Chest Pain - Home Treatment
Home treatment is not appropriate
for chest pain if the pain occurs with
symptoms of a heart attack. If you think a heart
attack might be the cause of your symptoms, call911or other emergency services immediately. After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.
Home treatment for people who have been diagnosed with chest pain (angina)
Most people who have been diagnosed with angina have a
pattern to their angina attacks that they can recognize. If you and your doctor
have made a
home treatment plan for your angina attacks, follow that plan. If the pain
gets worse or does not go away or if you are unsure how to use your plan,
call911or other emergency services immediately.
You may be able to
control how much your angina bothers you by making changes in your lifestyle.
You may find it helpful to:
- Avoid strenuous activities that bring on
- Eat balanced, nutritious meals. Try to limit the amount of
fats and fatty foods you eat.
- Maintain a healthy
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Don't drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day if you are a man, or 1 alcoholic drink a day if you are a woman.
- Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. For more information, see the topic
- Reduce stress. For more
information, see the topic
- Control your blood
pressure with diet and medicine. For more information, see the topic
High Blood Pressure.
extremely cold or hot environments.
- Take all medicines, such as nitroglycerin, as
instructed by your doctor.
- Follow the exercise or activity program
you and your doctor developed.
If you do not need 911
emergency medical treatment for your chest pain or angina,
take your pulse before reporting your symptoms to your
doctor. Your heart rate and rhythm at the time of your chest pain may help your
doctor evaluate your symptoms.
Home treatment for minor pain in the chest
treatment for minor chest pain depends on the cause of the pain. Minor chest
pain often improves with home treatment. A visit to your doctor
may not be needed.
Chest wall pain
chest wall pain caused by strained muscles or
ligaments or a fractured rib:
- Rest. Rest and protect
an injured or sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that
may be causing your pain or soreness.
Cold will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an
ice or cold pack immediately to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice
or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. After 48 to 72 hours,
if swelling is gone, apply
to the area that hurts.
- Do not wrap or tape
your ribs for support. This may cause you to take smaller breaths, which could
increase your risk for developing
pneumonia or partial lung collapse
- Medicated creams that you put on the skin (topical)
may soothe sore muscles.
- Gentle stretching and massage may help
you get better faster. Stretch slowly to the point just before discomfort
begins, then hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. Do this 3 to 4 times a day.
It is really helpful after the use of heat.
- As your pain gets
better, slowly return to your normal activities. Any increased pain may mean
that you need to rest a while longer.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
| Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your fever or pain:|
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
| Be sure to follow
these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:|
- Carefully read and follow all
directions on the medicine bottle and box.
- Do not take more than
the recommended dose.
- Do not take a medicine if you have had an
allergic reaction to it in the past.
you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take
- If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other
than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
- Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.
If you have other symptoms along with your minor chest pain, see the Related Information section for topics that
relate to your other symptoms.