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"I am having chest pain that comes and goes but really hurts. What could it be?"

ZocdocAnswersI am having chest pain that comes and goes but really hurts. What could it be?


It started this morning and I ignored it and it went away. But, I went out and had a greasy, fatty dinner and now it is back, still coming and going. I got nervous and thought it was a heart attack and almost the second I thought it my left arm was in pain, it was probably my imagination. I am starting to get nervous. I can even feel it through to my back.


Chest pain has many different etiologies. Chest pain is a symptom that can be a sign of a more serious condition such as a heart attack like you mentioned. People who are suffering from a heart attack can experience pressure like or crushing chest pain. The pain can radiate to the left arm or left jaw. It can also be associated with nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. The chest pain can be intermittent between 5 minutes to 30 minutes. If you do have these symptoms, you should go to the emergency room. You can also take an aspirin in route. The other causes of chest pain is acid reflux disease, musculoskeletal pain, pneumonia, pulmonary embolus, or pleural effusions. Acid reflux often causes burning chest pain after eating a large meal. It is worsen by laying flat. You can take antacids to see if it alleviates the pain if it is truly acid reflux. It can also be musculoskeletal pain that is caused by strenuous activities. Often you can reproduce the pain when you move in a certain position or press on the affected muscle group. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause intermittent chest pains but it is associated with fevers, cough, and not feeling well. A pulmonary embolus is a clot in the body that traveled to the vessels in the lung. It can cause sharp chest pains associated with shortness of breath and palpitations. People who are susceptible to a pulmonary embolus are smokers, obese patients, and people who are immobile for hours. Lastly, a pleural effusion is fluid around the lung. It can be caused by a number of different things from inflammation to malignancies. In any case, you should see your primary care doctor as soon as possible to figure out what is causing your chest pains.

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