Q. I have a stiff neck and back pain. Could it be a heart attack?

Answered by
Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 24, 2017

Hello, doctor,

I am anxious about my heart. I cannot tell what is causing me to feel like this. I have a stiffness in the side of my neck with some pain in the upper left part of the back. I am able to pin point it. The chest feels weird on the left side. The ECG, chest X-ray and CBC were normal. How can I make sure I am not having a heart attack?



Welcome to

In all probabilities, it is not a heart attack. Neither your symptoms nor the investigations are compatible with a heart attack. I think you should stop worrying about a heart attack.

From your description, it sounds like a cervical spine problem like spondylosis or disc problem. In which case, there will be stiffness, pain, and tingling due to compression of the nerves between the spine.

  • Do you have any history of trauma to your spine, a recent change in sleeping pattern or a new bed? Does this pain increase when you turn your head? Is it associated with tingling, numbness, or needles and pins sensation? If yes, then it further supports the diagnosis.

You will need to check your vitamin D levels. If it is inadequate, you will need to take supplements.

Get an X-ray of the cervical spine in anterior-posterior and lateral view. You may further need an MRI if the X-rays are not informative.

The treatment possibilities are as follows:

  1. Physiotherapy to release the nerve compression, and neck exercises to ease the stiffness.
  2. Traction.
  3. Cervical collar.
  4. Medication.

For the time being, you can have tablet Neurobion forte once a day, which is a nerve vitamin and Diclofenac gel for local application. For pain relief, you can have tablet Ibuprofen 400 mg whenever needed up to three times a day or Diclofenac 50 mg whenever needed up to two times a day. You can visit an orthopedician for these investigations.

Hope this helps you and get back if you have any doubts.

For more information consult a cardiologist online -->

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