What causes left chest pain? What does it mean to have pain in the left side of the chest? What are the causes of pain like stabbing under the left breast? When is pain in the left side of the chest a sign of a heart attack? What should you pay attention to? When should we see a doctor? How is left chest pain treated? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
Is pain on the left side of the chest serious?
Left chest pain can be a sign of heart problems, and this is why many people think of a heart attack when pain occurs on the left side of the chest. Although this type of pain is rarely a symptom of a heart attack, a heart attack can be suspected , especially if women have pain in the left breast and left arm . However, left chest pain can also indicate less serious problems , such as excessive intestinal gas, reflux, or an anxiety disorder . Especially in cases where the pain originates from the digestive system, you may feel a stabbing pain under the left breast .
If the left chest pain is very severe, associated with other symptoms such as shortness of breath, pain and tingling in the left arm , or does not improve after a short time, it is recommended that you see a doctor immediately. Pain on the left side of the chest can be a sign of heart problems , especially in the elderly or people with a chronic disease such as high blood pressure , diabetes , and high cholesterol.
What causes left chest pain?
1. Gas compression
Intestinal gas accumulation is one of the most common causes of pain in the chest area. This type of pain can be experienced as a stabbing pain under the left breast in people with constipation problems and usually manifests as a mild discomfort that lasts for a few minutes or hours. If gas is the cause of the left chest pain , you will find relief when you pass gas or defecate. Chest pain from gas is usually not accompanied by other symptoms; only some people may experience a slight swelling of the abdomen and the presence of bowel sounds.
What to do:
You can do abdominal massage to relieve chest pain caused by gas and to stimulate gas release. Lying on your back and pressing your legs to your stomach can also help release trapped gas and reduce discomfort.
2. Anxiety or panic attacks
Anxiety attacks or panic attacks can causelooks a lot like a heart attack, but unlike a heart attack, it feels like a stabbing knife rather than a tightness or pressure in the heart. It’s also commonfor a person experiencing an anxiety attack or panic attack to feel tingling all over their body, not just in their arm. In addition, anxiety and panic attacks often occur after a moment of great stress, such as arguing with someone, while a heart attack can occur for no reason.
What to do:
If you suspect an anxiety attack or panic attack and you have pain in the left side of the chest , seek a quiet place and try to relax; For example, it is important to listen to music or drink passionflower, valerian or chamomile tea. If your doctor has prescribed medication for such conditions, you can also use them. However, if the pain continues to be very severe after 15 minutes and you suspect a heart attack, you should go to the hospital.
3. Muscle pain
Muscle injuries are very common in everyday life, especially in those who go to the gym or do some type of sport. However, you may also experience muscle pain after simple activities such as coughing a lot or lifting heavy objects . If your chest pain is related to the muscles, you may also experience severe left chest pain when breathing . Additionally, in stressful or fearful situations, muscles can contract too much, causing inflammation and pain.
Related article: What causes right or left chest pain when breathing?
What to do:
A good way to relieve muscle pain is to rest and apply a warm compress to the painful area. It can also help stretch your chest muscles by placing both arms behind you and grasping your arms from behind.
4. Acid reflux
Another condition that causes pain in the left side of the chest is a problem known as reflux among the people. If you have reflux, your stomach acid goes up the esophagus, which can cause contraction of the esophagus, causing pain in the chest area. Reflux can cause pain in the chest area, including left chest pain, as well as other characteristic symptoms such as a feeling of a lump in the throat, heartburn , and heartburn .
What to do:
A good way to relieve reflux pain is to drink ginger tea as it helps reduce inflammation. In addition, people with reflux problems should stay away from foods and drinks that are not good for them. They may even need to take certain medications, such as antacids and stomach protectors, under the supervision of a doctor. Appropriate treatment should be determined by a gastroenterologist after the diagnosis has been confirmed by tests such as endoscopy.
