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General Practice 2023

Pain in the middle of the chest: what it could be (and what to do)

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Pain in the middle of the chest: what it could be (and what to do)
Pain in the middle of the chest: what it could be (and what to do)
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Pain in the middle of the chest is often suspected of a heart attack, however, this is one of the rarest causes and when it happens, it is accompanied by symptoms other than pain, such as difficulty breathing, tingling in a of the arms, paleness or nausea, for example. See the 10 signs that may indicate a heart attack.

Usually, this pain is a sign of other less serious problems, such as gastritis, costochondritis or even excess gas and, therefore, it does not need to be a reason for anxiety or concern, especially if there are no risk factors such as a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, excess weight or high cholesterol.

Still, if there is a suspicion of a heart attack, it is very important to go quickly to the hospital for tests, such as the electrocardiogram and the measurement of tumor necrosis markers in the blood, popularly known as cardiac enzyme measurement, to assess whether it can be a heart attack and start the appropriate treatment.

What can chest pain be

To identify the possible cause of your chest pain, please answer the following questions:

  • Yes, the pain is getting more intense.
  • No, the pain has remained similar.

If your pain is very intense and has worsened over time, we advise you to go to the hospital or call for medical help, as it could be a sign of a heart attack.

Attention: this tool is not a substitute for consultation with the doctor. Any type of chest pain that is very severe, worsens within minutes, or is accompanied by other symptoms should be evaluated by a physician.

  • Stinging or pricking pain.
  • Burning sensation in the chest.
  • I don't know how to define the pain I'm feeling.
  • Yes.
  • No.
  • Yes, when I move my torso.
  • Yes, when I take a deep breath.
  • Yes, when I squeeze my belly.
  • No, I think the pain is always the same.
  • Yes.
  • No.
  • Yes.
  • No.

If the pain you feel is severe, worsens over time or does not improve after 20 minutes, we recommend that you go to the hospital.

In addition to pain, a heart attack can cause other symptoms such as tingling in the arm, general malaise, dizziness, cold sweats and dry cough.

First aid in suspected heart attack

  • 10 main symptoms of heart attack

  • Infarction or anxiety: main differences and what to do

    Restart

    It is possible that it is just a reaction to stress, caused by anxiety.

    We advise you to try to rest in a quiet place and drink a soothing tea such as lemon balm, chamomile or valerian.

    If the pain has not improved after 20 minutes, or if it worsens during this period, we recommend that you go to the hospital to identify the cause and start the appropriate treatment.

    7 natural tranquilizers for anxiety, insomnia and nervousness

  • Anxiety crisis: what it is, symptoms, causes and what to do

  • Infarction or anxiety: main differences and what to do

    Restart

    Since the discomfort you feel gets worse with the movement of the trunk (as happens when looking back, for example) it is possible that it is some inflammation at the muscular level. However, it can also be a sign of inflammation in the cartilages of the sternum, known as "costochondritis".

    This type of discomfort tends to improve with rest, however, you can also consult a general practitioner to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment with medication.

    9 home treatments to relieve muscle pain

  • Costochondritis (sternal pain): symptoms, causes and treatment

    Restart

    In these cases, other symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing or tiredness are common.

    It is best to make an appointment with a general practitioner or pulmonologist to identify the cause and initiate appropriate treatment.

    Lung pain: 10 main causes and what to do

  • Respiratory system diseases: what they are, symptoms and what to do

    Restart

    The accumulation of gas in the intestine can cause a stabbing pain in the region of the heart. This pain usually doesn't get worse over time, but it can be very uncomfortable and come on several times throughout the day.

    Although it can happen to anyone, this type of pain is more common in those who suffer from constipation or have an intestinal condition, such as irritable bowel.

    Giving a belly massage and drinking mint or fennel tea are great ways to relieve discomfort and release gas.

    7 best home remedies for excess gas

  • 5 ways to eliminate intestinal gas quickly

    Restart

    Pain in the mid-chest area that gets worse after eating is usually a symptom of a gallbladder problem. This is because the fat in the food stimulates the gallbladder to contract, causing pain.

    In these cases, other symptoms such as retching, swollen belly, whitish stools, diarrhea and loss of appetite are also common.

    It is recommended to consult a gastroenterologist to confirm the diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment.

    6 home remedies for gallstones

  • 6 main symptoms of gallstones (and what to do)

  • Diet in gallbladder crisis: what to eat and what to avoid

    Restart

    Stomach problems, such as gastric ulcers or gastritis, usually cause pain in the mid-chest area, which tends to get worse if you haven't eaten for a long time. This discomfort is usually relieved after eating.

    Along with the pain, other symptoms may arise, such as a swollen belly, decreased appetite, belching and retching.

    The ideal is to consult a gastroenterologist, to identify if there is really any change in the stomach and start the appropriate treatment.

    4 home remedies for stomach pain

  • 7 main symptoms of gastritis

  • Diet for gastritis and ulcer

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    Reflux is a condition that causes gastric contents to rise up into the esophagus, resulting in pain, usually in the middle of the chest, which can be accompanied by other symptoms such as frequent burping, poor digestion and a feeling of a bloated stomach.

    The pain also tends to get worse when you haven't eaten for a long time or when you bend your torso to pick something up off the floor, for example.

    To confirm the diagnosis of reflux, the ideal thing is to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, as there are medicines and some care that help relieve symptoms.

    Gastroesophageal reflux: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment

  • 5 home remedies to treat reflux

  • Diet for reflux: what to eat and what to avoid

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    Although gastritis most often causes a stabbing pain in the middle of the chest, it can also cause a burning sensation, especially if you haven't eaten for a long time.

