the beginners guide to chest pain

The Beginner’s Guide to Chest Pain: Everything You Need to Know

Dec 01, 2020

Are you experiencing a dull burning sensation in your chest that never seems to ease up and even feels like it’s getting worse? If you are, there are a myriad of things that can cause you to have chest pain. Most of the time, our minds gravitate towards a heart attack. However, it could be something else.

This is what our doctors in our emergency room near you try to figure out as thousands of people come to seek treatment. As much as chest pain is prevalent, only 20% of the cases in America are diagnosed with a heart attack. Most of the people who come to our ER near you do not have life-threatening issues.

Understanding Chest Pain

Chest pain comes in different forms, and people will experience it differently. Chest pain will vary in quality, location, duration, and intensity. Chest pain can either be a dull ache or a sharp stab. You might even feel as though your chest is burning or being crushed. In some scenarios, the pain can travel up into your jaw, neck, back, and down your arms.

A plethora of factors can cause chest pain, but the ones involving the lungs and heart can be life-threatening. Even though most people will have chest pain that is not caused by a life-threatening issue, it is always best to seek our 24-hour emergency services to know what the problems might be.

What Are the Causes of Chest Pain?

In most cases, when people have chest pain, they tend to think they have a heart attack. Even though chest pain is among the main symptoms, chest pain can be caused by a host of other things, such as:


Some of the heart-related causes of chest pain may be:

  • Angina. This is a condition where you experience chest pain because of poor blood flow to your heart.
  • Pericarditis. This condition is brought about when the sac surrounding your heart becomes inflamed. You might experience stubbing pain that typically worsens when you lie down or respire.
  • Heart attack. Heart attacks happen when there is a blockage that stops blood flow to your heart, which can be a result of a blood clot.
  • Aortic dissection. It is a rare condition characterized by a tear in the aorta. Typically, the disease is life-threatening.

Digestive Causes

Some disorders of the gastrointestinal tract can cause chest pain, such as:

  • Swallowing disorders. These disorders can make swallowing difficult and painful.
  • Heartburn. You might experience burning, and at times, painful sensation behind your breastbone.
  • Gallbladder and pancreas issues. Inflammation of your pancreas or gallbladder or even gallstones causes pain that extends from the abdomen to your chest.

Bone and Muscle Causes

At times, specific injuries and issues with the muscles and bones that constitute the chest wall can cause chest pain, including:

  • Sore muscles
  • Costochondritis
  • Injured ribs


Some lung conditions can cause chest pain, such as:

  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Collapsed lung
  • Pleurisy
  • Pulmonary embolism

Worthy mentions that are not categorized in any of the above groups are:

  • Shingles
  • Panic attacks

Symptoms Which Occur With Chest Pain

Other than chest pain, there are common symptoms that occur with it that may help our doctor at our emergency care make a diagnosis, such as:

Heart-Related Symptoms

Here are some symptoms that accompany chest pain that can be a result of a heart condition:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pressure
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Pain during exertion
  • Jaw, arm, or back pain

Other symptoms that are not heart-related include:

  • Runny nose
  • Aches
  • Fever
  • Hyperventilating
  • Chills
  • Back pain that radiates to your chest
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Pain accompanied by a rash
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A sour or acidic taste in the mouth
  • Pain that occurs after you swallow
  • Pain that worsens or gets better with a change in your body position

How Is Chest Pain Treated?

Our doctor in our emergency room near you can treat your chest pain using medication, surgery, non-invasive procedures, or a combination of these therapies. Treatment is dependent on the severity and cause of chest pain.

Chest pain shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially when the lungs and heart are involved. Take action and call our doctor at our ER near you at Express ER in Abilene to schedule a checkup.

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