compression, irritation or inflammation of the nerve. There are a lot of reasons for the appearance of neuralgia – and problems with the spine (osteochondrosis, displacement and herniated intervertebral discs), and infections (including influenza), and sciatica, neuritis, and trauma, hypothermia, and excessive muscle tone …

Which doctors should I seek help?

If you are seeking emergency care, doctors will help navigate this issue, excluding or confirming heart problems.If you have had an attack of angina pectoris, then you cannot do without examination by a cardiologist. However, even if the attack turned out to be neuralgia, the cardiologist is worth a visit.

With neuralgia, the situation is somewhat more complicated – first of all, you need to visit a neurologist, take an X-ray or undergo a tomography. After the cause is clarified, the doctor will be able to give further recommendations for treatment or refer for consultation to another specialist, such as an osteopath.

Chest pain: what to do

First – minimize any physical activity and sit or lie down.Often it is not possible to lie flat – in this case, you should take a reclining position, placing pillows under your back. It is necessary to ensure the flow of fresh air into the room, to unbutton the collar of the clothes. If the cause of the pain is not clear, you should immediately take 1-2 tablets of nitroglycerin. (Remember that nitroglycerin can drastically lower the pressure.) If it was not there – at least validol, valocordin or analogs. To calm down, you should additionally drink valerian or corvalol.

If the pain persists within 10-15 minutes, do not wait and call an ambulance.If the pain is acute, not changing with a change in body position, an ambulance should be called immediately.

With an attack of neuralgia, you can take painkillers, wrap your chest with a warm scarf, use ointments that have a warming and analgesic effect.

In the future, the doctor may prescribe physiotherapy sessions, novocaine nerve blocks, acupuncture. If the cause of repeated attacks of neuralgia is osteochondrosis, then it is advisable to seek help from a chiropractor, attend massage therapy and gymnastics.During an exacerbation of neuralgia, you cannot sleep on a soft surface, the mattress must be hard.

Try to remain calm during an attack of chest pain, but in no case do not neglect later examination by doctors, even if it seems to you that the attack has passed without a trace.

How to eliminate muscle spasm and prevent its appearance

Spasms of various muscle groups are very common, but not always harmless. It is important to know about the possible causes of its occurrence, to be able to take adequate measures for treatment and prevention.


What is muscle spasm, its types and causes

Muscle tissue is located in all parts of the body, its function is to provide movement. Contractions of skeletal muscles provide movement of the body, and contractions of internal muscles set in motion organs – the heart and blood vessels, the digestive tract, the respiratory and genitourinary systems.

Normally, the process of muscle contraction is regulated by the central nervous system with the participation of the human volitional factor.For example, when food enters the stomach, peristalsis increases, or when a pain factor is applied, the hand is involuntarily withdrawn. Contractions by willpower are walking, exercising, any kind of activity.

When certain muscle groups contract unnecessarily, arbitrarily and for no apparent reason – this is muscle spasm, it is accompanied by pain. Its reasons, although not always visible, are always there, and there are many of them:

  • various injuries that cause pain;

  • prolonged forced, uncomfortable position of the body, leading to overstrain of some muscles and inaction of others;

  • excessive physical activity;

  • immobility, lack of movement;

  • circulatory disorders – with varicose veins, atherosclerosis of the vessels of the extremities;

  • metabolic disorders – with diabetes, thyroid diseases;

  • disorder of water-salt balance;

  • spinal pathology with entrapment of nerve fibers;

  • diseases of the nervous system;

  • diseases of the abdominal organs;

  • stress, adrenaline rush;

  • high body temperature.

It is possible to independently determine the cause of muscle spasm only in simple cases when it is obvious, for example, during training or after an uncomfortable position of the body. In other cases, it is better to see a doctor.

Important: the cause of spasm of the abdominal muscles, as well as intra-abdominal spasm, can be serious diseases of the internal organs, therefore, it is imperative to see a doctor.

What can you do at home for muscle spasm

In whatever area of ​​the body a muscle spasm occurs, the primary task is to create peace for her, to stop any movements.You need to take a comfortable position, it is better to half-sitting-reclining, relax. Often, after a few minutes, the muscle spasm goes away on its own without any additional measures.

If after a few minutes the spasm has not passed, or reappeared after the resumption of movements, you need to take simple measures, their algorithm is as follows:

  1. Make a light warming massage of the affected area – legs, arms, back. Movement should be gentle, from the periphery to the center of the body, to increase blood flow to the affected area.

  2. Put dry heat or cold on the muscle area. If the spasm is not related to injury, you need to put a warm heating pad for 10-15 minutes. If he stepped in response to an injury, you need to apply cold – a heating pad with cold water or an ice pack.

