Upper back/neck strain caused heart palpitations.

Posted by bigredak @bigredak, Dec 11, 2022

I recently strained my upper back from over working on my laptop (staring down too long) and then over stretching. I felt like I pulled something in my upper spine, and ever since have had some heart palpitations (normally when bending over or looking down too long). My back and neck are not 100% yet, but they have improved, and so have the heart palpitations for the most part (get them a few times a day now if I bend or lay in a weird position). Any idea why this happened from my strain of my upper spine and lower cervical? Any advice? I am 28 year old male (6'6 tall), that is very athletic, just for some context.

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Hi all,
I strained my upper back/neck muscles when working on my laptop for too long and then over stretching my already stiff back. After I felt I over stretched it, I immediately had a feeling like my spine was unstable and then had a random heart palpitation. I now have been getting these weird "feels like heart is skipping a beat for 1 second" for a few weeks now. It has gotten better, but my back and neck still are not 100%. I am assuming a nerve is irritated in my upper back. Can anyone help provide some insight on this issue? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, for context, I am 28 and workout weekly, so by no means am I out of shape. However, I am tall, so have always experienced back pain.

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@bigredak Hello and welcome to Connect. I am a cervical spine surgery patient. Having heart palpitations because of cervical neck tightness can happen with a spine condition or possibly thoracic outlet syndrome. I have both of those, and had a fusion of C5/C6.

Have you been seen by a doctor for this? A doctor needs to determine if there is another cause for heart palpitations such as a thyroid condition, breathing problem like asthma, or a heart issue, etc. It is too easy to think you know what's wrong when there can be overlapping symptoms from different problems, and you don't know what you don't know.

If the problem does turn out to be neck related, perhaps a physical therapist can help. It's best to see a spine surgeon who will do some imaging such as an MRI. Even if that doesn't find anything, a physical therapist who also does myofascial release can help a problem like this. Tightness in muscles, spasms and tight fascia can compress nerves which can cause palpitations. Nerves exit the spinal cord between every vertebrae to go everywhere in the body, and if those nerves are affected by tight neck muscles, they can be compressed. That can happen to me, but I also have asthma that contributes when allergies cause inflammation, and other spine patients have said the same thing that they have had palpitations related to the neck.

Here is our discussion on myofascial release.

Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) for treating compression and pain: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

The change in neck position that brings on symptoms can be a warning sign of a spine problem, and should be investigated by a specialist. It would be worth a call to your insurance to find in network spine surgeons because if you do end up needing a procedure, it can be very expensive.

Have you been seen by a doctor for this condition?

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@jenniferhunter

@bigredak Hello and welcome to Connect. I am a cervical spine surgery patient. Having heart palpitations because of cervical neck tightness can happen with a spine condition or possibly thoracic outlet syndrome. I have both of those, and had a fusion of C5/C6.

Have you been seen by a doctor for this? A doctor needs to determine if there is another cause for heart palpitations such as a thyroid condition, breathing problem like asthma, or a heart issue, etc. It is too easy to think you know what's wrong when there can be overlapping symptoms from different problems, and you don't know what you don't know.

If the problem does turn out to be neck related, perhaps a physical therapist can help. It's best to see a spine surgeon who will do some imaging such as an MRI. Even if that doesn't find anything, a physical therapist who also does myofascial release can help a problem like this. Tightness in muscles, spasms and tight fascia can compress nerves which can cause palpitations. Nerves exit the spinal cord between every vertebrae to go everywhere in the body, and if those nerves are affected by tight neck muscles, they can be compressed. That can happen to me, but I also have asthma that contributes when allergies cause inflammation, and other spine patients have said the same thing that they have had palpitations related to the neck.

Here is our discussion on myofascial release.

Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) for treating compression and pain: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

The change in neck position that brings on symptoms can be a warning sign of a spine problem, and should be investigated by a specialist. It would be worth a call to your insurance to find in network spine surgeons because if you do end up needing a procedure, it can be very expensive.

Have you been seen by a doctor for this condition?

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Hi,

Thanks for the response.

I have been seen by a doctor and they said my cervical spine is tight and spasming from the strain. I am healthy and do not have underlying conditions (thyroid, HBP, asthma, etc.). These heart palpitations (which have gotten better) began immediately after I strained my upper back and neck, and they get triggered if my neck is staring down too long or in bed in a bad position.

I was also wearing KT tape to help my neck strain weakness and since taking it off, I actually have not had any heart palpitations. Wondering if the KT tape was further compressing one of my nerves. It does sound like my back tightness is the cause and I do have a prescription for PT.

If you have any other advice in the meantime, it would be greatly appreciated.

REPLY
@bigredak

Hi,

Thanks for the response.

I have been seen by a doctor and they said my cervical spine is tight and spasming from the strain. I am healthy and do not have underlying conditions (thyroid, HBP, asthma, etc.). These heart palpitations (which have gotten better) began immediately after I strained my upper back and neck, and they get triggered if my neck is staring down too long or in bed in a bad position.

I was also wearing KT tape to help my neck strain weakness and since taking it off, I actually have not had any heart palpitations. Wondering if the KT tape was further compressing one of my nerves. It does sound like my back tightness is the cause and I do have a prescription for PT.

If you have any other advice in the meantime, it would be greatly appreciated.

Jump to this post

@bigredak I have had a lot of success with myofascial release. If you find a PT who is also skilled with this, that would be beneficial. It stretches out all the tightness. I would think KT tape could increase tightness if you neck is already too tight. It's sounds like you found a solution.

There is a provider search at http://mfrtherapists.com/

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