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Is Sudden Back Pain serious? How to Diagnose?

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I have an appointment with a doctor next week.But I want to know if this could be serious enough to be seen before then. It started a couple of months ago. I wake up late in the night or early in the morning with chest and back pain. It feels like something is crushing my lungs. I have to take very short careful breaths until it goes away. The pain in my back is unbelievable when taking these short breaths. If feels like my back is broken with each breath. At first it only happend once a week or so. The past week and a half it has been happening every night/early morning. And the past few days it has happend several times in the middle of the night or early morning. It hasn't happend yet during the day. It can last anywhere from 5 seconds to a couple of minutes. Then all of the sudden all of the pain will be gone. I can't take this pain much longer. It is hurting more and more each time. I just need to know if I can wait to see the doctor next week? Or is this more serious to where I need to be seen now? Thanks so much for your help.


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replied October 5th, 2006
General Q&A Answer A1552
According to the symptoms you report (chest and back pain that suddenly occur and disappear during the night), it is very difficult to identify a possible cuase without further diagnostic procedures. A physical examination (inspection, percussion…) and measuring blood pressure are the first procedure for correct diagnosise. Then, an ECG needs to be done to exclude heart disorder. A chest X-ray may also be requested to see the lungs and heart. The vertebral spine needs to be examined via X-ray, too. You can see your GP, or an internist if necessary.
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