What's Causing My Chest Pain?
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.