What to Do When You Experience Chest Pain

April 2, 2019
If you've experienced moments of sudden chest pain, it is generally related to breathing problems, most often caused by shortness of breath.

More than likely, you’ve experienced moments of sudden chest pain. This type of pain is generally related to breathing problems, most often caused by shortness of breath. However, when these types of pain come relatively frequently, you should see a specialist.

Chest pain could, in fact, indicate a much more complex problem, requiring immediate treatment. Learn more about how to deal with chest pain below.

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All About Chest Pain

If you feel a strong pain that radiates through your back, this is a bad sign. This could indicate that the walls of one of your veins has ruptured, and you may need immediate surgery.

Individuals who suffer from hypertension should be the most careful because they are at a much higher risk for suffering from these types of complications.

If, on the other hand, you only feel a few stabbing pains in the chest area, this is most likely a muscular pain, especially if the pain intensifies when you change position or breathe deeply. To solve this discomfort, you should take anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants, which will quickly make the problem disappear.

If your pain is more generalized and you feel a little better sitting upright, that means the layer covering the heart is a bit inflamed. This condition is called pericarditis and it is caused by fever, nasal congestion, or pain throughout the body. It is important that you see a doctor quickly.

You might like: Stabbing Chest Pains: When to Worry

How to Distinguish Between Different Types of Chest Pain

Illustration of woman holding her chest red color indicating chest pain and angina

Stabbing chest pain

This pain is caused by improper use of force in almost all cases, or heavy exercise, which can cause inflammation in one or more of the muscles. When this happens, you will experience a stronger pain when you change positions or breathe deeply.

This pain can be alleviated by taking a muscle relaxer and anti-inflammatories, as previously mentioned.

Burning in the chest

This is the most common type of problems and is the cause of a lot of doctor’s visits.  In the majority of cases, patients feel incredibly strong pain and it is related to a gastric problem, which causes heartburn and reflux.

These annoying symptoms generally appear just half an hour after having consumed certain foods that could provoke the condition, like very acidic juices, for example, or heavily seasoned or fatty foods.


Regardless of what’s causing your chest pain, it is important that you pay immediate attention to it. You shouldn’t wait for symptoms to get worse or for something serious to happen to go see your doctor. Prevention and early diagnosis are the best tools for improving your quality of life and living healthier.

  • Verdon, F., Herzig, L., Burnand, B., Bischoff, T., Pecoud, A., Junod, M., … & Favrat, B. (2008). Chest pain in daily practice: occurrence, causes and management. Swiss Medical Weekly138(23-24), 340-347.
  • Knockaert, D. C., Buntinx, F., Stoens, N., Bruyninckx, R., & Delooz, H. (2002). Chest pain in the emergency department: the broad spectrum of causes. European Journal of Emergency Medicine9(1), 25-30.