Common Specialities
{{speciality.keyWord}}
Common Issues
{{issue.keyWord}}
Common Treatments
{{treatment.keyWord}}

Overview

Last Updated: Nov 02, 2021
Change Language

Chest Pain: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

About Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Duration of Chest Pain Treatment Risk factors Side effects Post-treatment guidelines Recovery Cost Results Alternatives

What is chest pain?

Chest pain is a sudden sharp, piercing pain which often heralds the signs of a serious heart-related issue. Chest pain could vary depending on the intensity, duration, location and quality. Aside from heart attack which occurs due to blocked blood flow, chest pain could also be a cause of various other heart related disorders.

Are chest pains normal?

The chest pain can occur on varied levels. It can be something related to heart, digestive system, muscles or psychological factors. The causes of chest pain can be very normal or they can be very dangerous. The underlying cause of chest pain can be acid reflux which may cause mild pain and it may be a heart related problem which may cause a dreadful pain.

What are the different locations of chest pain?

The pain could occur in different locations of the body. It can be in the chest walls including the ribs, the skin and the muscle. The back along with the spines, nerves and back muscles can experience pain too.

Even lungs are the victim of pain. The trachea and the lining of the lung can experience it. There can be severe pain in the heart too. The aorta or the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the other parts of the body could experience pain too.

What symptoms may occur with chest pain?

Symptoms that may occur in chest pain are:

  • Cold Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Burning, pressure or tightness in the chest
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Varied intensity and to and fro of pain
  • Searing of crushing pain in shoulders, arms, neck, jaw and back

Are chest pains a sign of coronavirus?

If a person has coronavirus, he may feel his chest tightened and there may be difficulty breathing. Chest pain and "shortness of breath" are very common manifestations of coronavirus. They can occur on their own.

What does burping and Chest Pain indicate?

Pain in the chest usually indicates the accumulation of gas either in the stomach or in the left portion of the colon. Swallowing too much air can lead to the trapping of unwanted gas in the gastrointestinal tract which becomes a reason for initiating Chest Pain. In addition to this, burping is also an indication of the gas that is gathered or trapped in the GIT.

What causes chest pain?

Experiencing a chest pain automatically takes a person on a ride to thoughts of Heart attack. Although it may be caused by less serious conditions as well. According to the National Centre for Health Studies, about 13% of all the cases that go to the emergency room are diagnosed with serious heart problems.

Some of the causes of chest pain include:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: It is when the contents of the stomach lifts up and moves into the throat. It causes a burning sensation in the throat and in the chest.
  • Asthma: Asthma is a common breathing problem. The patient experiences inflammation in the airways. It can cause chest-pain too.
  • Muscle Strain: Muscle inflammation around the ribs can cause continuous pain in the chest. If the pain remains and becomes worse with the activity, it can be muscle strain.
  • Injured Ribs: Injury in the ribs such as breakage, fracture etc. can also lead to extreme pain in chest.
  • Angina: Which occurs as a result of blocked blood vessels
  • Pericarditis: Swelling of the pericardium sac membrane encircling the heart
  • Myocarditis: Swelling of the myocardium heart muscle
  • Cardiomyopathy: A disease of the heart that causes it to become enlarged
  • Aortic dissection Tearing of the aorta
  • Heartburn
  • Esophagus disorders
  • Pneumonia
  • Blood clot
  • Chronic pain
  • The inflammation of the pancreas.
COVID-19 Symptoms: Chest pain is a possible symptoms of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) . The other common symptoms are dry cough, fever and shortness of breath.

How is chest pain diagnosed?

