Chest pain occurs anywhere between the neck and the upper tummy of your body.
Chest pain often leads to fear of a heart attack in people who suffer from it. Chest pain, however, can be caused by a variety of factors. It is critical to know that some causes are not dangerous to your health, whereas others are serious and, in some cases, life-threatening.
There are many organs and tissues in your chest that can cause pain, including your heart, lungs, oesophagus, muscles, ribs, and tendons. There is also a possibility that pain from the neck, abdomen, and back can spread to the chest.
Chest pain can be caused by:
- Heart attack or angina. Symptoms include chest pain that feels tight, squeezed, or crushing. It may spread to the arm, shoulder, back, or jaw.
- A rupture of the aortic wall (aortic dissection) causes sudden, severe pain in the chest and upper back.
- Pain in the center of the chest is caused by swelling (inflammation) in the sac surrounding the heart.
Chest pain can be caused by the following lung problems:
- (pulmonary embolism) An obstruction of the lung’s blood supply.
- An explosion of air in the chest (pneumothorax).
- In pneumonia, you may feel sharp chest pains that become more intense with deep breaths or coughs.
- An enlargement of the lining around the lung (pleurisy) can cause sharp chest pain that gets increasingly intense when you breathe deeply or cough.
Chest pain can also be caused by:
- An attack of panic, often accompanied by fast breathing.
- (Costochondritis) Inflammation of the joints of the ribs and sternum.
- Shingles is a painful, tingling condition that may cause a rash and sharp pain on one side of the body.
- Muscle and tendon strain between the ribs.
- Digestion problems like stomach ulcers, heartburn, gastritis, gallstones and stomach spasms can also cause chest pain.
- The heart does not usually cause chest pain in children.
Whenever you suffer from chest pain, it’s crucial to talk to your doctor before trying to treat yourself at home.
In the following situations, call 999 or go to the nearest A/E:
- You feel pressure, crushing, squeezing, or squeezing in your chest.
- In some cases, the pain may spread to your jaw, left arm, or between your shoulder blades as well.
- You feel nauseated, dizzy, sweaty, or short of breath.
- When your chest discomfort becomes more intense, comes on when you’re doing less activity, or lasts for a longer period of time than usual, you know you have angina.
- After a long trip, bedrest (for example, following an operation), or other lack of movement, you may experience sudden, sharp chest pain and shortness of breath, especially if one leg is swollen or more swollen than the other
Heart attack or pulmonary embolism are serious conditions you have been diagnosed with.
If you have the following health conditions, you are more likely to suffer a heart attack:
- There is a history of heart disease in your family.
- A smoker, a cocaine user, or an overweight individual.
- Diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
- You are already suffering from heart disease.
The types of tests that are done depend on the cause of the pain, and what other medical problems or risk factors you have.
To discuss examination and treatment options, please book an appointment with our specialist.
To learn more about chest pain, please click on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chest-pain/
Dr Ibrahim Yahli MD MRCPsych