Chest Pain on the Left Side

chest pain on the left side and left arm

Chest pain. The first thing you may consider is cardiovascular disease. Definitely chest pain is not something to neglect. But you ought to know that it has many possible causes. In reality, as much as a quarter of the united states population experiences chest pain that is not associated with the heart. Chest pain may also be triggered by issues in your lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, or nerves, for example. A few of these conditions are severe and life threatening. Others are not. If you have inexplicable chest pain, the only way to verify its cause is to have a doctor assess you.

You might feel chest pain anywhere from your neck to your upper abdomen. Depending on its cause, chest pain might be:

  • Sharp
  • Aching
  • Stabbing
  • Dull
  • Burning

A tight, squeezing, or squashing experience
Here are a few of the more common reasons for chest pain.

Chest Pain on the Left Side Causes: Heart Problems

Although not the only reason for chest pain, these heart issues are common causes:

Coronary Artery Disease, or CAD. An obstruction in the heart blood vessels that minimizes blood circulation and oxygen to the heart muscle itself. This can trigger pain referred to as angina. It’s a symptom of heart disease but usually does not trigger irreversible damage to the heart. It is, though, a sign that you are a prospect for a cardiac arrest eventually in the future. The chest pain may spread to your arm, shoulder, jaw, or back. It may seem like a pressure or squeezing sensation. Angina can be set off by exercise, enjoyment, or emotional distress and is relieved by rest.

Myocardial infarction (cardiovascular disease). This reduction in blood circulation through heart blood vessels causes the death of heart muscle cells. Though similar to angina chest pain, a heart attack is usually a more severe, squashing pain normally in the center or left side of the chest and is not relieved by rest. Sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, or severe weak point might accompany the pain.

Myocarditis. In addition to chest pain, this heart muscle swelling might trigger fever, tiredness, quick heart beat, and trouble breathing. Although no blockage exists, myocarditis symptoms can appear like those of a cardiac arrest.

Pericarditis. This is an inflammation or infection of the sac around the heart. It can trigger pain much like that triggered by angina. However, it typically triggers a sharp, steady pain along the upper neck and shoulder muscle. Sometimes it gets worse when you breathe, swallow food, or push your back.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This hereditary disease triggers the heart muscle to grow unusually thick. In some cases this results in problems with blood drain of the heart. Chest pain and shortness of breath commonly occur with exercise. Gradually, heart failure might happen when the heart muscle ends up being really thickened. This makes the heart work more difficult to pump blood. In addition to chest pain, this type of cardiomyopathy might trigger dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, and other symptoms.

Mitral valve prolapse. Mitral valve prolapse is a condition where a valve in the heart cannot close appropriately. A range of symptoms have actually been associated with mitral valve prolapse, consisting of chest pain, palpitations, and lightheadedness, although it can likewise have no symptoms, specifically if the prolapse is moderate.

Coronary artery dissection. A variety of elements can cause this unusual however lethal condition, which results when a tear establishes in the coronary artery. It may trigger a sudden severe pain with a tearing or ripping experience that rises into the neck, back, or abdomen.

sharp chest pain on the left side

Sharp chest pain on the left side and in arm

Chest Pain on the Left Side Causes: Lung Problems

Issues with the lungs can trigger a variety of types of chest pain. These prevail reasons for chest pain:

Pleuritis. Also known as pleurisy, this condition is a swelling or irritation of the lining of the lungs and chest. You likely feel a sharp pain when you breathe, cough, or sneeze. The most typical reasons for pleuritic chest pain are bacterial or viral infections, pulmonary embolism, and pneumothorax. Other less common causes consist of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and cancer.

Pneumonia or lung abscess. These lung infections can cause pleuritic and other kinds of chest pain, such as a deep chest ache. Pneumonia commonly comes on unexpectedly, triggering fever, chills, cough, and pus coughed up from the breathing system.

Lung embolism. When an embolism takes a trip through the bloodstream and lodges in the lungs, this can cause intense pleuritis, trouble breathing, and a rapid heart beat. It might likewise cause fever and shock. Pulmonary embolism is most likely following deep vein apoplexy or after being stable for several days following surgery or as an issue of cancer.