5. Stomach ulcer
Pain from ulcers in the stomach is caused by inflammation of the stomach walls and can easily be confused with heart problems due to the close proximity of the two organs. Pain due to a stomach ulcer is usually a pain in the middle of the chest, but depending on the location of the ulcerit can also manifest as right chest pain or left chest pain . It is also more common after meals and may be accompanied by a feeling of fullness, nausea and vomiting.
What to do:
Stomach ulcers need to be properly treated with gastric protectors prescribed by your doctor. Early treatment is important to prevent problems related to stomach ulcers. In milder cases, potato juice may also help relieve your symptoms.
6. Anjina pectoris
Angina pectoris is a condition that occurs when there is reduced blood flow to the heart muscle, causing chest pain that can last 5 to 10 minutes and radiate to the left side. This type of condition is more common in people who have high blood pressure, smoke, or have high cholesterol. If a person suspects angina pectoris, they should go to the doctor without delay and get appropriate treatment.
What to do :
It is important to see a cardiologist for cardiac tests, such as an electrocardiogram, to confirm the diagnosis. Angina pectoris is generally treated with lifestyle changes and the use of certain medications. If not treated properly, it can cause serious complications such as heart attack, arrhythmia and even stroke.
7. Inflammation of the heart muscle
Inflammation of the heart muscle or pericardium, known as myocarditis and pericarditis, is also a major cause of pain in the heart area. It usually occurs as a complication of certain infections in the body by viruses, fungi or bacteria that are not treated properly. When certain structures of the heart are inflamed, other symptoms are common in addition to left chest pain , such as irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and feeling short of breath.
What to do:
Heart problems should always be taken seriously. If you suspect a problem with your heart, it is very important to see a cardiologist. If the cardiologist diagnoses a heart problem, he or she will likely give you some recommendations and then start the treatment that’s best for you.
8. Heart attack
A heart attack is a life-threatening emergency. Therefore, when there is such a doubt, it is very important to go to the hospital immediately, confirm the diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment. It is more common in those with heart attack, underrated high blood pressure, untreated diabetes and high cholesterol. Not smoking, not exercising, and being overweight are also factors that increase the risk. Classic symptoms of a heart attack include tightness in the left side of the chest, pain in the left side of the chest , tingling in the right or left arm, shortness of breath, and coughing. A rare symptom of a heart attack is stabbing pain in the left chest or under the left breast .
What to do:
If you suspect a heart attack, you should seek immediate medical attention, call 911, or go to hospital immediately, trying to keep the affected person calm to prevent worsening of symptoms.
When to see a doctor for left chest pain?
If the pain on the left side of the chest does not go away, is getting worse, or if the pain is worrying you, it is important to see a doctor and seek medical advice. It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible even if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- cold sweats
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- difficulty breathing
- intense headache
The most important thing is that you seek medical attention to rule out any potential serious issues if left chest pain worries you.
How is the cause of left chest pain diagnosed?
There are many potential reasons why you may feel pain in the left side of the chest . Your doctor will consider your medical history and symptoms when making a diagnosis. Your doctor may also perform a physical examination of the chest, heart, lungs, neck, and abdomen. After the physical exam, he may need a variety of tests, including:
- Electrocardiographs (ECG)
- complete blood count
- computed tomography
How is left chest pain treated?
Treatment for left chest pain depends on the underlying cause. For example, for pain from the digestive tract, such as reflux, treatment typically includes medications including proton pump inhibitors, H2 blockers, and promotility agents. Inflammation related to the heart muscle may involve the administration of antibiotics and rest to allow the tissue lining to heal. More different triggers require different treatments.
As a result
As you can see above, there are many potential causes of left chest pain . Some of the possible causes go away by listening, while others require the use of various drugs. More serious causes may require more serious intervention and treatment. Therefore , if pain on the left side of the chest worries you or does not go away, it is important to see your doctor and follow your doctor’s instructions.