Chest Pain:
Causes, Symptoms, & When to contact a Doctor

Symptoms of chest pain including sharp, dull, and radiating pain.

Chest pain is a discomfort or sensation that can occur anywhere in the chest area, including between the ribs, in the chest cavity, or at the top of the abdomen. This pain can manifest in various ways, such as a dull ache, sharp stabbing, or pressure.

It's essential to understand that chest pain may not always be related to the heart; muscles, ribs, stomach, esophagus, lungs, stress, anxiety, or depression can also contribute to this discomfort.

As an example, gas pain in the chest is often mistaken for more serious conditions. Therefore, it's crucial to recognize the different types of chest pain, such as a burning sensation, to identify potential causes accurately..

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Causes of chest pain such as muscle strain, GERD, and anxiety attacks.

Many conditions and factors can lead up to pain in the chest. In this section we will look more closely at these various causes and try to better understand them. See the list below for the most common causes

  • Muscles and Ribs: Chest pain can result from overworked muscles between the ribs, often triggered by prolonged coughing or strenuous activities like painting, masonry, or cleaning. Tietze syndrome, characterized by a stabbing pain where the ribs connect to the breastbone, is another possibility.
  • Stomach and Esophagus: Stomach acid in the esophagus can cause pain, particularly a few hours after eating and when lying down. This discomfort may be alleviated by consuming food or beverages or taking stomach medication.
  • Stress, Anxiety, or Depression: Tightness in the chest may be linked to emotional factors such as stress, panic attacks, or anxiety. Depression can also manifest as chest pain.
  • Heart: Chest pain related to the heart may indicate angina pectoris, where the heart receives insufficient oxygen during intense physical activity or stress. Problems with heart rhythm, such as atrial fibrillation, and inflammation of the pericardium (pericarditis) can also contribute to chest pain.
  • Lungs: Various lung conditions, including pneumonia, the flu, or a severe cold, can cause chest pain. Inflammation of lung membranes, pulmonary embolism (blood clot in a lung vessel), and a collapsed lung are potential contributors.
  • Skin: Shingles, characterized by pain on one side of the rib cage along with spots and blisters, is another possible cause of chest discomfort.

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Chest pain advice from certified physicians using the MIA App.

If you have pain or a heavy pressure sensation in your chest, along with sweating, and nausea, call emergency services immediately.

If chest pain is associated with muscle or rib strain, self-management includes avoiding activities that worsen the pain and allowing the muscles to rest.

Lifestyle modifications, such as avoiding acidic foods and maintaining an upright posture after meals, can help manage chest pain related to stomach issues.

Remember, timely medical intervention is crucial for accurately diagnosing and addressing the underlying cause of chest pain. Never hesitate to seek professional advice if you are uncertain or concerned about your symptoms.

  • Persistent or recurring chest pain warrants a consult with your general practitioner.
  • If chest pain is sudden, sharp or accompanied by difficulty breathing, it's advisable to seek medical attention promptly.
  • If you experience chestpain along with psychological stress Emotional factors like stress, anxiety, or depression may contribute to unexplained chest pain.
  • If chest pain is intense, accompanied by sweating, nausea, and a heavy pressure sensation, it may indicate a medical emergency.
  • If chest pain persists during rest or is associated with irregular heartbeats, rapid breathing, or fever.

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