Chest Pain isn’t always from the heart

Causes of chest pain

Frequently people consult about experiencing chest pain. I know through training all chest pain is supposed to be referred to the emergency room for evaluation, but realistically many including myself am able recognize symptoms come from many different causes and may have different care needs. The emergency need for consultation is due the fact that many people will deny their symptoms are from a cardiac cause, delaying treatment and thus have pretty extensive heart damage or death. Evaluation thus is helpful in determining the cause.   When one gets evaluated there are many different areas of anatomy where the cause may be from.


Here is a list of many different causes for chest pain:

  • the chest wall including the ribs, the muscles, and the skin;

Possibilities: A rib in poor alignment, shingles, pulled muscle, cartilage between the ribs being inflamed,

  • the back including the spine, the nerves, and the back muscles;

Vertebra alignment, pinched nerve, shingles,

  • the lung, the pleura (the lining of the lung), or the trachea;

Recent cold/cough, bronchitis, blood clot, pulmonary embolism, pleurisy, pnumothorax – collapsed lung,

  • the heart including the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart);

Pericarditis, aortic dissection, angina, heart attack, blood clot

  • the aorta; aortic dissection
  • the esophagus;  Acid reflux, narrowed esophagus, regurgitation
  • the diaphragm, the flat muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities; 
  • referred pain from the abdominal cavity including organs like the stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas, as well as irritation from the underside of the diaphragm due to infection, bleeding or other types of fluid.

Gastric bleeding, septicemia, blood infections, gastric ulcers,


The symptoms of heart attack  for men or women.




4 thoughts on “Chest Pain isn’t always from the heart

  1. After surviving 7 open heart surgeries.. I am no stranger to chest pain. I always get worried that I am having a heart attack or that something is wrong when I experience a strange pain in my chest. Over the years I have been able to discern what is and isn’t a legitimate pain. I find that most of the chest pain that I receive is either from a pulled muscle or gas. Gas pain for heart patients can be scary when the patient doesn’t know where the pain is originating from. Perhaps writing a blog post on how to handle gas for heart patients would be well received.

    • Yes gas is a major problem, and I believe often made worse related to use of platelet drugs, which can cause many to use prescription antacids and … which then decrease the efficacy of the antiplatlets…viscious circle, Then the belly can be more gassy if symptoms from GI irritation related to meds which can potentially lead to GI bleed. If lots of symptoms get in to MD and discuss. There may be changes to be made or reviewed.

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