Chest Pain - Symptoms & Treatment
Chest pain is one of the most commonly presented problems to the doctor. Because it can be a symptom of anything from a catastrophic to a trivial medical problem, when a person experiences chest pain it is important to try to characterize that pain as rapidly as possible as being either completely benign, or possibly significant. Less common, but also life-threatening, conditions that cause chest pain include aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism, and pneumothorax. The pain has also been known to start as chest pain and radiate towards the jaw or down into the left or both arms. Some causes of chest pain require prompt medical attention, such as angina, heart attack, or tearing of the aorta. Other causes of chest pain can be evaluated electively, such as spasm of the esophagus, gallbladder attack, or inflammation of the chest wall. Chest pain is one of the most frightening symptoms you can have. Any organ or tissue in your chest can be the source of pain, including your heart, lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, tendons, or nerves.
Chest pain can also be related to problems with your digestive system. It is both a common and threatening problem because in many instances the cause is potentially serious, especially in chest pain of sudden onset. Pain usually lasts for less than a minute, but can come back on and off for an hour or so. Another common cause of sudden chest pain is an panic attack where it is common for people to rush to the hospital believing they are having a heart attack. Frequently patients will describe recurrent symptoms every few weeks or months. Lack of oxygen to the heart muscle causes chest pain (angina). Angina is a type of heart-related chest pain. This pain occurs because your heart is not getting enough blood and oxygen. Angina pain can be similar to the pain of a heart attack. Angina typically lasts from 1 to 15 minutes and is relieved by rest or by placing a nitroglycerin tablet under the tongue. Because it is a subjective experience and difficult to quantify, epidemiological surveys of the prevalence of chest pain and physiological studies of its mechanisms are limited.
Causes of Chest pain
The common causes and risk factor's of Chest pain include the following:
- Strain or inflammation of the muscles and tendons between the ribs.
- Emotional or psychological conditions such as anxiety and panic disorders.
- Anxiety and rapid breathing.
- Peptic ulcer.
- A heart attack - a blood clot that's blocking blood flow to your heart muscle.
- Aortic valve disorder.
- Spasm of the coronary arteries.
- Angina due to cardiac syndrome X.
- Injury to the chest.
Symptoms of Chest pain
Some sign and symptoms related to Chest pain are as follows:
- Severe chest pain.
- Dizziness or fainting.
- Pain may spread to the shoulders, arms, neck, throat or jaw.
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of impending doom.
- Fever and chills.
- A sick feeling in the stomach.
- A constricting sensation in the throat.
Treatment of Chest pain
Here is list of the methods for treating Chest pain:
- Some people may need over-the-counter pain medications (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen), ice, heat, and rest.
- The use of Spinal Cord Stimulation is currently being investigated for treatment of chest pain in patients with angina pectoris.
- Cardiac medication (to promote blood flow to the heart, prevent blood clotting, improve the blood supply, prevent arrhythmias, and decrease heart rate and blood pressure).
- Chewing an aspirin in the early stages of a heart attack may reduce the risk of death by as much as 23%.
- Oxygen therapy (to improve oxygenation to the damaged heart muscle).
- Nitroglycerin: This medication for treating angina temporarily widens narrowed blood vessels, improving blood flow to and from your heart.
- Hospitalization may be required in difficult or serious cases, or when the cause of the pain is unclear.