It Might Be Angina Not A Heart Attack
Your doctor may use the word “angina” or “angina pectoris,” when discussing your chest pain. Actually, angina is the medical term for chest pain, pressure or tightness but it’s not the same as a heart attack.
- A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is suddenly and completely cut off, usually by a blood clot.
- Angina occurs when the amount of blood flowing to the heart muscle can’t meet the heart’s demand for blood.
Blood supply to the heart muscle is typically reduced by atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries that supply the heart. When the heart’s demand for blood flow increases in someone with restricted blood supply to the heart, that person may experience angina symptoms, including squeezing, burning, tightness or a sensation of pressure in the chest.
Health experts classify angina in two categories: stable angina and unstable angina. Stable angina occurs during activity or emotional stress, whereas unstable angina typically happens while at rest.
If you have angina, it means you have underlying coronary artery disease, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having or are at increased risk of having a heart attack.
So how can you tell whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack? Here are some important differences:
How To Tell If Chest Pain Is Serious
Some types of chest pain should send you to the emergency room particularly if it lasts for at least five minutes.
Symptoms could include new or unexplained chest pain coupled with shortness of breath, a cold sweat, nausea, fatigue or lightheadedness. Aside from your chest, the pain, pressure or discomfort also may radiate to your:
Lasting and unrelenting pain in these areas may signal a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, says Dr. Rimmerman. Call 911 to seek immediate treatment to save heart muscle.
What Causes Pain In Upper Right Chest And Back
Possible causes include an injury, acid reflux, a heart or lung problem, and an infection, such as pneumonia. Some causes of right sided chest pain, such as muscle strain, go away without treatment within a few days. However, chest pain can also stem from a more serious condition, including a heart or lung issue.
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Whats The Difference Between Radiating Pain And Referred Pain
Radiating pain isnt the same as referred pain. With radiating pain, the pain travels from one part of the body to another. The pain literally moves through the body.
With referred pain, the source of pain doesnt move or get larger. The pain is simply felt in areas other than the source.
An example is jaw pain during a heart attack. A heart attack doesnt involve the jaw, but the pain can be felt there.
Pain can radiate from and to many parts of the body. The pain may come and go, depending on the cause.
If you experience radiating pain, pay attention to how it spreads. This can help your doctor figure out whats going on and whats causing the pain.
Below are some of the most common causes of radiating pain by body region.
Pain that travels down either leg may be caused by:
Esophageal Conditions Causing Burning Chest And Back Pain:
GERD: There are also certain esophageal conditions which may cause burning chest and back pain. GERD is the primary disorder of the esophagus which causes burning chest and back pain. GERD is caused when the acid produced in the stomach reflux back into the esophagus causing inflammation of the lining of the esophagus. Esophageal spasm is yet another condition which causes burning pain in the chest and back.
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What Are The Causes Of Chest Pain
Chest pain can be a symptom of many different conditions, some of which are more serious than others. Its best to seek medical attention for any chest pain in case it is heart-related.
Common non-cardiac causes of chest pain include:
- indigestion or reflux when stomach acid rises up the food pipe, and causes a burning pain in the chest
- inflammation where the ribs join the breast bone
- chest infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
- anxiety or panic attack these may also cause dizziness, heart palpitations, sweating and breathlessness and can last for up to 20 minutes.
Common cardiac causes of chest pain include:
- angina pain caused by poor blood flow to the heart muscle, which usually occurs when the heart needs to work harder than usual. This might be due to exercise, anxiety or emotion, cold weather, or following a large meal. The pain is usually short lived and eases with rest.
- heart attack when the blood flow to a part of the heart muscle is blocked. Chest pain caused by a heart attack usually does not go away with rest, and urgent medical attention is necessary.
Less common causes of chest pain include:
- shingles an infection that typically causes pain before a skin rash appears
- mastitis usually caused by a breast infection related to breastfeeding
- a pulmonary embolism a blockage in the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. You may have sharp, stabbing chest pain that is worse when you breathe in.
What Does Noncardiac Chest Pain Feel Like
Noncardiac chest pain is often described as feeling like angina, the chest pain caused by heart disease. It feels like a painful squeezing or tightness in your chest, or like pressure or heaviness, particularly behind your sternum. You may feel it on the right side or the left side or in the middle. Sometimes the pain radiates to your neck, left arm or back. You may notice that it occurs after eating, or that it is accompanied by heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest. It can last for a few minutes or a few hours.
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Time = Heart Muscle So Don’t Wait To Get Help
If you think you’re having a heart attack, Time is of the essence: The longer a coronary artery is 100 percent blocked, the more heart damage will occur.
“Never drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital,” says Schaer. “The emergency medical technicians who respond to the 911 call are best equipped to care for heart attack patients, monitor them for any abnormal heart rhythms that can develop and rapidly transport them to the nearest hospital capable of opening the artery with angioplasty.”
If you’re concerned about chest pain, or if persistent chest pain is interfering with your quality of life, talk to your doctor. He or she can run tests to pinpoint the source of your pain, help you get relief and potentially prevent more serious health problems down the road.
What Other Problems Can Cause Noncardiac Chest Pain
Some less common causes of noncardiac chest pain include:
- Muscle or bone problems in the chest, chest wall, or spine .
- Chronic lung diseases, including diseases of the pleura, the tissue that covers your lungs.
- Stomach problems, such as ulcers.
- Psychological problems, including pain disorders, stress, anxiety and depression.
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Why Does Pain In The Esophagus Feel Like Heart Pain
Inside your chest cavity , your esophagus actually runs right alongside the heart. The same sensory nerves send pain signals from both organs to your brain. It can be difficult to distinguish between the two based on symptoms alone. If you have other symptoms of esophageal reflux, such as stomach fluid coming back up through your esophagus, that can be a clue. Other esophageal disorders, such as muscle spasms or visceral hypersensitivity, might be trickier to identify.
If You Believe You Are Having A Heart Attack Do Not Wait To Get Help
- Take nitroglycerin, if prescribed by your doctor.
- Take aspirin, but only if prescribed by your doctor. Aspirin can interact with other medications and should be taken only when advised by a medical professional.
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Pain Moves From Your Chest To Your Back
One potential cause of back pain is a condition called costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage connecting your ribs to your breastbone. While lifting heavy items, respiratory infections, and chest injuries can cause it, often the source of the pain is unclear. You may feel pain that travels from your chest to your back. Definitely get checked out by your doctor, it often goes away without any treatment.
What Is Chest And Back Pain
Chest and back pain can occur for many reasons. The exact location, severity, and timing of pain can help pinpoint the cause.
The pain in your chest and back may be constant or it might come and go. It could be dull, sharp, throbbing, or stabbing.
When you talk to your doctor about back and chest pain, be as specific as possible and tell them:
- What you were doing when you noticed the pain
- How long you have had symptoms of the pain
- Any other symptoms you are having
Some causes of chest and back pain include muscle strains, gastrointestinal issues, heart disease, or lung problems.
If you experience chest and back pain that is new, lasts more than a few minutes, or is concerning, get evaluated by a health care provider.
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Muscle Injury Or Overuse
Sometimes chest and back pain may be due to injury or overuse of muscles. Injury can occur due to things like accidents or falls.
Overuse can also cause muscle pain. Repetitive motions that are used in day-to-day activities, work, or sports can also contribute to this. An example of a repetitive activity that may cause muscle pain in the chest and back is rowing.
Generally, pain from muscle injury or overuse may be worse when moving the affected area.
How Can You Tell The Difference Between Chest Pain And Anxiety
Although chest pain is common to both a panic attack and a heart attack, the characteristics of the pain often differ. During a panic attack, chest pain is usually sharp or stabbing and localized in the middle of the chest. Chest pain from a heart attack may resemble pressure or a squeezing sensation.
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What Are The Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack
There are several different warning signs of a heart attack, and they are not always sudden or severe. Whether or not your chest pain symptoms include mild to severe pain, they should be considered heart-related until proven otherwise.
People having a heart attack may have just one of these symptoms, or a combination of several. They can come on suddenly or develop over a few minutes and get progressively worse. Symptoms usually last for at least 10 minutes.
Warning signs could include:
- discomfort or pain in the centre of your chest a heaviness, tightness or pressure, like something heavy sitting on your chest, or a belt tightening around your chest, or a bad case of indigestion
- discomfort in your arms, shoulder, neck, jaw or back
- other problems such as:
Women and men can experience the signs and symptoms of a heart attack differently.
