Chest Discomfort: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

What is Chest Discomfort?

Chest discomfort or chest pain happens to be one of the most common reasons for people visiting the emergency room. The degree of chest pain or chest discomfort might vary from one person to the other. Additionally, chest pain also tends to vary regarding intensity, duration, quality, and location of the discomfort. 

In most cases, chest discomfort or chest pain feels like a sharp, shooting or stabbing pain or even a dull ache nearby the chest area. It could symbolize a serious heart-related issue. However, it might also occur because of several common causes that might not be life-threatening. 

How does Chest Discomfort Occur?

When you encounter chest discomfort or pain, the first thought that comes to your mind is that you might be having a heart attack. While chest pain or discomfort is directly related to the possible sign of a heart attack, it could also be caused due to several other less serious reasons or conditions. 

Heart-related causes of chest discomfort or pain:

  • Heart attack which refers to the blockage of proper blood flow to the heart
  • Cardiomyopathy –a disease of the muscles of the heart
  • Angina –caused due to the blockage of the blood vessels leading to the heart
  • Aortic dissection –a rare condition that involves the tearing of the aorta 
  • Pericarditis –inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart
  • Myocarditis –inflammation of the muscles of the heart

Lung-related causes of chest pain or discomfort:

  • Viral bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Some blood clot
  • Pneumothorax –leaking of air from the lungs into the chest
  • Bronchospasm –constriction caused in the air passages
  • Viral bronchitis

Gastrointestinal causes of chest discomfort or pain:

  • Gallstones
  • Heartburn or acid reflux
  • Swallowing issues due to the disorders of the esophagus
  • Inflammation of the pancreas or gallbladder

Bone or muscle-related causes of heart discomfort or pain:

  • Sore muscles due to chronic pain issues
  • Broken or bruised ribs
  • Compression fractures leading to pressure on the nerves

Some of the other causes of discomfort or pain in the chest might be due to shingles that appear as rashes and could lead to pain in the chest or back. Panic attacks might also be the cause of chest discomfort or pain.

Who is Prone to Chest Discomfort?

Anyone can develop the symptoms of chest pain or discomfort due to a myriad of reasons as mentioned above. However, heart-related issues or problems are more common in individuals who are overweight and follow an unhealthy lifestyle including eating too much junk food with lack of any exercise.

What is the Symptom of Chest Discomfort? How is Chest Discomfort Diagnosed?

Most individuals might have different symptoms of chest pain or discomfort. When you are able to know well the chest drain indications and symptoms, it can help the doctor in diagnosing the main issue. Here are some symptoms to look forward to:

Heart-related symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Chest tightness or pressure
  • Pain in the arms, back, or jaw
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Pain during any exertion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea

Other additional symptoms associated with heart discomfort or pain that might not be heart-related could include:

  • An acidic or sour taste in the mouth
  • Pain or discomfort that occurs only when you eat or swallow
  • Difficulty in swallowing food & water
  • Pain that tends to worsen due to a certain body position
  • Pain or discomfort especially while coughing
  • Fever
  • A cough
  • Rashes


During the diagnosis of chest pain or discomfort, the doctor might perform a series of tests including a chest X-ray, ECG or EKG, blood tests, an MRI, an echocardiogram, an angiogram, or even stress tests. You must also ask the doctor to look for any chest tumor symptoms (if any).

What are the Complications of Heart Discomfort?

  • Heart-related issues including heart attack
  • Discomfort during eating or swallowing
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn

What is the Treatment for Heart Discomfort?

Depending on the diagnosis of the heart discomfort or pain, the doctor might suggest some effective treatments towards eliminating the pain or discomfort. Some of the possible treatments include:

  • Medications including nitroglycerine & other medicines that act as blood thinners
  • Cardiac catheterization involving the use of stents or balloons for opening the blocked arteries
  • Surgical repairing of the heart arteries known as the “bypass surgery”

Some of the treatments for the chest discomfort due to other reasons include:

  • Use of antacids
  • Lung re-inflation
  • Use of anti-anxiety medications

Home Remedies for Chest Discomfort

Whenever you feel discomfort or pain in the chest, you can also turn up to some effective home remedies including consuming aspirin, baking soda, applying a cold pack to the region, lying down, and others. 

Did You Know?

  • Understanding the main cause of chest pain can help you minimize the same
  • It could be angina and not “heart attack” all the time
  • A variety of heart conditions could lead to chest pain

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