Chest pain is a kind of pain or discomfort that can be felt anywhere in the front body part between your upper abdomen and neck. It is also referred to as chest discomfort, chest pressure, or chest tightness. Many people confuse chest pain as heart attack. But, in reality this is not the case. Although, it is not as severe as heart attack, chest pain should still be considered seriously.
There can be a lot of possible causes of chest pain. In fact, in the United States, as much as one-fourth of the entire population experiences chest pain, which is not associated with the heart. Among the various causes of chest pain, some of them are not too critical, while other are serious and can even be life-threatening.
Chest pain can be caused by any tissue or organ in your chest, such as the lungs, esophagus, heart, muscles, ribs, nerves, tendons, etc. Moreover, the pain caused by different organs is different and not the same. This pain is even not specific for each cause. And, this can also spread to other nearby parts of your body, including your upper abdomen, back, and neck.
The different types of chest pain can be:
- A tight, crushing, or squeezing sensation
Causes of chest pain
- Blood vessel or heart problems that can result in chest pain:
- A heart attack or angina: One of the most common symptoms of chest pain is a heart attack or angina. During this, you may feel like a heavy pressure, tightness, crushing, or squeezing pain within your chest. And, this pain can also spread to the shoulder, arm, back, or jaw.
- Sac inflammation: An inflammation or swelling in the sac, which covers the heart can cause pain in the center of the chest. This condition is referred to as pericarditis.
- Aorta wall tear: Aorta is the big blood vessel that is responsible for carrying blood to the rest of your body from your heart. When the wall of the aorta tears, called the aortic dissection, it can result in a severe and sudden pain in the upper back and chest.
- Lung problems that can result in chest pain:
- Lung collapse, also called pneumothorax
- Blood clotting in the lung, known as pulmonary embolism
- Swelling of the lining that surrounds the lung can also lead to chest pain, giving the feeling of a sharp pain that worsens when you cough or take a deep breath. This condition is known as pleurisy or pleuritis.
- Pneumonia can cause chest pain, which feels like a sharp pain that worsens when you cough of take a deep breath.
- Other causes of chest pain:
- Shingles can cause tingling, spiky pain on one side of the chest, which can stretch to the back and may also result in a rash.
- Panic or anxiety attacks can also cause chest pain, especially when you breathe quickly, with symptoms like dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath sensation, trembling, and tingling sensations.
- Ache in the tendons and muscles between the ribs
- Inflammation of the part where the ribs connect the sternum or breast bone, also known as costochondritis
When to consult the heart doctor
The only way to verify a chest pain is to consult a Singapore heart doctor as soon as you experience it. Let the doctor evaluate you and tell if it is chest pain or something else. No matter what kind of chest pain you are experiencing call your doctor immediately, especially if it is not alleviated by anti-inflammatory medications or if it comes abruptly.