Chest pain can be in multiple forms: raging sharp stabs, dull aches, and chest pain that feels like burning or crushing. The pain usually travels up to the neck, then to the jaw, and spreads back to both or one arm. There can be multiple reasons behind chest pain; the most life-threatening causes include the heart and lungs. Get immediate medical attention in case of chest pain.
Reasons behind chest pain
There are multiple reasons for chest pain, so heart problems aren’t always the reason. Don’t self-diagnose; consult a health professional to find the actual cause. Following are some common reasons behind chest pain:
- Chest strain or sprain
- Panic attack or anxiety
Types of chest pain
- Pressure, tightness, burning in the chest.
- Searing or crushing pain spreads to the jaw, neck, back, shoulders, and arms.
- Shortness of breath.
- Unexpected cold sweats.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- A sensation of food or sour taste in the mouth.
- Difficulties in swallowing.
- Pain worsens depending on the body’s position.
- Tenderness while pushing/touching the chest.
- Constant pain for hours.
Heart problems and chest pain
The standard heart problems that cause chest pain are:
- Pericarditis, which provokes stabbing, sharp pain that worsens when breathing or lying down
- Angina and heart attacks have similar symptoms, but a heart attack can be life-threatening.
People are more likely to develop heart problems or be at risk of coronary heart disease when they get old.
Risk factors for chest pain
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history of heart attacks or angina
- Swallowing disorder
- Pancreas problems
- Injured ribs
- Sore muscles
Get help when a chest pain
- Spreads to back, jaw, or arm
- When the chest feels heavy or tight
- Shortness of breath along with sweating or sickness
- Pain lasts more than 15 minutes
- Random episodes of chest pain
Call for medical emergency assistance immediately when you come across unexplained chest pain or having a heart attack. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to life-threatening outcomes.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 23 JUNE 2022