Skip to content

Pain Management Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

What's Causing My Chest Pain?

(continued)

Chest Pain Causes: Bone, Muscle, or Nerve Problems

Sometimes chest pain may result from overuse or an injury to the chest area from a fall or accident. Viruses can also cause pain in the chest area. Other causes of chest pain include:

Rib problems. Pain from a rib fracture may worsen with deep breathing or coughing. It is often confined to one area and may feel sore when you press on it. The area where the ribs join the breastbone may also become inflamed.

Muscle strain. Even really hard coughing can injure or inflame the muscles and tendons between the ribs and cause chest pain. The pain tends to persist and it worsens with activity.

Shingles. Caused by the varicella zoster virus, shingles may prompt a sharp, band-like pain before a telltale rash appears several days later.

Other Potential Causes of Chest Pain

Another potential cause of chest pain is anxiety and panic attacks. Some associated symptoms can include dizziness, sensation of shortness of breath, palpitations, tingling sensations, and trembling.

When to See the Doctor for Chest Pain

When in doubt, call your doctor about any chest pain you have, especially if it comes on suddenly or is not relieved by anti-inflammatory medications or other self-care steps, such as changing your diet.

Call 911 if you have any of these symptoms along with chest pain:

  • A sudden feeling of pressure, squeezing, tightness, or crushing under your breastbone.
  • Chest pain that spreads to your jaw, left arm, or back.
  • Sudden sharp chest pain with shortness of breath, especially after a long period of inactivity.
  • Nausea, dizziness, rapid heart rate or rapid breathing, confusion, ashen color, or excessive sweating.
  • Very low blood pressure or very low heart rate. 

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever, chills, or coughing up yellow-green mucus.
  • Problems swallowing.
  • Severe chest pain that does not go away.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Andrew Seibert, MD on August 13, 2012
1|2|3
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

pain in brain and nerves
Top causes and how to find relief.
knee exercise
8 exercises for less knee pain.
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
 
illustration of nerves in hand
Slideshow
lumbar spine
Slideshow
 
Woman opening window
Slideshow
Man holding handful of pills
Video
 
Woman shopping for vegetables
Slideshow
Sore feet with high heel shoes
Slideshow
 
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
man with a migraine
Slideshow