  3. Drink mineralized water or a special drink for athletes.

  4. Stretch the muscle, if the sharp pain has already passed, very carefully, taking into account the area of ​​the body.

How to stretch leg muscles

With a cramp in the calf muscle, you need to stand directly against the wall, gradually bend forward, without lifting your heels off the floor. If the feeling of traction in the calf muscles is moderate, repeat the exercise several times, and if pain in the muscle is pronounced, stop.

If there are cramps in the lower leg and foot, you need to sit on a chair, straighten your leg and pull your toes towards you, and then, in this position, pull your leg up and towards yourself.

When cramps in the popliteal fossa, you need to sit on the floor, straighten your legs, then with your back straight, bend over to your feet, wrap your arms around them until you feel tension under the knee.

The thigh muscles can also be stretched while sitting on the floor by pulling the feet towards you, without bending the leg at the knee joint.

Stretching the muscles of the arm

More often, spasms occur in the forearm, hand. You need to sit comfortably and put your hand on the table.Perform maximum flexion and extension in the wrist and elbow joints, while helping with your healthy hand and holding the arm in the extension position.

Stretching the muscles of the neck, back

With a spasm of the cervical muscles, you need to lie on your back, bend your knees and bring them to your chest. Then slowly raise your head, touch your chin to your chest and try to reach your bent knees.

If the muscles of the back or lower back hurt, you need to walk with a high rise of the knees, then lie on your back and pull your knees to your chest – alternately, and then both knees together.

Important: you should not do stretching exercises in case of severe spasm and pain, this can only worsen the condition.

Drug treatment of muscle spasm

To relax muscles and relieve pain, the following groups of drugs are used:

  1. Muscle relaxants: “Notrixum”, “Atracurium-Novo”, “Flexeril” and others. They are used only for skeletal muscle spasm, as directed and under the supervision of a physician.

  2. Antispasmodics: “Antispasmodic”, “No-shpa”, “Papaverine”, “Spazmobru” and others. They eliminate spasms of smooth muscles of internal organs.

  3. NSAIDs group – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with analgesic effect: Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Diclofenac, Ketanov, Voltaren, Piroxicam and others.

Although all of these drugs are available over the counter, it is best if prescribed by a doctor.For cramps and pain in the abdomen, you cannot take painkillers until a doctor is examined, only antispasmodics are allowed. Another drug that deserves attention is Papaverine.

How to prevent the occurrence of muscle spasm

Prevention of muscle cramps, if they are not associated with serious diseases, is simple and affordable for everyone. It includes a reasonable daily routine with regular, dosed physical activity, adequate rest and nutrition.

The diet should include a sufficient amount of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, a deficiency of which can lead to the development of spasms of various types of muscles.In the winter-spring period, it is recommended to take mineral and vitamin complexes. The amount of drinking water should also be sufficient – from 1.5 to 3 liters per day, depending on the season, the water is better low-mineralized.

If you have recurring spasms and muscle cramps, you must see a doctor.

If you have seizures, change your lifestyle

Cramps or muscle spasms are short-term, involuntary and rather painful contractions of a muscle or muscle group.A kind of reaction of the nervous system to the processes taking place inside the body. The muscles most susceptible to cramps are those muscles that are involved in the work of several joints at once, for example, the calf muscles, the muscles of the back and front of the thigh, chest, arms, and so on.

There are many reasons for seizures. Among the main causes of seizures during sleep, the following are distinguished: uncomfortable position during sleep, excessive load of the lower girdle of the limbs, wearing uncomfortable shoes, flat feet, metabolic disorders, nervous disorders.Also, the cause of sudden nocturnal muscle contractions can be diseases such as epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, varicose veins, osteochondrosis. Cramps during sports training are most often caused by overloading a specific muscle or muscle group.

As a result of increased sweating during sports, calcium, potassium and magnesium salts are excreted from the body, their loss can provoke the appearance of convulsions at any time of training. Still convulsions occur when immersed in cold water, with prolonged sedentary static work, convulsions can also occur when drinking alcohol, caffeine or other psychotropic substances in large quantities.Some women complain of muscle cramps during a certain period of pregnancy.

For the spasm to go away faster, you need to relax and try to stretch the muscles. If a cramp occurs in the calf muscle, then grasp the foot with both hands and pull it up towards the thigh. Rubbing with stroking movements can help relieve pain. You can also pinch or gently poke the painful area with a sterile needle. To prevent muscle cramps, you should adhere to the correct daily routine, sleep at least 8 hours a day, eat foods enriched with essential vitamins and minerals (magnesium, calcium, sodium and vitamin D), try to drink as much water as possible, and do the complex every day moderate physical activity in order to keep the body in good shape, advises Newsru.com

90,000 symptoms, causes and treatment – how and how it manifests itself

Each spine has its own specific symptoms:

  • Cervical: headaches, dizziness, pain and numbness of the shoulders and arms. In some cases, vertebral artery syndrome develops: the artery that feeds the brain and spinal cord is compressed, which causes an excruciating throbbing headache in the temple or occiput. Unpleasant symptoms also appear: tinnitus, imbalance, darkening in the eyes, and with significant clamping – sharp attacks of dizziness with nausea and vomiting.All of these symptoms usually occur with sharp turns of the head.
  • Thoracic region: “stabbing in the chest,” pain that patients often consider to be related to the heart or internal organs.
  • Lumbosacral region: pain and numbness in the lower back and legs, there may be discomfort in the pelvic area.

