But when a disc is damaged, it may bulge or break open. This is called a herniated disc, which can affect the thoracic spine. Some of the most common causes of disc injuries are simple movements such as bending forward and/or twisting, coughing/sneezing, falling and lifting. A herniated disc may or may not produce referred chest pain depending on whether any adjacent nerves have been compressed. In this case, the chest pain commonly extends from the back, around to the front of the chest. Generally the referred chest pain is described as a shooting, electric shock type pain.
Symptoms may be one or all of the following:
- Intense sharp stabbing back/chest pain which is worse with sitting, bending, coughing, sneezing and may prevent you from straightening up to a normal standing position.
- Shooting/electric pain around to the front of the chest.
- Numbness or a tingling sensation in the ribs.