The Common Causes of Chest Pain

The Common Causes of Chest Pain

Hello all! In our live presentation for our membership for this month, Cam presented on The Common Causes of Chest Pain.

This is one of the more common themes we address within cardiac rehabilitation. For people with heart concerns, it makes sense that you become a little more aware of when your chest feels off.

This can cause a sense of anxiety for some, leaving you wondering if this is something you  need to actively do something about, or if it is normal and ok! It leaves you feeling the weight on your shoulders to make a decision.

With that in mind I wanted to share a little bit of information Cam presented in this talk. Hopefully it gives you a little help in making the choice that is best for you!

Ps… Members – the full presentation is posted in “Health Talk Live” – which is within the Education Section of your member area.

OK. Here is the bullet point version of the presentation. Cam broke it down into 5 main areas.

1) Heart related:

  • Heart Attack → blocked blood vessel (coronary artery) that supplies your heart muscle with blood and oxygen
  • Angina → narrowed coronary artery that decreases blood supply to your heart muscle. This usually occurs when your heart works harder and requires more blood and oxygen, typically during exertion.
  • Pericarditis → inflammation of the sac that surrounds your heart
  • Dissection or tearing of the aorta which is the large artery coming off the heart that delivers blood to the body
  • Arrhythmias → unusually rapid heart rates

2) Lung related:

  • Pulmonary embolism → blood clot in the lung
  • Pleuritis → inflammation of the sac around the lungs
  • Pneumothorax → partially of fully collapsed lung
  • Pneumonia → infection of the lung
  • Pulmonary hypertension → high blood pressure in the lungs
  • Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

3) Musculoskeletal related:

  • Costochondritis → inflammation of the cartilage between the ribs and the sternum (breast bone)
  • Muscle pain → could be acute or chronic

4) Gastrointestinal (Digestive) related:

  • Acid Reflux → may or may not be a result of a hiatus hernia
  • Swallowing Disorders → issues with the esophagus
  • Ulcers
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Pancreas issues

5) Trauma and other conditions:

  • Trauma → blunt or penetrating
  • Shingles
  • Panic attacks

Medical professionals use their assessment skills to try and narrow down the cause of chest pain.

They will ask you questions about your symptoms and then order the appropriate tests to help make a diagnosis. The focus is always to rule out the most serious causes of the pain.

It is important that if you experience chest pain that you seek immediate medical attention.

It is also important to know that even though you may not call something painful if it is not normal then it should be assessed.

Pain can be sharp, dull, achy, burning, squeezing or a pressure sensation. It can also radiate to other areas such as your shoulders, arms, neck jaw or teeth.

As you see in the list of many possible causes, there are some serious and even life threatening conditions that could be occurring.

If the pain resolves quickly, does not return and you feel well, you could likely wait to see your family physician in a timely manner.

It is also important to note that sometimes chest pain is not always present when someone is having a heart attack.

Some people experience different symptoms. These can include:

Shortness of breath
Nausea or vomiting
Weakness or unexplained fatigue
Dizziness or fainting
Abdominal pain
Heart burn sensations
Back pain

This was a really interesting and BIG TOPIC. I hope you have the opportunity to watch it in full!

If you have any questions please let us know!

Cam & Shawna

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Shawna Cook

Shawna is a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, who has been working in Cardiac Rehabilitation for over 10 years. Her years in the health and fitness field however have spanned over the past 2+ decades. As an elite level athlete she fell in love with understanding the human body, and how the choices she made, affected how it performed. This led to a degree from the University of Winnipeg in the stream of Athletic Therapy, and the passion towards helping others recover from injury and "be their best selves" grew.