Causes of Pain Behind Breast


If you feel pain behind one of your breasts, you may automatically think it’s a tumor. Fortunately, this assumption is mostly groundless, because breast cancer does not cause pain in its early stages. However, the likelihood that it is not breast cancer doesn’t make your breast pain any less serious, as it could be a digestive or cardiovascular problem. Read on to learn about two common causes of chest pain, one of which is fairly minor while another is life-threatening.

Acid-Reflux Disease

A common cause of breast or chest pain is acid-reflux disease. When you have this condition, your stomach acid trickles into your esophagus (which is why it often happens when you lie down), which causes heartburn. You experience heartburn as a burning sensation behind your breast, rather than a stabbing pain, though the burning can become severe if you don’t take an over-the-counter medication or, at least, sit up.

Sore Chest Muscles

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Your chest pain may be nothing more than sore muscles. This should come as no surprise if you've been doing pectoral exercises (such as push-ups), but you may have also pulled a muscle and not know it. This would cause pain in your pectoral muscles, which span the chest area, because they are filled with lactic acid and sore. The pain of sore chest muscles, fortunately, subsides within a week.


Costochondritis causes a sharp, raw pain in the rib area, because it occurs when the cartilage connecting a rib to the sternum (breast bone) becomes inflamed. Because of the sometimes severe pain, costochondritis can imitate the pain of a heart attack. You'll know you may have costochondritis because you'll experience the pain when breathing deeply, or when coughing. Either way, it is wise to see a doctor to rule out any other causes.

Heart Attack

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You can also experience pain behind the breast in the moments before you have a heart attack, a condition in which a part of your heart dies since it is not getting enough oxygen. That is why it is a good idea to visit your doctor or an emergency room if you experience any kind of chest pain. However, you can often tell whether chest pain is a symptom of a heart attack because it is a stabbing pain, often so much it will make you double over. Naturally, you should dial 911 or go to the emergency room upon feeling this severe chest pain.