    In these cases, other symptoms such as a swollen belly, decreased appetite, belching and retching may also appear.

    The ideal is to consult a gastroenterologist, to identify if there is really any change in the stomach and start the appropriate treatment.

    7 main symptoms of gastritis

  • 7 home remedies for gastritis

  • Diet for gastritis and ulcer

    Restart

    Unfortunately we don't have enough data to help identify the possible cause for the pain you are experiencing.

    We advise you to consult a general practitioner or go to the hospital for a more detailed assessment.

    Chest pain: 9 main causes and when it could be a heart attack

  • Pain in the middle of the chest: what it can be and what to do

  • Pain in the right side of the chest: 7 common causes (and what to do)

  • Chest pain on the left side: 6 possible causes and what to do

    Restart

    • Yes, it gets worse after eating.
    • Yes, it gets worse when I don't eat for a long time.
    • No, I don't think it's related.

    Next, we show the main causes of pain in the middle of the chest and what to do in each situation:

    1. Excessive gases

    Excessive intestinal gas is one of the most common causes of chest pain and can often be confused with a heart attack, causing anxiety, which ends up worsening the pain and contributing to the idea that it may actually be a heart attack. heart attack.

    Pain caused by excess gas is more common in people with constipation, but it can happen in many other cases, such as when you are taking a probiotic, for example, or when you have spent a lot of time trying to control the urge to defecate.

    Other symptoms: in addition to pain, it is common for a person to have a more swollen belly and even feel some pain or twinge in the abdomen.

    What to do: you can do an abdominal massage to try to release the gases that are accumulating in the intestine and drink teas like fennel or cardamom, which help to absorb the gases. Some medications, such as simethicone, can also help, but they should only be used on the advice of a doctor. See how to prepare these teas and others for intestinal gas.

    2. Costochondritis

    Sometimes pain in the middle of the chest is due to inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the bone in the middle of the chest called the sternum.In this way, it is common for the pain to become stronger when the chest is pressed or when you are lying on your stomach, for example.

    Other symptoms: feeling of aching chest and pain that gets worse when putting pressure on the area or when breathing and coughing.

    What to do: Applying a warm compress to the breast bone can help relieve pain, however, treatment needs to be done with anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by a doctor. a general practitioner or orthopedist. See better how costochondritis is treated.

    3. Infarction

    Although it is the first suspicion when severe chest pain appears, infarction is usually quite rare and usually happens in people who have some risk factor such as overweight, high cholesterol or cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, for example.

    Other symptoms: Infarction is usually accompanied by cold sweat, nausea or vomiting, paleness, shortness of breath and heaviness in the left arm. The pain also tends to get worse, starting as a slight tightness in the chest.

    What to do: If you suspect a heart attack, go to the hospital immediately or call for medical help by calling 192.

    4. Gastritis

    Inflammation of the stomach, known as gastritis, is also one of the main causes of pain in the middle of the chest, as it is common that, in these cases, the pain arises in the region of the mouth of the stomach, which is located very close to the center of the chest, and may even radiate to the back.

    Gastritis is more common in people who have a bad diet, but it can also arise in those who have a very stressed lifestyle, as excessive worry alters the pH of the stomach, which can contribute to inflammation.

    Other symptoms: gastritis is usually accompanied by a feeling of full stomach, lack of appetite, heartburn and frequent belching, for example.

    What to do: One way to reduce stomach inflammation and relieve symptoms is to drink a glass of water with a few drops of lemon or potato juice, as help to increase the pH of the stomach, reducing inflammation.However, as gastritis can be caused by an H. pylori infection, it is best to consult a gastroenterologist, especially if the pain persists for more than 3 or 4 days. Learn more about gastritis and how to treat it.

    5. Gastric ulcer

    In addition to gastritis, another very common stomach problem that can cause pain in the middle of the chest is gastric ulcer. Ulcers are usually the result of gastritis that has not been treated properly and has caused a sore to form in the lining of the stomach.

    Other symptoms: the ulcer causes a stabbing pain that can radiate to the back and chest, in addition to other signs such as frequent nausea, a feeling of heaviness in the stomach and vomiting, which may even contain small amounts of blood.

    What to do: it is important to consult a gastroenterologist whenever an ulcer is suspected, as it is usually necessary to start taking medications that reduce the acidity of the stomach and make a protective barrier, such as Pantoprazole or Lansoprazole, for example.However, you should also eat a light diet with foods that are easy to digest, to avoid making the ulcer worse. See how the diet should be in cases of ulcer.

    6. Liver problems

    Along with stomach problems, liver changes can also cause mid-chest pain. While it is more common for liver pain to arise on the right side, just below the ribs, it is also possible for this pain to radiate to the chest. Check out 11 signs that could indicate a liver problem.

    Other symptoms: normally associated with pain, constant nausea, loss of appetite, headache, dark urine and yellow skin and eyes may appear.

    What to do: If a liver problem is suspected, it is advisable to consult a hepatologist to identify the correct diagnosis and initiate the most appropriate treatment.

    When to go to the doctor

    You should go to the doctor whenever you suspect a heart attack or heart problem.Although infarction is a rare cause in emergencies, when there is suspicion or doubt, it is always best to seek an emergency service for clarification, as it is a very serious disease.

    However, if this is not the case, it is recommended to go to the doctor if the pain lasts longer than 2 days or if it is accompanied by:

    • Bloody vomiting;
    • Tingling in the arm;
    • Yellow skin and eyes;
    • Difficulty breathing.

    In addition, if you have risk factors such as being overweight, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, you should also consult a doctor.

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