A pain in the chest wall is not necessarily dangerous. For example, benign chest wall pain-a temporary irritation of the membrane lining the lungs-will go away on its own. You need to see a doctor, however, if you have other symptoms or if the pain is severe.
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The pain may occur when you're active or at rest. It can feel like it's in the ribs or inside the wall of the lung. While many conditions causing pain are benign, conditions such as pneumonia can create a sore spot that mimics a simple muscle pull.
Chronic pain lasts longer than just a few days but varies in intensity. Conditions in other parts of the body can create this type of chest wall pain, such as a dislocated cervical disc.
Certain diseases cause chest wall pain. Cancer is one possibility. Herpes Zoster also causes chest wall pain, sometimes before the condition appears on the skin.
Look for a specific event
One good way to determine how serious the pain is noting whether the pain started with a specific event. Pain after eating may come from acid reflux. Pain after emotional stress might be from an anxiety attack.
Note your history and lifestyle
If you visit a doctor, be precise about your family history of heart disease, recent falls or other problems and your lifestyle. If you're overweight, smoke, have diabetes, use cocaine, or have high blood pressure or heart disease, tell your doctor.
Certain serious conditions, such as a blood clot, require immediate attention. People need to call a doctor if the pain is sudden, there is shortness of breath and pain occurs after a long period of sitting or bed rest, according to the New York Times.
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