What are the causes of right-sided chest pain?

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According to NHS Choices, "chest pain is any sort of pain felt in your upper body, from your shoulders down to your ribs." Because seeking the proper medical care right away may be lifesaving, it is important to know what the causes of chest pain are so that those afflicted with chest pain don't dismiss it.

Describing the pain

Chest pain may be described in several ways, including sharp, dull, achy, intense, intermittent or constant.


Pain on the right side of the chest is typically indicative of gallbladder issues and liver inflammation. Other causes include pulled rib muscles, pulmonary embolism (one or more arteries in your lungs become blocked) or pneumonia. According to Baby Boomer Care Taker, "when the pain is localised in certain areas of the chest, it is easier to perform a self-diagnosis and take actions to prevent further damage before consulting a doctor." An additional cause includes rib subluxation - a shift or displacement of a rib.

Rib subluxation

According to Baby Boomer Care Taker, rib subluxation is "signified by a slight displacement of the ribs, which in turn generates pain." The pain may radiate to the back and be exacerbated by deep breathing. If the pain continues or worsens, medical attention may be required.

Liver inflammation

Damage to the liver through certain diseases (like hepatitis) may cause right-sided chest pain. Hepatitis is split into two types: acute and chronic. Acute hepatitis typically lasts less than six months, while chronic lasts longer than six months. Hepatitis is typically caused by bacterial infections, alcohol usage, fungal toxins and metabolic disorders.

Gallbladder or pancreas dysfunction

Because the gallbladder and the pancreas are located in the upper abdominal region, any inflammation or issues with these organs can cause right sided chest pain.

According to Baby Boomer Care Taker, associated symptoms can include nausea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. Diagnosis may require blood tests and ultrasound scan.

If you have gallstones, this too can cause right sided chest pain in that it can result in inflammation of the gallbladder. Symptoms of this can include sharp abdominal pain that rises into the chest. The pain, which is sometimes described as steady and severe, leads to visible changes in an electrocardiogram.

Other causes of chest pain

Chest pain is also caused by heart attacks, angina (heart-related chest pain), aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung), spontaneous pneumothorax (collapse of the lung), pneumonia, strain or inflammation of the muscles and tendons between the ribs, shingles (a painful blistering skin rash), pneumonia, asthma, heartburn and stomach ulcers.