Causes of osteochondrosis

The main cause of osteochondrosis is degenerative changes in the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral disc, as a result of which they lose their firmness and elasticity.The vertebral disc decreases in volume, becomes dense and ceases to fully amortize. Even during normal walking, the hard vertebrae, consisting of bone tissue, do not spring too resiliently on the cartilaginous layers between them, but practically touch each other, squeezing the nerve fibers. Because of this, the mobility of the spine is limited, there are constant pains that spread to the back and limbs, provoked by compressed nerve roots.

The reasons for dystrophic changes can be different.The main predisposing factor is dietary habits. From birth, the cartilage tissue receives the necessary substances in two ways: from the blood vessels and from the intervertebral fluid. By the age of 23-25, the vessels are completely overgrown, there is only one way of nutrition. Nutrition of the cartilaginous tissue through the intervertebral fluid is possible during the movement of the spine, when fluid is circulating: during the compression and expansion of the discs, the fluid breaks down into nutrients. Therefore, after 30 years, the risk of dystrophy of the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs increases sharply, especially with insufficient physical activity.

Dystrophic processes of destruction of discs are aggravated by intense training (especially without warm-up), trauma, any pathology of the skeleton (including flat feet and poor posture), since it changes the distribution of the load on the spine. Being overweight has the same effect. There is also a genetic predisposition to osteochondrosis – loose cartilaginous tissue, prone to degenerative processes.

Stages of osteochondrosis of the spine

Osteochondrosis is a progressive disease, but the transition to each next stage occurs gradually.One of the stages in the development of osteochondrosis is the so-called disc herniation. Discs are made up of a hard shell called the annulus fibrosus and a semi-fluid core. Herniated discs occur when the fibrous ring of the disc becomes thinner and torn, the nucleus protrudes through the rupture, the nerve roots are compressed, which is accompanied by increased pain and an even greater decrease in the shock-absorbing properties of the disc. The rate of development of symptoms depends on the lifestyle, treatment and individual characteristics of the organism.

Stage 1

Characteristic complaints, persistent or recurrent, appear. Often they are provoked by physical activity or forced body position. On the roentgenogram – the minimum narrowing of the intervertebral clefts or the norm.

Stage 2

Symptoms worsen as disc stability is lost (cartilage bulges into the surrounding annulus fibrosus), which compress the nerve roots. On the roentgenogram – a noticeable reduction in the intervertebral distance or displacement of the vertebrae, growth of bone tissue may appear.

Stage 3

Herniated intervertebral discs, also called protrusion or prolapse of discs, appear, the disc more and more extends into the surrounding tissues, which leads to damage to blood vessels and nerves, so the pain increases, limiting movement in the limbs and causing them to numb.

Stage 4

Stage of disc fibrosis. The disc hardens, it is replaced by scar tissue, bone protrusions grow along the edge, the intervertebral distance is noticeably reduced. The mobility of the spine is significantly reduced – it literally stiffens.

Diagnosis of the disease

The doctor makes a preliminary diagnosis on the basis of characteristic complaints and examination data. Soreness at certain points, muscle tone, sensitivity, range of motion, posture are assessed. Instrumental research methods help to clarify the stage of osteochondrosis and confirm the diagnosis. Most often, at the initial stage, an X-ray of the spine of interest is prescribed. The pictures clearly demonstrate whether there is a reduction in the distance between the vertebrae, that is, whether there is thinning of the cartilage, and how far the process has gone.If, according to the results of X-ray, the doctor suspects the presence of intervertebral hernias, he will prescribe a more informative research method – magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Layer-by-layer scanning and good visualization of soft tissues allow with absolute accuracy to confirm or deny the diagnosis of a herniated disc.

How to treat osteochondrosis of the spine?

Treatment of osteochondrosis is always complex and long-term. Its task is not only to stop pain, relieve muscle tension, but also to stop the further development of the disease, that is, to influence its cause.The doctor decides what to treat in each specific case. Medicines are usually supplemented with physiotherapy exercises, massage, manual, physiotherapy and reflexology. If conservative therapy does not give the desired effect, surgical treatment is indicated.


The main goal in exacerbating osteochondrosis is to stop inflammation and accompanying pain, muscle spasm. To do this, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed in combination with muscle relaxants, which lower the tone of skeletal muscles, reduce muscle spasms and nerve root compression.