On experiencing chest pain it is advised that you call for an ambulance or your health care provider. Explain the symptoms, your medical history and the medications that you may be already taking. At the outset you will be required to undergo physical assessment tests that involve doing:

  • ECG (Electrocardiogram): This records a person heart electrical activity.
  • Blood Test: It is done to measure the enzyme level in the body.
  • Chest X-Ray: To examine the chest, heart and lungs
  • MRI: It is used to check if there’s any damage to the heart or Aorta

On the basis of the results of these tests you will be required to undergo certain follow up tests such as:

  • Echocardiogram: Sound waves are used to record the moving images of the heart to check its working or not!
  • Computerized tomography (CT scan): CT scans to determine whether your chest pain is due to a heart attack
  • Stress Test: It is done to check the functioning of the heart after exertion
  • Angiogram: This is done to look for any blocks in arteries.

When should you be concerned about Chest Pain?

Chest Pain should not be ignored in any condition. It is much required to consult a doctor in such cases. Based on the diagnosis, the pain may be possibly linked to the heart or lungs, or in some cases esophagus, muscles, ribs, and nerves may also be involved. These conditions need to be concerned as they can cause serious complications.

How do I know if Chest Pain is muscular?

Chest Pain in case of muscle strain or pull may be sharp or dull, referred to as acute pull or chronic strain respectively. Some other signs and symptoms that clearly indicate muscles related Chest Pain include muscle spasms, swelling, painful breathing, bruising, and painful movement of the affected part. These are accompanied by fever, irritability, dizziness, sweating, increased pulse rate, etc.

How long should Chest Pain last?

The duration of Chest Pain depends upon its type which means to which of the body organs it is associated. The conditions that occur usually with Chest Pain are angina pectoris and heart attack. In case of a heart attack, the pain usually lasts for more than 15 minutes, while it takes usually 5 to 10 minutes for the pain to subside in case of angina.

How is chest pain treated?

There are various treatments for chest pain like medication, surgery or a mixture of both. The way and type of treatment is opted according to the level of the pain. If the pain is because of heart problem, then the treatment include:

  • Medications:

    Medications such as nitroglycerine (which is an artery relaxer, that enables the blood to flow more easily through these narrow spaces), aspirin,heparin drugs that help to bust clots (these drugs dissolve the clot that is inhibiting the blood flow to the heart), blood thinners, acid suppressing medications and antidepressants. Due to their working nature these drugs are known as anti-coagulants

  • Surgical procedures:

    The surgical procedures include angioplasty, balloon and stent placement treatment. All of these methods open the blocked blood vessels after a narrow tube is inserted into the largest blood vessel in the groin region.

    Other procedures include bypass surgery (in case of a blocked artery this surgical method creates another route for the blood to flow), dissection repair (in case of aortic dissection, this method repairs the ruptured artery carrying the blood) and lung reinflation (this method inflates the lung by inserting a tube).

If the pain is caused by other factors, treatment include:

  • Lung reinflation performed by a doctor done by inserting a chest tube
  • Using antacids in case of acid reflux
  • Anti-anxiety medications in case the pain is due to panic attacks.

What are the risk factors for causes of chest pain?

The risk factors for causes of chest pain are:

  • Elevated levels of Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Obesity

Are there any side effects?

Side effects of taking nitroglycerine include headache, rapid heartbeat, feeling of nausea and vomiting, skin rash and dizziness. Serious side effects include a rapid fall in blood pressure levels.

Angioplasty though effective in reducing the chances of a heart attack does involve some risks. For example people may experience continuous narrowing of the arteries. There is the risk of damaging your coronary arteries, to your kidney. There is risk of having a stroke while undergoing treatment.

There is risk of bleeding which may require you to take blood transfusion. There is the risk of blood clots as well as irregular heartbeat.

in case of bypass surgery you may experience reactions such as infection and bleeding at the site of the surgery, fever, stroke or even death and adverse reactions to anaesthesia.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There are certain post-treatment guidelines for chest pain. If you have undergone an angioplasty treatment for example, you need to take your medications regularly. Ensure to never stop taking your anti-clotting medicines before discussing with your doctor as these are extremely essential to keep the chances of heart attacks or strokes in check.

