Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"What does it mean when you are having chest pains on the right side?"
I'm also having the pain shoot down the right side of my arm.
Chest pain is a common complaint and it could have many implications. You should make an appointment with your primary care doctor. The differential diagnosis for chest pain is heart attack, pulmonary embolus, pneumothorax, pneumonia, or musculoskeletal pain.
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Heart attacks typically is a crushing pressuring type pain in the chest that can radiate down the left arm and left jaw. It is associated with shortness of breath, nausea, and diaphoresis. Right sided chest pains can occur; however, it is not as common. A pulmonary embolus is clot in the lung. It typically causes chest pain that is pleuritic in nature. Pleuritic means that there is a sharp pain with deep inspiration. It is also associated with shortness of breath and palpitations. The risk factors for getting a pulmonary embolus is smoking, obesity, estrogen replacement and history of immobility. A pneumothorax is tear in the lung that can cause pleuritic type chest pains. It is also associated with shortness of breath. Pneumonia is an infection in the lung that can cause chest pains. It is associated with cough and fever. Lastly, it could be muscoloskeletal pain. You can move your arms around to see if it reproduces the pain. You can also press on that area to see if it is reproducible. Again, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor to be further evaluated to see if you need any imaging such as a chest x-ray. If you continue to have worsening symptoms, you should go to your local emergency room.
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