Although chest pain is thought to be the most common symptom of heart attack and it is common in men only about half of all women who have a heart attack actually report chest pain.
Heart attacks are more common in older people than in younger people, but they can occur in people of any age.
The pain you have may not sound like that described above, but its still important to see a doctor. Remember, all chest pain should be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
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Chest Tightness And Back Pain
Many medical conditions can cause chest tightness and back pain. It is vital to take such symptoms seriously and do what you can to receive help. If you can, you should visit the doctor for an evaluation to help determine what is wrong.
If you cant, you will need the advice to help you make sensible decisions. We will provide you with the tools you need, so follow along and take notes.
All medical conditions manifest symptoms that enable doctors to have a general idea of what could be wrong. Without such signs, it would be more challenging to diagnose an individual.
You need to examine the symptoms of the illnesses on the list with your own. Eliminate any that dont match and focus on those that do. Compare that group for similar treatments, which will help determine what you can use.
If you do this, the chances of treating the wrong thing become non-existent. You should notice some easing of the symptoms after some time. We want to encourage you to find your way to a doctor even if you start to feel better.
Here is a list of medical issues that cause chest tightness and back pain.
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Immediate Action Required: Call 999 If:
You have sudden chest pain that:
- spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw
- makes your chest feel tight or heavy
- also started with shortness of breath, sweating and feeling or being sick
- lasts more than 15 minutes
You could be having a heart attack. Call 999 immediately as you need immediate treatment in hospital.
You Feel Pain In The Side Too
Anyone whos had a kidney stone knows theyre quite agonizingand they may cause upper back pain, says Dr. Ghannad. Its unlikely that this is the only symptom youll notice though. You may also feel severe pain in your side and back below your ribs, the Mayo Clinic notes. Discomfort while peeing or red- or brown-hued urine may be other clues. The best advice? If pain is severe and persistent, its a good idea to be evaluated by a physician, says Ghannad.
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Pain In Right Side Of Chest And Upper Back
Pain in right side of chest may be a sign of major medical conditions which are usually not relevant to heart, but including different causes. If you have experience unexplained right chest pain you need to call your doctor instantly to treat this condition.
Most of the times, chest pains immediately trigger fears of a heart attack, however they can also be symptomatic of other medical conditions. Chest discomforts should never ever be disregarded. Discomforts in the left side of the chest are usually linked to underlying heart conditions and discomforts in the right side of the chest are a sign of major health issue. For that reason, pain in the right side of the chest should not be disregarded, particularly in elderly people, due to the fact that it can function as the first hint of harmful medical condition.
According to Dr Nick Chaiyapin, a health professional for ElderlyJournal.com, This type of chest pain is absolutely a sign of some disease or disorder, particularly in the elderly.
While right sided chest pain is generally not triggered by heart factors, it is still representative of underlying health issue that might require instant medical interest.
When Should I Call Triple Zero And Ask For An Ambulance
If you have any of the symptoms below, call triple zero immediately and ask for an ambulance. If calling triple zero does not work on your mobile phone, try calling 112.
- your chest pain is severe, or worsening, or has lasted longer than 10 minutes
- your chest pain feels heavy, crushing or tight
- you have other symptoms, such as breathlessness, nausea, dizziness or a cold sweat
- you also feel the pain in your jaw or down your left arm
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Pain During Or After Eating
Chest and back pain that occurs during or after eating may be a symptom of one of the following digestive conditions:
- gallbladder issues
If a person develops any signs or symptoms of one of the above conditions, they should make an appointment with their doctor.
The following conditions can also cause pain in the chest and back.
A panic attack is a sudden episode of overwhelming or debilitating fear and anxiety. This can lead to physical symptoms such as:
The symptoms of a panic attack come on suddenly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. They rarely last for longer than an hour.
Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash to develop on the body.
Often, a person who is about to develop shingles will feel a band of burning or tingling pain beneath the skin before the rash appears. The pain and subsequent rash most commonly occur on the chest and abdomen on one side of the body.
Gradual Onset Upper Back & Chest Pain Common Conditions
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