It is necessary that you go for a physical check-up that comprising of an ECG and some laboratory tests, a week after completing the treatment. You should avoid any high-impact exercises or lifting any heavy objects for at least a month after the treatment.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet is also of utmost importance. Should you experience any pain in the chest or any side effects to the medications you are taking you should immediately go see your doctor.

How long does it take to recover?

Post an angioplasty treatment it takes about 4 days for the patient to resume normal activities. Avoid lifting heavy objects for at least 4 weeks after the treatment. You can resume your sexual activities at least 4 days after.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

An angioplasty treatment in India for example could cost you about 2-4 lakh on an average. And if you’re a foreigner looking to treat yourself or anyone you know in India, the cost of angioplasty will be at least 50 % more as compared to an Indian treating himself/herself in India.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

If you have undergone an angioplasty treatment then the effects of the treatment could last long enough to prevent the chances of a stroke or heart attack for a considerable period of time. However you may experience the narrowing of arteries once again. In certain cases where people adopt a healthy lifestyle then the results of the treatment may be permanent.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

If you are looking for more natural or herbal options as opposed to medications to treat your chest pain problem then you need to exercise on a more or less regular basis to keep your heart healthy. You should immediately stop the habit of smoking (i.e., if you have it), have a more nutritious diet consisting of fresh onion and garlic, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and fish high in omega 3 fatty acids.

Summary: There could be many reasons for chest pain. It could be because of Asthma, Anxiety attacks, or acid reflux. But sometimes, chest pain can be an alarm for an upcoming fatal problem too.

Does drinking water help relieve Chest Pain?

Chest Pain in most cases is related to the heart. There are some ways that can help relieve Chest Pain. Drinking water is one of them. Hot water in place of a normal one is preferred as it helps in getting rid of the unwanted gas formed in the body that is responsible for pain in the chest. In case of Chest Pain which is due to gas, hot water or beverages should be taken.

Summary: Pain in the chest usually indicates the accumulation of gas either in the stomach or in the left portion of the colon. Swallowing too much air can lead to the trapping of unwanted gas in the gastrointestinal tract which becomes a reason for initiating Chest Pain. However, an aching and burning pain in the chest may indicate heart problems. Some preventive measures need to be taken in such conditions as kneeling on the floor, consuming hot liquids, massage of the upper back region, and taking medicines like aspirin.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am 27. I went under ovulation test. It was 23 mm in left ovary with 10.7 mm endo thickness. On day 15 the follicle ruptured. I felt so much urge to urinate I peed alot on day 12,14,15th day and back pain, lower abdomen pain. After reputation I saw no discharge. Please let me know the condition. I’m taking come for 3_4 cycles and am a pcod.

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
There is nothing like knowing condition. Any couple desirous of pregnancy and not getting same naturally must meet gynecologist or infertility specialist accepting facts that it needs many reports and different trials of treatment. Means couple mu...

Hi doctor, milky white discharge is pregnancy symbol. back pain stomach pain, headache. Breast pain, enlarge. Symptoms of pregnancy.

M.D. Consultant Pathologist, CCEBDM Diabetes, PGDS Sexology USA, CCMTD Thyroid, ACDMC Heart Disease, CCMH Hypertension, ECG, CCCS ( CARDIOLOGY & STROKE), CCIGC ( GERIATRIC CARE )
General Physician, Sri Ganganagar
It cannot establish pregnancy. Better go for upt or blood beta hcg test for pregnancy confirmation,

I took 2 ipils in 1 week. That was the week soon after my periods. But 2 days later I started bleeding! and sever body pain especially lower abdomen back pain leg pain.

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
After taking the high hormonal emergency pill like I pill one gets withdrawal bleeding 5 to 10 days later, and then a new cycle starts. However, taken 2 in a week causes more imbalance of hormones. For complaints meet Gynecologist

Popular Health Tips

Spondylolysthesis - A Condition Which Affects Your Spinal Bones!

