ZocdocAnswers"What causes sharp, sudden chest pains?"

Question

"What causes sharp, sudden chest pains?"

I'm a guy in my late 20s, and as far as I know I have a strong, healthy heart. But lately I get very sharp shooting pains in my chest, for no reason at all, even if I'm just lying in bed. What could cause this? Is this a serious problem?

Answer

The number one cause of shooting chest pains in young people is muscle strain or a pulled muscle in the chest wall. This usually occurs with physical activity or exercise, and the area is usually tender with pressing. Rest and analgesics are usually enough to clear it up. Equally common is costochondritis, an inflammation of the rib joints in the front of the chest. Pressing over the front of the chest may elicit some pain. This inflammation is probably caused by a viral infection like a common cold, and it will also clear up with some rest and analgesics. If you experiences palpitations or a rapid heart beat, dizziness, crushing persistent chest pain, shortness of breath or any similar symptoms, these are more concerning and should be evaluated emergently. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concerns will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor if symptoms persist is advised.

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

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