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There are many potential reasons why you might be suffering from chest pain, from heart attacks to muscle strains, heartburn and even psychological issues, such as anxiety.

Although experiencing chest pain does not necessarily place you in immediate danger, it’s not something you should take lightly. There are a number of possible reasons for it, each one requiring a different response and treatment.

Our doctors can talk through your symptoms, rule out possible causes and get you the treatment you need to tackle your chest pain.

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chest pain

What can cause chest pain?


Despite its name, heartburn is most commonly caused by acid reflux and does not involve the heart. This acid reflux is often linked to your diet and as such, monitoring what you eat can help you avoid it.

There are many over-the-counter medicines that can be used to treat heartburn and deal with your discomfort.

Muscle strains

If you’re experiencing pain in your chest, you might be suffering from a muscle strain. While these can be very uncomfortable, the best cure is to rest. In some cases, for example if inflammation has set in, you may be prescribed painkillers.

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Shingles is a condition that affects the nerve and surrounding area. If it occurs in the chest, then naturally, it’s likely to cause some irritation in the area. Unlike many other illnesses associated with chest pain, shingles is easily identifiable due to the visible rash associated with it.


Like a heart attack, angina is also attributed to a problem with the heart’s blood supply. However, this condition is usually not as severe or urgent as a heart attack.

Angina often occurs during exercise, and you will find the pain disappears after a brief rest. There’s also medication available that will help relieve the symptoms.

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shingles chest pain
panic attacks causing chest pain

Panic attacks

Chest pains can be one of the symptoms experienced during a panic attack, alongside heart palpitations and dizziness. This can last anywhere up to 20 minutes and can be very unpleasant for the sufferer.

Anxiety issues can be addressed through various forms of psychological therapy, while in some cases medication is also used.

As with all the conditions we’ve discussed here, you should speak to a doctor about the best course of action. The one thing you mustn’t do with chest pain is ignore it, since it could be a potential sign of something serious.

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Heart attack

Heart attacks occur because of problems with the blood supply to your heart, possibly due to conditions such as pulmonary embolism, in which your blood vessels become blocked.

If you experience severe chest pain that lasts longer than 15 minutes and is accompanied by other warning signs including nausea, sweating and pain spreading to other areas, such as your arms and jaw, you should dial 999 immediately, as this could signal the start of a heart attack.

Depending on the severity of the situation, treatment can range from medication such as aspirin, which can thin the blood and remove the blockage, to surgery.

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chest pain causes
pneumonia chest pain


It can be easy to assume that all instances of chest pain are due to problems associated with the heart, but this is not the case.

For example, pneumonia is caused when your lungs become inflamed, which can lead to some discomfort in the chest area. Symptoms such as a severe cough and difficulty breathing can increase your discomfort.

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What to do if you are experiencing chest pain

Healthy individuals are normally able to make a full recovery at home with antibiotics.

However, those with other underlying medical conditions may require hospital treatment, so if you think your chest pain might be caused by pneumonia, it’s best to speak to a doctor as soon as possible.

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what to do