Although most people typically associate chest pain with a heart attack, there are many different causes for chest pain. If you've experienced chest pain and you're worried about the underlying cause, it's in your best interest to understand some of the things that can cause it beyond heart attacks. Here's a look at a few other conditions that may cause chest pain.


Angina is a common medical condition that can cause chest pain. Actually, the word "angina" is used in the medical community to refer to tightness, pressure, and pain in the chest. The condition occurs when the amount of blood flowing to the heart muscle is insufficient. Sometimes it's due to fatty plaque built up in the arteries that are supplying blood to the heart. When your activity level increases and your heart needs increased blood flow, those clogged arteries cannot meet that need. This leads to a tight, burning feeling in the chest.


Pericarditis is another condition that can cause pain in your chest. It's caused by infection or inflammation around your heart. In addition to the pain and tightness in your chest, it can also cause pain in your shoulder and upper neck. You might even notice that the pain worsens when you lie down or breathe deeply.

Radiating Pain And Other Causes

Sometimes the pain that you feel in your chest is actually radiating from another area. In fact, the tissue and body parts around your chest, such as your ribs, lungs and esophagus, can all cause pain. It can be difficult to differentiate that pain from pain originating in your chest or your heart.

In addition, there are other conditions that can cause pain like this. For example, if you have a gastrointestinal disease such as an ulcer, gastritis, or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), any of these conditions can cause discomfort that may resemble chest pain.

You can also have symptoms like this from conditions like pneumonia, blood clots, and lung disease. Patients with inflammation around the sternum have been known to report similar discomforts. Finally, patients with panic disorders often experience chest pain, tightness and burning in the midst of severe panic attacks. Those attacks can also come with lightheadedness and shortness of breath. Make sure you rule out conditions like these.

With the information here, you can better understand the causes of chest pain. Don't stress that every type of chest pain you feel automatically means that you're struggling with a heart attack or severe heart disease. Talk with your doctor about your concerns for the fastest resolution to your problem.  

For chest pain diagnosis, contact an office such as Alpert Zales & Castro Pediatric Cardiology.