Pneumothorax. Frequently caused by an injury to the chest, pneumothorax happens when a part of the lung collapses, launching air into the chest cavity. This can also trigger pain that becomes worse when you breathe as well as other symptoms, such as low blood pressure.

Pulmonary hypertension. With chest pain appearing like that of angina, this abnormally hypertension in the lung arteries makes the right side of the heart work too hard.

Asthma. Triggering shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and sometimes chest pain, asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways.

Chest Pain on the Left Side Causes: Gastrointestinal Problems

Intestinal issues can also trigger chest pain and include:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Also referred to as heartburn, GERD takes place when stomach contents move back into the throat. This might trigger a sour taste in the mouth and a burning feeling in the chest or throat, known as heartburn. Factors that may set off heartburn include weight problems, smoking, pregnancy, and spicy or fatty foods. Heart pain and heartburn from acid reflux feel similar partly since the heart and esophagus lie near to each other and share a nerve network.

Esophageal contraction conditions. Uncoordinated muscle contractions (spasms) and high-pressure contractions (nutcracker esophagus) are problems in the esophagus that can trigger chest pain.

Esophageal hypersensitivity. This takes place when the esophagus becomes extremely painful at the tiniest modification in pressure or direct exposure to acid. The cause of this level of sensitivity is unidentified.

Esophageal rupture or perforation. A sudden, severe chest pain following vomiting or a procedure involving the esophagus might be the sign of a rupture in the esophagus.

Peptic ulcers. An unclear repeating discomfort might be the outcome of these uncomfortable sores in the lining of the stomach or first part of the little intestinal tract. More typical in individuals who smoke, drink a great deal of alcohol, or take pain-killers such as aspirin or NSAID’s, the pain often improves when you eat or take antacids.

Hiatal hernia. This common issue takes place when the top of the stomach presses into the lower chest after eating. This frequently triggers reflux symptoms, consisting of heartburn or chest pain on the left side. The pain has the tendency to become worse when you lie down.

Pancreatitis. You might have pancreatitis if you have pain in the lower chest that is often even worse when you lie flat and better when you lean forward.

Gallbladder issues. After consuming a fatty meal, do you have an experience of fullness or pain in your right lower chest area or the right upper side of your abdomen? If so, your chest pain may due to a gallbladder issue.

Chest Pain on the Left Side Causes: Bone, Muscle, or Nerve Problems

In some cases chest pain may result from overuse or an injury to the chest area from a fall or mishap. Viruses can likewise trigger pain in the chest location. Other causes of chest pain include:

Rib issues. Pain from a rib fracture may worsen with deep breathing or coughing. It is typically confined to one location and may feel sore when you continue it. The location where the ribs sign up with the breastbone might also become irritated.

Muscle pressure. Even actually tough coughing can injure or inflame the muscles and tendons between the ribs and trigger chest pain. The pain tends to continue and it gets worse with activity.

Shingles. Caused by the varicella zoster virus, shingles might trigger a sharp, band-like pain prior to an obvious rash appears several days later on.

Other Potential Causes of Chest Pain on the Left Side

Another possible cause of chest pain on the left side is anxiety and panic attacks. Some associated symptoms can include dizziness, feeling of shortness of breath, palpitations, tingling experiences, and trembling.

This pain also can be above breast, when breathing deeply, that comes and goes, under breast, with pain in left arm, when breathing, during pregnancy, with pain in back, when inhaling, after eating, while sleeping, when you cough.

When to See the Doctor for Chest Pain on the Left Side

When in doubt, call your doctor about any chest pain you have, especially if it begins suddenly or is not relieved by anti-inflammatory medications or other self-care steps, such as altering your diet.

Call 911 if you have any of these symptoms along with chest pain:

  • An abrupt feeling of pressure, squeezing, tightness, or squashing under your breastbone
  • Chest pain that spreads to your jaw, left arm, or back
  • Unexpected sharp chest pain with shortness of breath, especially after a long period of lack of exercise
  • Nausea, lightheadedness, fast heart rate or rapid breathing, confusion, ashen color, or excessive sweating
  • Extremely low high blood pressure or very low heart rate

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever, chills, or spending yellow-green mucus
  • Problems swallowing
  • Severe chest pain that does not disappear


Updated: August 15, 2016 — 3:04 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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