ZocdocAnswersMy chest has been feeling tight. What could it be?

Question

My chest has been feeling tight. What could it be?

Hello, A few days ago i started feeling a pain in my left shoulder when i took deep breaths. I went to the doctor which he took x-rays ( i never saw the x-ray's myself, but an assistant came in and told me the doctor looked at them and said, "they were alright") So I left, but now today and few days before today my chest has been feeling tight. It feels tight when i wake up, It feels tight when I take deep breaths, and it definitely feels tight when i bend over. Not only that but when i sit up quickly my chest feels tight with a thump. The tight feeling is somewhere between my chest and throat. So my question is with all the symptoms I've described to you, what are some likely causes and even unlikely causes. Any feedback is much appreciated, thank you.

Answer

The most likely causes of chest tightness really depends on your age and your risk factors, so it is important that you speak with your doctor. In older people, especially men with high cholesterol or strong family histories, we worry that chest tightness is caused by coronary artery disease or a heart attack. If you are young and otherwise healthy, the most likely cause of your chest tightness is either musculoskeletal or related to anxiety. If you are noticing pain in particular with movement or when you push on your ribs or muscles, that is most likely musculoskeletal, whereas the feeling of tightness behind your throat sounds most like anxiety. Pain with deep breaths could suggest a process that is affecting your lungs (such as a pneumonia or, less likely, a pneumothorax), and pain that radiates up to your left shoulder could also be caused by your spleen. Finally, it is also possible to have chest tightness or pain due to esophageal spasm or acid reflux, though usually this is more of a burning pain than a feeling of tightness. Given that you are still having prescriptions I would try to reach your doctor and discuss the testing that you've already had done and what your doctor thinks might be going on. They can better determine what you are most at risk for and whether you need any further testing to rule out these possibilities.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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