Chest pain is one of the most common medical emergencies that gets treated and evaluated by doctors. While those experiencing it often panic and think that they could be experiencing a heart attack, not all chest pains are caused by a cardiac disorder.
Causes of Muscle-Related Chest Pain
- Chronic Pain - Muscle-related chest pains tend to occur when your raise both your arms or when you twist from side to side. Other chronic pain syndromes like fibromyalgia, as well as injured ribs or pinched nerves, may also cause this.
- Esophagus Disorders - Another non-cardiac cause of chest pain are disorders of the esophagus, the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach. One type of disorder is called esophageal spasm. The muscles that move the food down the esophagus are uncoordinated, which results in painful muscle spasms when you attempt to swallow. This condition is often mistaken for a cardiac condition because the spasms are often subdued by nitroglycerin, which is also used to relieve heart-related pains. Achalasia is another swallowing disorder that can cause chest pain. The valve in the lower part of the esophagus does not open, preventing food from entering your stomach. As a result, the food goes back up the esophagus and causes pain and heartburn.
- Anxiety - Stress and anxiety attacks can make the heart beat erratically and cause tensions in the chest muscles. When people suffer from anxiety attacks they often hyperventilate, and the rapid breathing usually leads to chest discomfort and a tingling sensation similar to what one experiences before a heart attack.
It is often difficult to interpret chest pains because it isn’t always related to an emergency cardiac problem. Despite that, you should seek medical attention immediately after experiencing chest pains since even the most mild ones can be a symptom of a coronary heart disease. A few hours spent in the emergency room having your pain evaluated will bring you peace of mind and could even save your life.
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