Chest Pain Causes and Early Treatment

Experiencing chest pain is undoubtedly a scary thing. Mostly it is believed that chest pain causes nothing but cardiac arrest. There is nothing to worry about without getting the main reason behind such pain. It's important to understand what could be causing it, so if you are experiencing chest pain, the first thing you should do is speak to your general physician. 

The reason for chest pain might be because of the heart, injured muscles, psychological factors, or issues pertaining to digestion. But there could also be another explanation that involves feeling emotionally tired, like when a person feels stressed out over something, and in turn, may feel overwhelmed most of the time.

Chest pain could be mild in acid reflux cases. But in any case, it is important to recognize warning signs, so you can receive prompt care and possibly avoid harmful complications down the road.

In this blog, we tried our best to explain all possible chest pain causes and early treatment. Read carefully:

Is Chest Pain Always Serious?

Chest pain may signal a heart, respiratory, or digestive problem. Also, it can result in panic attacks in some people. In fact, about 10-15% of patients diagnosed with chest pain will be diagnosed with panic disorder or panic attack at some point in their life. Some other chest pain causes include anxiety attacks, heart disease, and gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn).

It is fairly possible that chest pain can be a symptom of a heart attack. Many factors contribute to the risk of having heart disease. To rule out complications, see your doctor immediately if chest pain occurs frequently, gets worse over time, is accompanied by other symptoms, or if chest pain does not go away within twenty minutes.

If you are experiencing pain that keeps you off your feet for hours on end, that’s probably not just a bad day – you need to talk to your doctor as soon as possible and go over what may be causing the problem. The physician would suggest some chest pain medicines to relieve the problem.

Major Chest Pain Causes

Some kinds of chest pain usually come and go. Even pain caused due to a heart attack may temporarily get better, but later on, it returns.

It could possible if you’ve injured muscles around your rib cage, but it could also be a sign of more serious conditions like heart disease or pulmonary embolism.

Below are common causes:

Gastrointestinal Problems

Mostly gastrointestinal issues are the main chest pain reasons that can possibly lead to pain in the chest and around the ribs. For instance,

  • Chest burning sensation due to acid reflux
  • Gallstone is another reason that can cause sudden intense pain in the chest that lasts for several hours; comes and goes.
  • Ulcers, also cause pain in the chest that disappears and returns

If one is going through acid reflux, chest pain tends to be more severe after a meal. Also, it may get worse after consuming alcohol or fatty foods.

If you suspect that chest pain is related to the stomach, then it's very important to see a doctor. However, this type of pain normally isn't an emergency and can usually wait until a later date. If you feel that this type of pain isn't an emergency but your chest pain symptoms aren't going away, see your general physician rather than calling and rushing to the hospital at the last minute.

At Ailaaj, we have a panel of experts available 24/7. One can get expert advice anytime around the clock if any of these symptoms appear. 

Click here to connect to Ailaaj doctor through a convenient, safe and secure environment.

Muscle Pain

Chest pain may be a sign of muscle strain or muscular aches which can come from tension or injury.

Some common symptoms of muscle are; 

  • Sharp
  • Throbbing
  • Concentered on one spot 

Chest pain can be due to the muscles, if;

  • it gets better with a massage
  • It gets worse when a person inhales

Panic Attack

Chest pain can be extremely frightening in a panic attack, especially if you have been previously diagnosed with heart problems. The pain can actually feel like that of a heart attack so it's important to not let the chest pain bring you any further into your panic. Many people with panic attacks may begin to feel as though they are going to die, which is an absolutely normal fear for a person having a panic attack to experience.

Breathing exercises are helpful in managing anxiety attacks. Breathe in deeply and hold your breath for some seconds before exhaling. The deep-breathing technique should be repeated five times, releasing tension with each inhalation and exhalation until the anxiety goes away or becomes manageable. Sometimes, these attacks will last for only a few minutes, but probably not longer than that.

If the pain does not go away, it can be difficult to distinguish a panic attack from a heart attack without the help of a doctor. In either case, you need to visit a doctor.

Respiratory infection

Respiratory infections often cause chest pain. In cases where the respiratory infection is accompanied by frequent coughing, the pain can be exacerbated.

See a doctor if you have new chest or lung pain after a respiratory infection.


A heart attack happens when the blood flow to your heart is blocked. This can cause damage to the heart muscle. Symptoms may include chest pain or discomfort, nausea, sweating, and feeling lightheaded or short of breath. There may be pain or discomfort in the jaw.

Angina is often characterized by a squeezing, tight sensation in the chest. It can also be associated with pain in other areas, including the left arm, neck, jaw, and upper abdomen. In some cases, angina can develop due to coronary heart disease.

Angina could be a symptom of coronary heart disease (CHD), which usually occurs when the arteries become clogged. People who suspect that they have Angina must visit a doctor. Many people with CHD do not experience angina and only find out they have it when they have a heart attack.

Heart attack

Whenever you feel sharp, heavy pain in your chest, it may indicate serious problems (heart attack with permanent and possibly fatal damage or cardiac arrest resulting in death). These stem from faulty electrical impulses or blockages that stop blood from reaching the heart.

Sudden, intense pain in the chest may indicate a heart attack or cardiac arrest. These result when electrical impulses or blockages stop blood from reaching the heart. So knowing what to do if this happens is vital!

Heart attack warning signs;

  • Pain in the mid of the chest
  • Sudden pressure on the chest
  • Pain that lasts for minutes
  • Pain that moves to the left shoulder, neck, jaw, or back
  • Shortness of breath 

Chest pain symptoms may vary based on gender or age. Women tend to experience nausea and dizziness, shortness of breath, and back or jaw pain more often than men, for example, but it is important to note that women may not have the classic symptom of chest pain at all!


Cardiac arrest is a serious condition that requires emergency attention. If you think you're having a heart attack, or suffer from heart disease, we highly recommend visiting a doctor immediately!

People with risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, such as hardening of the arteries, previous heart attacks, or a family history of heart disease, are more likely to end up having a heart attack.

Pulmonary Embolism

Blockage in a blood vessel leading to the lungs is pulmonary embolism. It occurs when blood clots get stuck, often from a wound or deep vein thrombosis. If someone has vascular damage in their legs and they suffer from an open wound there or have some kind of injury, they may experience pain in their legs as this increases their chances of developing a blood clot.

Pulmonary embolisms are medical emergencies that result in intense chest pain and breathlessness. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.


Mastitis refers to an infection in breast tissue. It can be intensely painful, causing a person to experience swelling, shooting, or sharp pains in the chest.

Mastitis is common and in most cases will clear up on its own. There are chest pain medicines that can soothe the pain. You may not require any medical intervention, though you should consult your doctor if there are no signs of improvement within 48 hours.

Lung issues

Lung problems that cause harm to the organ itself, like infections and pneumonia, can lead to chest pain and shortness of breath.

As they can restrict air movement and breathing in many cases or even make breathing a struggle.

Lung disorders are serious. Anyone who suspects that they have one should seek medical care as soon as possible, even if you think you may simply have a common cold. However, if you can’t breathe or experience lung-related chest pain, it's considered to be a life-threatening situation and a trip to the emergency room is mandatory.

Bottom Line

Mild or acute chest pain causes anxiety in humans as it is very natural. But it is not just a reason for heart attack. However, prompt medical care can be lifesaving and eliminate any risk. The above mentioned are a few chest pain reasons that make anyone panic. So it is best to receive immediate assistance especially when you don't know the reason behind it or there was an additional risk factor like high-impact exercising or strenuous labor.

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