Chest Pain

Chest pain is pain or discomfort in the chest, typically the front of the chest. It may be described as sharp, dull, pressure, heaviness or squeezing. Associated symptoms may include pain in the shoulder area.

Chest pain varies depending on the person. It also varies in:

  • quality
  • intensity
  • duration
  • location

It may feel like a sharp, stabbing pain or a dull ache. It may be a sign of a serious heart-related problem or due to a common cause that isn’t life threatening.

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Chest pain can be associated with symptoms such as

  • dizziness,
  • lightheadedness,
  • shortness of breath,
  • stabbing or burning sensations,
  • squeezing sensation,
  • tightness,
  • sharp or dull pain in chest, neck, or arms, and
  • fatigue.


Chest pain is not always related to an underlying condition. It may be caused by:

  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma to the chest
  • Flatulence
  • Heartburn


Your doctor might treat chest pain with medication, noninvasive procedures, surgery, or a combination of these methods. Treatment depends on the cause and severity of your chest pain.

Treatments for heart-related causes of chest pain include:

  • medications, which may include nitroglycerin and other medications that open partially closed arteries, clot-busting drugs, or blood thinners
  • cardiac catheterization, which may involve using balloons or stents to open blocked arteries
  • surgical repair of the arteries, which is also known as coronary artery bypass grafting or bypass surgery


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