What Are the Causes of Pain in the Chest Wall?

Written by jay p. whickson
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What Are the Causes of Pain in the Chest Wall?
Use aspirin or ibuprofin for pain due to a strained muscle. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Robby!)

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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Types

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.

Time Frame

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.

Disease

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.

What Are the Causes of Pain in the Chest Wall?
Use aspirin or ibuprofin for pain due to a strained muscle. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Robby!)

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.

Solution

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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