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What can cause chest pain?
5 Oct. 2014

Cchest painhest pain is not something to ignore. The first thing one thinks when he has chest pain is a heart attack. Yet, while it is a possible sign of a heart related-problem, only 13% of chest pain complaints result in a serious heart-related problem. The other 87% of complaints are caused by other health conditions, which can be minor and non-life-threatening. For instance, chest pain can be induced by disorders of lungs, esophagus, nerves, lymphatics, muscles or ribs, or can be provoked by stress, panic attacks, gallstones and even shingles.

Chest pain varies and can be felt anywhere from neck to the upper abdomen. It can be sharp, dull, aching, burning, stabbing, squeezing or crushing, depending on its cause.

Chest pain induced by heart-related problems may be a sign of angina. In this case the pain spreads to the arm, shoulder or back with a squeezing sensation and can be relieved by rest. During heart attacks, chest pain is similar to angina, though it is typically more severe and crushing, accompanied by sweating, nausea and extreme weakness, and cannot be relieved by rest. The same symptoms may manifest in case of myocraditis, where besides chest pain there can appear fatigue, fever and trouble breathing. Pericarditis causes a steady, sharp pain along the upper neck and shoulder muscle, and can get worse when breathing, swallowing or lying on the back. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy may provoke chest pain along with lightheadedness, dizziness and air hunger. Coronary artery dissection may induce a sudden, severe pain with a ripping or tearing sensation that goes up to the neck, abdomen or back. Mitral valve prolapse involves chest pain with dizziness and palpitations or can have no symptoms at all.

Other heart-related symptoms with or without accompanying chest pain are:

• Pressure or tightness in the chest;
• Jaw, arm or back pain;
• Fatigue;
• Lightheadedness, dizziness or dyspnea;
• Nausea or abdominal pain;
• Pain after physical exertion.

Chest pain not caused by heart-related problems, which is conditioned by muscle or ligament tension during unaccustomed physical load or rib fracture, is always localized. Pain related to esophagus disorder is perceived as a sensation of discomfort in the chest and can be attended with dysphagia and regurgitation. Emotional disorders are accompanied by long-standing or short term stabbing pain, caused by brainfag or physic tension.

Not heart-related chest pain may be attended with other symptoms, as:consultation

• Sour or acidity in the mouth;
• Swallowing difficulty;
• Pain that worsens when breathing or coughing;
• Pain that worsens or improves depending on the body position;
• Back pain radiating to the front of the chest;
• Fever, chills, aches, cough or runny nose.

No matter what type of pain you feel – severe or slight, acute, crushing, squeezing, steady or fleeting – it is necessary to consult a doctor. Although not all the causes of chest pain episode need immediate medical intervention, some of them can be life-threatening.

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