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Can Med Assoc J. 1985 September 1; 133(5): 379–389.
PMCID: PMC1346531

Musculoskeletal chest wall pain


The musculoskeletal structures of the thoracic wall and the neck are a relatively common source of chest pain. Pain arising from these structures is often mistaken for angina pectoris, pleurisy or other serious disorders. In this article the clinical features, pathogenesis and management of the various musculoskeletal chest wall disorders are discussed. The more common causes are costochondritis, traumatic muscle pain, trauma to the chest wall, “fibrositis” syndrome, referred pain, psychogenic regional pain syndrome, and arthritis involving articulations of the sternum, ribs and thoracic spine. Careful analysis of the history, physical findings and results of investigation is essential for precise diagnosis and effective treatment.

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