Chest pain can be a cause for concern due to its association with heart conditions. However, the heart isn’t the only organ in the chest; the lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, and even the gallbladder and stomach can cause chest pain. In this article, we’ll examine some potential causes of pain specifically on the right side of the chest.
1. Musculoskeletal Pain
The chest wall is composed of muscles and bones that can sometimes be the source of pain. Injuries, overuse, or inflammation of these structures can lead to chest discomfort. Conditions such as costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage), muscular strain, or rib fractures can cause pain that’s often worsened with movement or pressure.
2. Gastrointestinal Issues
Surprisingly, some causes of right-sided chest pain originate from the digestive system. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause a burning sensation or pain in the chest due to stomach acid refluxing into the esophagus. Gallbladder problems, such as gallstones, can also cause pain that radiates to the right side of the chest.
3. Lung Conditions
Certain lung conditions like pneumonia, bronchitis, pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lungs), or a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs) can cause chest pain. This pain is typically sharp and may worsen during deep breaths, coughing, or sneezing.
4. Panic Attack
Anxiety and panic attacks can sometimes manifest as chest pain. This pain can be sharp or feel like pressure, often accompanied by a rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom.
5. Other Conditions
In rare instances, conditions like liver disease, shingles, or certain tumors can cause right-sided chest pain.
When to Seek Help
Although right-sided chest pain is less likely to be related to heart problems, it should never be dismissed. Here are some instances when you should seek immediate medical attention:
- The pain is severe, sudden, or sharp.
- The pain is accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, or nausea.
- The pain spreads to other parts of your body like your arms, jaw, back, or neck.
- The pain is accompanied by a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Even if the chest pain is not severe or acute, if it’s persistent or recurrent, you should still seek medical advice. Accurate diagnosis is crucial in managing and treating chest pain, regardless of its cause.
Remember, this article serves as a general guide and should not replace professional medical advice. If you experience chest pain, especially if it’s severe or unusual for you, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly.