Pain Management

Published on August 17th, 2013 | by Tom


Chest Pain In Women: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Chest pain is one of the most common problems that bring a patient to the emergency room. The pain can also vary from a sharp stab to an occasional discomfort. Chest pain can be caused by many health problems, among which, heart attack is the most dangerous one. Sometimes it is very difficult to identify the severity of the chest pain. Read this article to have an overview of chest pain causes, symptoms and treatments.  

Causes of chest pain

Pain can be caused by any organ in the chest, including the heart, lungs, esophagus, blood vessels, ribs, nerves or muscles.

Heart problems

  1. Heart attack. When the blood flow is blocked by a blood clot, a heart attack occurs, resulting in sudden and sharp chest pain.
  2. Angina. A term to describe the chest pain that is caused by coronary artery disease. Arteries are vessels that carry blood to your heart. The acumination of plaques on the inner wall of the arteries will restrict the heart’s blood supply, especially during exertion.
  3. Aortic dissection. Aortic dissection can be fatal. The separation of the inner layers of your aorta, the main artery connected to your heart, will result in the rupture of this blood vessel.
  4. Pericarditis. This is a shortterm condition resulting from inflammation of the sac around your heart.

Lung problems

  1. Pleuritis. Pleuritis, or pleurisy is a term to describe an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the lungs. This condition may cause a sharp pain while you are breathing or coughing. Pleurisy is usually caused by bacterial or viral infections.
  2. Pneumonia or lung abscess. Besides pleurisy, lung infection can also cause pneumonia, a sudden chest ache that result in fever, chills and cough.
  3. Pneumothorax. This is a term used to describe chest pain caused by injuries.  For example, when the injury results in the collapse of one lung, it will release extra air to the chest cavity, which will lead to chest pain and other symptoms like low blood pressure.
  4. Asthma. Due to inflammation in the airways, asthma will cause difficulty in breathing, wheezing or coughing.

Bones and muscles problems

  1. Sore muscles. Problems like fibromyalgia can cause chronic pain in your chest.
  2. Rib injury. A broken or bruised rib is a common cause for chest pain.
  3. Costochondritis. In this condition, the chest pain is caused by the inflammation of the cartilage.

Other causes: inflammation of the esophagus, a panic attack or Shingles from chicken pox can also cause chest pain.

Chest Pain In Women: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Symptoms of chest pain

  • sudden and sharp pain
  • pressure and tightness in your chest
  • burning sensation behind your breastbone
  • Pain that radiates to your neck, shoulders or arms especially to your left arm
  • pain while swallowing and coughing, and become worse if you take a deep breathe.
  • shortness of breath
  • tenderness of the chest
  • fast heartbeat
  • sweating and dizziness
  • nausea or vomiting

Treatment for chest pain

  1. If you are having a sudden and severe chest pain,a heart attack is suspected. Call an ambulance immediately for medical help.
  2. It is better to go to the doctor to have a diagnosis, and identify the cause of your chest pain.
  3. If you are suffering chest wall pain, you can apply a cold compress on your chest and take some antiinflammatory medications.
  4. If your chest pain is caused by angina, take artery relaxing medicine, such as Nitroglycerin, a tablet taken under the tongue will help to improve blood flow through the coronary arteries.
  5. If you are having a heart attack, you need medicines that can dissolve the clot that blocks the vessels. Blood thinners are also helpful by preventing more clots from forming.
  6. If your chest pain is result from stomach acid washing up to your esophagus, you may be recommended with medication to lower your acid level in your stomach.
  7. If your chest discomfort is caused by a panic attack, go to the doctor for antianxiety drugs to ease your symptoms.
  8. Quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol for both of them are triggers that will provoke the symptoms of your chest pain.
  9. If you are having a mild chest pain. Have a good rest and drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
  10. Inhaling steam is effective in reducing congestion, which will make you feel better.
  11. Keep a balanced diet, control the intake of fats. And keep a health weight.


Featured image @ Getty

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