Chest pain is a symptom of numerous health conditions and what causes chest pain in one person can be entirely different than the cause in the next person. If you are suffering from chest pain, you need to first assess whether it seems to be a serious or benign issue. If chest pain is caused by heart problems, immediate treatment may be necessary to save your life.
Types of chest pain Some chest pain is caused by reasons not related to any cardiac condition. These causes of chest pain include heartburn, pain with coughing or deep breathing and a feeling of tenderness, like bruising, in the chest. These other conditions may or may not require further treatment, but a physician should be consulted to rule out other health problems and decide upon a proper course of treatment. Treatment may be as simple as an over-the-counter antacid or an antibiotic for a respiratory infection. If the pain is occasional and not severe, your doctor may simply suggest watching and waiting for further developments.
The heart When a heart problem causes chest pain, the pain experienced can vary and mimic that of other conditions. This is why it is so important for you to see a physician immediately if you are dealing with chest pain that is new. When the heart causes chest pain, common symptoms include an uncomfortable fullness or tightness, chest pain that radiates down the neck, back or arm and intermittent pain varying in severity. These symptoms can be accompanied by short of breath, dizziness and nausea.
Non-heart related Some common conditions cause chest pain, such as heartburn. However, most people have had occasional experiences with heartburn and can recognize its symptoms. Other conditions that cause chest pain include hernias, gallbladder disease and pancreatitis. These conditions may need medical treatment, but do not present the same risk as heart related causes of chest pain.
Other conditions Causes of chest pain can also be the result of other conditions which have seemingly little to do with either the heart or the digestive system. These include panic attacks, during which people often think they are having a heart attack. Cancer can cause chest pain as well, although this is not common. Lung conditions such as pleurisy or a lung embolism are known to cause sometimes excruciating chest pain.
Regardless of what causes chest pain, treatment should be sought as soon as possible. If you have any suspicion that you are suffering a heart attack, call 911 for emergency medical treatment. If you experience frequent, recurring chest pain, a visit to the doctor is in order to diagnose the underlying condition and ensure proper treatment.