What are the Most Common Causes of Chest and Lung Pain?

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  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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Chest and lung pain may be caused by a number of conditions. To make a proper diagnosis, a doctor will ask whether the patient has experienced some trauma to the upper region of his or her body. If the answer to that question is negative, then other causes, such as heart attack, angina, or an infection must be considered. Abdominal issues can also cause discomfort in the chest region and must be investigated by medical staff.

One common cause of chest pain is some sort of trauma to the body. A person who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident should be seen at the local hospital or by his or her own doctor shortly after the event to rule out a more serious injury. Chest and lung pain may not become noticeable until some time after the event, but an underlying injury should be ruled out.

When a person experiences chest and arm pain, it may be caused by a heart attack. Not everyone who has one experiences the classic symptoms of chest and lung pain that radiates to the left arm. A heart attack can also feel like tightness in the chest region, and the pain can travel upward into the patient's jaw. Other heart attack patients complain of a crushing sensation in the chest.


Angina is a medical condition that occurs when the heart isn't getting enough oxygen. The resulting chest and lung pain feels like pressure that radiates to one or both arms. The discomfort associated with angina may start after exercising or if the patient has recently eaten a large meal or become upset. If the patient sits or lies down quietly for a few minutes, the pain of angina will likely subside within approximately 10 minutes.

Infections can also cause chest pain. One of the most common types is pleurisy, which is an infection affecting the pleura, the membrane that surrounds the lungs. When this type of infection is present, the patient experiences chest pain with normal breathing, as well as when sneezing or coughing.

Another common cause of chest and lung pain is indigestion. Heartburn can be mistaken for a heart attack, since it causes discomfort in the upper torso. The burning and pressure can be very distressing for the patient. More than one person has sought medical treatment for a possible heart attack only to be reassured that the cause of the symptoms is heartburn.


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Post 3

@turquoise-- I'm very sorry to hear that. My father suffered from that many years ago. If there is nothing wrong with his heart, it's probably a viral infection.

That was the cause of my dad's sharp chest pain. Doctors found that he had a mononucleosis infection. He didn't get treated in time and the virus settled in the heart tissue causing inflammation.

It takes some time to heal from myocarditis but anti-inflammatory medication and rest are all that's needed. Sometimes blood pressure medications might be given until the inflammation disappears. I hope your brother gets better soon.

Post 2

I just heard from my mom that my brother has myocarditis. He was taken to the hospital by his friend for severe chest pain. They apparently ran many tests and found that the outer sac of his heart is inflamed. They are now getting ready to do an angiography today to see if he's at risk of a heart attack. I hope the results of the angiography will be clear.

Post 1

I had a serious upper respiratory infection this winter. I coughed close to a month! When I finally stopped coughing, my chest and lung were hurting very badly. It hurt even while breathing.

My doctor said that since I coughed so much, the muscles in my chest became sore and inflamed. That's why I had lung and chest pain even though the infection was gone. It took another two weeks for that pain to go away. It was not fun.

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