Orthopedic Doctor, Jaipur
Spondylolysthesis - A Condition Which Affects Your Spinal Bones!
Spondylolisthesis refers to the condition which affects your spinal bones or lower vertebrae. Due to this condition one of the lower vertebrae overlaps the bone directly beneath it. Although a painful condition, it can certainly be treated with bo...
3456 people found this helpful

Pregnancy & Yoga - Is It Really Effective?

MBBS, MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology, PGD Ultrasonography
Gynaecologist, Ghaziabad
Pregnancy & Yoga - Is It Really Effective?
Yoga is a group of mental, spiritual, and physical disciplines or practices which initiated in ancient India. Yoga uses exercise, meditation, body positions (called postures), and breathing techniques. It helps in improving health and focuses on p...
4559 people found this helpful

Cautious Signs During Pregnancy!

MBBS, MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology, DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology)
Gynaecologist, Raipur
Cautious Signs During Pregnancy!
If you want to have a safe pregnancy by curtailing all sorts of complications, then you have to promptly respond to warning bells. There are certain warning symptoms that should not be neglected at all as that might put your pregnancy in danger. B...
7064 people found this helpful

Uterine Fibroids - Types & Diagnosis Of It!

MBBS, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Diploma in Reproductive Medicine & Embryology, Fellowship in Gynaecology Endoscopy, certificate of achievement in aesthetic and functional gynecology 2018
Gynaecologist, Raipur
Uterine Fibroids - Types & Diagnosis Of It!
Uterine fibroids are benign tumours that develop within the uterus during a woman s reproductive years when the levels of oestrogen hormone are high. These are usually seen developing between 16-50 years of age and affect nearly 30% of all women b...
3989 people found this helpful

Lumbar Disc Pain - Types & Treatment Of It!

Fellow Adult Knee Reconstruction and Sports Injuries, Fellowship in Interventional Pain Practice, MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedic Doctor, Gurgaon
Lumbar Disc Pain - Types & Treatment Of It!
Lumbar Disc Pain or Lower back pain is one of the most common problems that people experience at some point in their lives. The main function of the lumbar region comprises structural support, protection of certain tissues, and facilitates the mov...
2861 people found this helpful
Content Details
Written By
MD - Internal Medicine,MBBS,DM - Cardiology,Fellow European Society of Cardiology
Cardiology
Play video
Surgery for Slip Disc - Microdiscectomy
A slipped disc occurs when the outer ring becomes weak or torn and allows the inner portion to slip out. A slipped disc can cause lower back pain, numbness or tingling in your shoulders, back, arms, hands, legs or feet.
Play video
Disc Related Problems
I am Dr Ramandeep S. Dang, Neurosurgeon, Dr Dang's Brain & Spine Clinic, Delhi. I am trained in the art of neurosurgery at King George's Medical University, Lucknow. Disc problems, our spine is made up of multiple bones called vertebrae. In betwee...
Play video
Know More About Lower Back & Neck Pain
Hi friends, My name is Dr. Himanshu Gupta. I am orthopedic spine specialist based out of Gurgaon. Today, I will be talking about lower back and neck pain, this is the most common ailment which brings patients to the orthopedic OPD. Why has there b...
Play video
Cosmetic Breast Surgery
Hi, I am Dr. Mithilesh Mishra, Cosmetic/Plastic Surgeon. Aaj mai aap ko cosmetic breast surgery ke baare mein bataunga ki kin kin females ko iski jarurat padti hai? Ismein 3 main procedures hote hain. 1. Augmentation, jismein hum breast ka size ba...
Play video
Uterine Fibroids
Hi, I am Dr. Puja Sharma, Gynaecologist. Today I will discuss a very common problem i.e. fibroid uterus. If you are at a reproductive age group then you must know about this. What are fibroids? What can happen if they are left untreated? What are ...
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice