Chest Pain Left Side
Chest Pain Left Side, Chest pain can occur on both the left and the right side and may indicate different diseasesdepending on the location . They are also referred to in the jargon as chest pain . The thorax (thorax) is located between the spine, the ribs and the sternum. Pain that occurs in this area is one of the chest pains . Even the female breast can cause pain, which also fall under this term.
Chest Pain Left Side
Especially Chest Pain Left Side let the patient quickly think of a heart attack . This is in principle one of the possible causes. Therefore, a doctor should be quickly consulted for very severe and persistent chest pain.
Chest Pain Left Side causes
The cause of Chest Pain Left Side may be harmless, but it can also be responsible for serious illnesses . The pain can originate from the organs in the thorax . These include the heart, lungs, esophagus and the beginning of the stomach . The main artery , the aorta , also runs through the chest and can lead to pain.
But other diseases of the heart can cause chest pain, which mainly occurs on the left side. These include:
- Valvular heart disease
- Coronary heart disease (CHD)
- Tear or tearing of the main artery (see: Diseases of the aorta )
- High blood pressure
Pulmonary diseases that can lead to chest pain include:
- lung infection
- pulmonary embolism
- lung cancer
Other possible causes include diseases of the esophagus , eg:
- esophageal cancer
- Inflammation of the esophagus , often due to acid reflux from the stomach
- Tear of the esophagus
But even a rib bruise or a rib fracture on the left side can lead to Chest Pain Left Side. In addition, muscle tension (see: chest pain caused by tension ) or soreness of the intercostal muscles can lead to such pain. Other possible causes include heartburn , diaphragmatic hernias or shingles .
But also psychological causes can lead to chest pain. Thus, stress or anxiety can lead to a feeling of tightness in the chest , which is often perceived as pain.
In addition, chest pain may be radiating pain from other regions, such as gallbladder disease or pancreas disease (see: Symptoms of Pancreatic Injury ). Even blockades of the cervical or thoracic spine may spread to the chest.
Chest Pain Left Side diagnosis
Since Chest Pain Left Side can principally be a serious heart or lung disease , it should definitely be clarified by a doctor. If there is a suspicion of heart disease, an electrocardiogram (ECG) is made for the diagnosis , on which the cardiac activity can be read. Here, cardiac arrhythmias and heart attacks can be detected.
With the help of X-rays , the lung and the skeleton of the chest can be assessed and possible changes can be detected. A bronchoscopy can also be used for diagnosis. The esophagus and stomach can be assessed by gastroscopy .
Chest Pain Left Side therapy
Depending on the underlying disease, the appropriate therapy must be initiated.
In case of an angina pectoris attack , nitroglycerin should be inhaled as soon as possible to relieve the symptoms.
In case of a heart attack , a pulmonary embolism and a pneumothorax , it is very important to see a doctor as soon as possible because of mortal danger.
Chest Pain Left Side symptoms
Depending on the cause, the chest pain has a different pain character and it may be accompanied by accompanying symptoms.
- Rib fracture, rib fracture: They cause superficial pain, which is intensified on contact and pressure on the affected area. Deep breathing is often not possible due to the severe pain.
- Heart attack, K oronare heart disease: This often occurs a tightness in the chest. The pain is described as oppressive or oppressive and sometimes the patients experience a destruction pain. In many cases, the pain radiates to the left shoulder and left arm, sometimes to the jaw, upper abdomen and back. In addition, there are often symptoms such as shortness of breath, sweating and nausea. This pain is referred to as angina pectoris.
- Cardiac arrhythmias: There may be chest tightness with additional symptoms such as circulatory problems, drop in blood pressure, and an irregular heart rate that indicate heart disease.
- Inflammation of the pericardium (pericarditis): The pain is more likely to be pungent.
- Injury of the main artery (aorta): The pain manifests itself in most cases as annihilation pain and can radiate between the shoulder blades.
- Diseases of the lungs: Here, the occurring pain is usually respiratory-dependent. Typical symptoms include respiratory distress and coughing. In case of a bloody cough, there is a suspicion of a pulmonary embolism and a doctor should be consulted immediately.
- Pneumothorax: The pain is usually stinging and the movement of the chest while breathing is unbalanced.
- Diseases of the esophagus: The pain is usually central in the chest, but can also radiate to the left. Often the pain radiates from the abdomen into the chest and are burning.
Chest Pain Left Side on the outside
Chest pain left outside on the chest may occur in women in the pre-menstruation period. Here, however, both breasts are affected in most cases.
Also as a side effect of the pill as a contraceptive , the female breast may respond with pain.
This may manifest as pain that is intensified under touch.
But even a tumor in the chest can cause pain in the outer chest. Especially if the pain is unilateral, this option should be considered. The breast itself can be scanned to feel any knots. Often, however, these can only be discovered with the examination methods of a gynecologist.
Stinging chest pain
Stinging chest pain on the left side can have various causes. Basically, the chest pain is perceived differently by all patients. However, stinging pain can usually indicate a heart attack or angina pectoris . It often comes to a charisma of the pain up to the left arm , in the jaw, in the upper abdomen and in the back.
But also a pericarditis often expresses in stinging pain. Even this pain can radiate, but this is not necessarily the case.
Such pain, especially when it first occurs or is very strong and persistent, should always be clarified by a doctor, as serious illnesses can be the cause.
Chest Pain Left Side when coughing and inhaling
If the chest pain is increased or solely on inhalation or severe cough , it may either indicate that there is a rib injury (eg rib bruise , rib fracture ), or there is a lung condition.
A possible cause of the pain is an inflammation of the pleura . Since this is stretched breath-dependent, it comes here during inhalation and also when coughing more pain.
Bilateral chest pain
Bilateral chest pain is common in women. They are the expression of a so-called mastodynia . These are harmless cycle-dependent chest pains.
Chest Pain Left Side after exercise
For Chest Pain Left Side, the only, or increasingly occur after exercise, a doctor should be consulted. This is a typical sign of progressive calcification of the coronary arteries ( coronary heart disease ). This can lead to an anginal attack or even a heart attack . Since sports require more blood in the body and therefore also in the heart due to the high oxygen demand, the lack of oxygen due to the narrowed vessels at the beginning is predominantly noticeable in sport.
Chest Pain Left Side after eating
Chest pain can also be due to the stomach and esophagus . In this case, they are often closely related to the food. Most chest pain that occurs after eating is harmless and is due to fatty foods .
Also, heartburn can be perceived as chest pain and is due to the diet.
An inflammation of the esophagus , by the so-called reflux be triggered, wherein the gastric acid rises in the esophagus.
Chest Pain Left Side in women
Painful breasts are referred to in the jargon as mastodyne .
In women, chest pain often occurs on a cycle-dependent basis. In many women, a few days before the onset of menstruation, there is a slight tugging, pressure or tightness in the chest.
As a rule, these symptoms disappear on their own at the onset of menstruation.
If these symptoms occur independently of the monthly cycle , a doctor should be consulted and the cause clarified. Also emerging chest pain should be examined by a doctor.
Among other things, the pain can be triggered by diseases of the mammary gland . An inflammation, an abscess (pus accumulation), or a tumor can be the cause here. When a tumor occurs, it does not necessarily have to be breast cancer; it can also cause benign tumors of the mammary gland.
In addition, taking the pill as a contraceptive may cause chest pain as a side effect (see: Side Effects of the Pill ).
In pregnant women often leads to chest pain, due to the strong breast growth. During lactation it can lead to engorgement come in the breasts, which can also be very painful, as well as a breast infection that can develop from it.
Chest Pain Left Side during menopause
After menopause , the female sex hormones are only produced by the body to a lesser extent. The intake of substitute preparations can lead to chest pain. In this case, the dose of the preparations should be adjusted by the gynecologist .
But even if no additional hormones are taken, it can come after menopause to chest pain. These can occur in the course of a benign breast change ( mastopathy ).
But also by water retention in the breast tissue pain can be triggered, which are often expressed as tension pain . These are also due to the altered hormone balance .
Chest pain manifests as a pulling, burning or pressure sensation, sometimes as a puncture in the chest or as a tightness with respiratory distress. The often threatening symptoms do not necessarily indicate a heart disease or a heart attack. Because in the chest are many organs that can cause discomfort. However, harmless chest pain is not always differentiated from life-threatening illnesses. Read here what can be behind the pain in the chest.
Chest pain: description
The thorax contains many important organs. Thus, sudden pain like a drawing, burning or stinging in the breast have a harmless cause, for example, assume a harmless stomach irritation. The reasons for chest pain can also be life-threatening illnesses. It is not for nothing that the first thought of chest pains is cardiac infarction – typically characterized by shortness of breath , pain in the left breast, tightness and fear of death.
It is not always easy even for an experienced doctor to find the source of the discomfort, as every person perceives and communicates pain differently. Thus, a sting in the left breast can be quickly dismissed as a rib blockage, while in reality a heart attack is behind the symptoms. On the other hand, for example, heartburn can cause such severe chest pain that sufferers call an ambulance.
Since the pain in the chest can have many causes, it is important to be careful, especially in the case of initial or unfamiliar complaints.
Chest pain: causes and possible diseases
Medically, the rib cage is bounded by the sternum and ribs to the front and the spine and ribs to the rear. The ribs protect vital, sensitive organs such as the heart and lungs from external influences. The esophagus pervades the thorax approximately in the middle to open into the stomach ; large blood vessels like the aorta conduct blood into the body.
Muscles make it possible to stretch the chest during inspiration, while the muscular diaphragm delimits the thorax and is also considered an important respiratory muscle – the chest is the scene of many concurrent and well-coordinated processes of various organs.
Menacing causes of chest pain
But just as diverse as the anatomical structure of the breast is just as varied as the causes for chest pain. Serious, often life-threatening emergencies include:
- Cardiac pain : angina pectoris A temporary circulatory disorder of the heart is referred to as angina pectoris (“chest tightness”). Most of the time it is triggered by constricted coronary arteries as in coronary heart disease (CHD).Especially during exercise, the heart is no longer supplied with sufficient blood – typical symptoms of angina pectoris occur: Many suffer from severe seizures during the attack, chest tightness, heart piercing and shortness of breath. Seldom in angina pectoris attacks occur in the shoulder radiating pain, which can also reach the (usually left) arm and the jaw . Anginal symptoms disappear after a few minutes.
- Immediate weapon against the complaints is the inhalation of nitroglycerin by means of a pump spray. But even the rare Prinzmetal’s angina or the psyche can trigger chest pain.
- Heart attack : As a result of angina pectoris can form clots in the coronary arteries and clog them completely. The heart muscle in this area is no longer supplied with blood and dies: Sudden onset of severe pain in the chest, often behind the sternum, stinging in the left chest, tightness and shortness of breath may occur.Also typical is the aura of pain in the left shoulder, upper abdomen, back, neck and lower jaw . Sweats and nausea , often accompanied by dread, often come along with the crushing pain. The heart attack, however, can also be expressed differently and overlooked, especially in women: the focus is more on complaints of the upper abdomen.
- Compared to angina, the symptoms of a heart attack last for at least twenty minutes and do not diminish when nitrospray, a cardiovascular drug, is given.
- High blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias : Blood pressure peaks of up to 230 mm Hg can cause symptoms similar to angina pectoris: shortness of breath and sternum pain, sometimes also heart pain.
- Pulmonary embolism : A detached blood clot (thrombus) causes the obstruction of a lung vessel. Sudden pain in the chest, shortness of breath and cough , even unconsciousness can be the result.
- Pneumonia (pneumonia) : Typical signs of pneumonia include cough, pain in the chest and chest pain, labored breathing, high fever and sputum.
- Pneumothorax : When the pleura is torn, air enters the gap between the lungs and the pleura, causing the lung to collapse. Sudden breathlessness, stinging in the chest, coughing and suffocation are typical symptoms. Causes can be external injuries, but sometimes also physical predisposition.
- Lung cancer : Constantly increasing pain in the chest, accompanied by cough, shortness of breath and hoarseness as well as bloody sputum may occur.
- Mitral Valve Prolapse : This form of heart valve failure causes chest pain in some patients.
- Pericarditis (pericarditis) : Especially triggered by viruses that causes pericarditis pain in the chest, which intensified when taking deep breaths and cough. Even lying on the left side leads to more discomfort. Because it is an infection, fever and shortness of breath are frequent companions of the heart piercing.
- Aortic valve constriction : The obstruction of blood flow leads to recurrent symptoms of angina pectoris, which increase in strength over time.
- Mediastinitis (pancreatitis) : Purulent infections can be transmitted to the medullary space between the two lungs ( mediastinum ) causing severe inflammation. Heavy chest pains, accompanied by high fever and loss of consciousness, and severe general signs of illness are always life-threatening alarm signals.
- Pectoral inflammation (pleurisy) : Primarily triggered by infections, the pleurisy manifests itself with sharp pains in the chest, which become worse when breathing and coughing. Fever and shortness of breath are added.
- Aortic dissection : If there is a tear in the vascular wall of the main artery, mortal danger is imminent! The strongest chest pain radiating in the back, legs and stomach may indicate this.
- Esophageal rupture: As a result of existing reflux disease and a previously damaged esophagus, severe pressure, such as vomiting, may result in a rupture of the organ. This rare complication triggers violent stinging in the chest.
Harmless causes of chest pain
Of the serious causes are the harmless chest pain to delineate, where there is no immediate need for action:
Heartburn : The rise of gastric acid into the esophagus can cause uniquely severe pain behind the sternum, often accompanied by acid regurgitation . Especially in reflux disease, burning in the chest can be confused with angina pectoris symptoms.
Tension and soreness : Muscular tension and upper back pain often radiate into the chest causing movement-related chest pains. If the nerves under the ribs are inflamed (intercostal neuralgia), those affected even complain of a burning sensation in the chest and stinging pains. Also sore muscles can cause a contraction in the chest.
Vertebral blockages : Causes of back and chest pain are movement restrictions of the spine. These often occur suddenly and irritate nerves and muscles between the ribs. Especially in the area of the thoracic spine , such blockages lead to symptoms similar to angina pectoris.
Rib fracture and bruising : Although uncomplicated rib fracture is not threatening, it can cause severe chest pain, especially when breathing, laughing and coughing. Even bruises in this area are often extremely painful and unpleasant for several weeks.
Psyche : Not to be underestimated is the influence of the psyche. Stress and anxiety can also cause trepidation and chest pain. Incidentally, they are often mistaken initially for angina-pectoris symptoms.
Shingles ( herpes zoster) : A second outbreak of chickenpox virus (varicella zoster, a herpesvirus) always spreads in the supply area of a nerve branch. Often affected is a half of the chest. Belt-shaped skin rash and an electrifying pulling in the chest are the result.
Diaphragmatic hernia : Through a gap in the diaphragm, the stomach may partially or completely slip up into the chest, leading to severe chest pain.
Gall bladder / pancreas : In diseases such as gallstones or pancreatitis, the upper abdominal pain often radiate and cause a strong pulling in the chest.
Roemheld Syndrome : Gas accumulation in the abdomen pushes up on the diaphragm and causes heart problems, which are like angina pectoris symptoms: stinging in the left chest, heart piercing and pressure feeling.
Tietze Syndrome : In this very rare condition, there is swelling and sternum pain and the ribs.
Ankylosing spondylitis : Anterior curvature and stiffening of the spine and inflammation of the joints in this rheumatic disease cause discomfort such as stinging in the chest. Exercise can relieve the symptoms.
Chest Pain: When should you go to the doctor?
Especially patients who often suffer from chest pain , for example in the context of a reflux disease, often do not recognize the urgency of a doctor’s visit.
If the pain differs from those previously experienced in location, character or intensity, or if new symptoms such as shortness of breath, anxiety or a feeling of pressure develop, you should be alert.
A general malaise, fever or even dizziness associated with chest pain require medical attention. If you have an emergency, you have to deal with the typical symptoms of an acute heart attack: strong, often radiating pain in the left breast, shortness of breath, dizziness , weakness. blue colored lips. Immediate action is indicated here.
Basically, one should always be particularly attentive to pain in the chest and rather act a bit too cautious: a doctor’s visit too much is better than one too late.
Chest pain: what does the doctor do?
The quality of the pain, its duration and its occurrence can provide the physician with important clues to the cause of the chest pain. Watch for yourself whether
- The pain in the chest can be accurately classified, or seemingly indeterminate origin
- it is stinging or dull pain in the chest. Are they persistent or do they disappear again at times?
- The pain in the chest at a certain time repeatedly occur
- the chest pain gets stronger in the course
- The chest pain when breathing worse
- the pain will occur in a given situation. Does a posture or only stress release the symptoms?
Certain signs often direct the doctor to a specific track. To confirm or limit his suspicions, the following investigations are used:
- The creation of an ECG (Electrocardiogram) is indispensable for detecting heart disease. Typical changes in the heart curve, for example, show a heart attack or angina pectoris.
- An X-ray of the chest shows many changes in the lungs and skeleton.
- Fluid accumulation in the abdomen, a diaphragmatic breakdown, but also heart function are assessed by ultrasound
- A gastroscopy shows changes in the esophagus and stomach
- With a bronchoscopy (lung reflection) lung diseases become visible
- Rarely, the median cavity is examined by means of endoscopy(mediastinoscopy)
Quick help with chest pain
Depending on the causative disorder, the doctor has some immediate measures in hand :
- In angina pectoris, the inhalation of nitroglycerin widens the vessels and relieves the discomfort. At the same time, a pumping stroke lowers the blood pressure by about 20 mm Hg within a short time.
- Vertebral blockages can be released with the help of certain manipulations.
- In heartburn and the reflux disease, antacids bind already formed stomach acid. Other drugs suppress the excess formation of gastric acid.
- In herpes zoster (shingles), various antiviral drugs and painkillers are used.
- Uncomplicated rib fractures or bruises can be treated well with analgesics.
Chest pain: you can do it yourself
If it is medically clarified that the pain in the chest originates from a rather harmless source, you can treat it yourself with simple means:
- For tense muscles, a mixture of warmth and exercise is the best way to help. Warm patches with capsaicin stimulate the blood circulation and loosen up the muscles, additional movement expands them.
- Some diet tips help prevent heartburn: Avoid heavy meals for bedtime, avoid acidifying substances such as nicotine and alcohol, as well as spicy foods.
- The pain in the chest in shingles can often be alleviated only insufficiently with analgesics. But in addition to the medical treatment with antiviral agents, bed rest is still required here.