Chest pain appears in many forms, ranging from a sharp stab to a dull ache. Sometimes chest pain feels crushing or burning. In certain cases, the pain travels up the neck, into the jaw, and then radiates to the back or down one or both arms.
Many different problems can cause chest pain. The most life-threatening causes involve the heart or lungs. Because chest pain can indicate a serious problem, it's important to seek immediate medical help.
HEART-RELATED CAUSES OF CHEST PAIN
The following are heart-related causes of chest pain:
- heart attack, which is a blockage of blood flow to the heart
- angina, which is chest pain caused by blockages in the blood vessels leading to your heart
- pericarditis, which is an inflammation of the sac around the heart
- myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle
- cardiomyopathy, which is a disease of the heart muscle
- aortic dissection, which is a rare condition involving a tear of the aorta, the large vessel that comes off of the heart
GASTROINTESTINAL CAUSES OF CHEST PAIN
The following are gastrointestinal causes of chest pain:
- acid reflux, or heartburn
- swallowing problems related to disorders of the esophagus
- inflammation of the gallbladder or pancreas
LUNG-RELATED CAUSES OF CHEST PAIN
The following are lung-related causes of chest pain:
- viral bronchitis
- a blood clot, or pulmonary embolus
Bronchospasms commonly occur in people who have asthma and related disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
MUSCLE- OR BONE-RELATED CAUSES OF CHEST PAIN
The following are causes of chest pain related to the muscles or bones:
- bruised or broken ribs
- sore muscles from exertion or chronic pain syndromes
- compression fractures causing pressure on a nerve
Shingles can cause chest pain. You may develop pain along your back or chest before the shingles rash becomes apparent. Panic attacks can also cause chest pain.
SYMPTOMS OF CHEST PAIN
You may have other symptoms that occur with chest pain. Identifying symptoms you may be having can help your doctor make a diagnosis. These include:
While pain is the most common symptom of a heart problem, some people experience other symptoms, with or without chest pain. Women, in particular, have reported unusual symptoms that later have been identified as being the result of a heart condition:
- chest pressure or tightness
- back, jaw, or arm pain
- shortness of breath
- abdominal pain
- pain during exertion
Symptoms that may indicate your chest pain isn’t heart-related include:
- a sour or acidic taste in your mouth
- pain that only occurs after you swallow or eat
- difficulty swallowing
- pain that’s better or worse depending on your body position
- pain that’s worse when you breathe deeply or cough
- pain accompanied by a rash
- runny nose
- feelings of panic or anxiety
- back pain that radiates to the front of your chest
How is chest pain diagnosed?
Seek emergency treatment immediately if you think you may be having a heart attack and especially if your chest pain is new, unexplained, or lasts more than a few moments.
Your doctor will ask you some questions, and your answers can help them diagnose the cause of your chest pain. Be prepared to discuss any related symptoms and to share information about any medications, treatments, or other medical conditions you may have.
Your doctor may order tests to help diagnose or eliminate heart-related problems as a cause of your chest pain. These may include:
- an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which records your heart’s electrical activity
- blood tests, which measure enzyme levels
- a chest X-ray, which is used to examine heart, lungs, and blood vessels
- an echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to record moving images of the heart
- an MRI, which is used to look for damage to the heart or aorta
- stress tests, which are used to measure your heart function after exertion
- an angiogram, which is used to look for blockages in specific arteries
HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR CHEST PAIN
Arnica mont. – Chest pain with sore and bruised feeling.
Ranunculus b. – Good remedy for intercostal rheumatism, sharp stitching pain in the chest along with dyspnoea.
Rhus tox. – Pains extend to the shoulders, worse by initial motion and cold-damp weather, better continued motion and warmth.
Kali carb. – Stitching pain in the chest, which gets worse between 2-3 A.M
Actea racemosa. – Pain worse on the right side.
Rumex c. – Sharp stitching pain through the left lung, often with cough.
Bryonia – Chest pain is of stitching, burning and stabbing in nature, is worse by motion and better by rest and pressure. Thirst for large quantities of water and dryness of mucous membranes often accompanies.
Stannum – Knife like stitches, worse on bending forward and left side.
Aconite – Chest pain due to pneumonia of first stage along with anxiety and restlessness.
Phosphorus – Violent tickling cough, chest pain due to tuberculosis of lungs or pneumonia along with oppression of the chest.
Carbo-veg – Chest pain from indigestion, flatulance and acidity.
Robinia – Burning pain behind sternum due to hyperacidity.
Strophanthus – Chest pain is of stitching and twitching in nature and often of cardiac origin.e.t.c