Duration Health

Chest Pain


Pain in the chest has many causes, ranging from something as benign as a muscle strain or contusion, to very severe conditions such as heart attack. Chest pain must be taken seriously.

If your pain started after heavy lifting or twisting, or is worse with movement of the arms or muscles of the chest, or if your pain is elicited when you press on the chest wall, it may be related to a muscle injury. However, none of these symptoms excludes a serious cause of chest pain, such as a heart attack.

If you are experiencing severe chest pain or shortness of breath after a fall, traumatic injury or blow to chest, you could have a collapsed lung or broken ribs and you should seek medical treatment urgently.

If you have any chest pain that worsens when you exert yourself, radiates up to the jaw or down the arm, or the pain is associated with any shortness of breath, sweating, nausea or vomiting, heart palpitations or feeling like you might faint, this could be a serious condition like a heart attack or blood clot in the lung, and you must seek help immediately.

Common deadly causes of chest pain include:

WARNING: Sometimes even experienced doctors and sophisticated lab tests cannot tell the difference between benign and dangerous causes of chest pain. If you have ANY concern that your chest pain could be from a serious cause, you must seek immediate medical care!


For muscle strain, consider taking ibuprofen. For any other more potentially serious cause of chest pain, consider taking aspirin 325 mg by mouth as you seek immediate medical care.

When To Worry

Seek immediate medical care if you have any of the following:


Aspirin is a pain reliever, and is used to prevent heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. Aspirin can be used for pain relief, and for treatment of a possible heart attack (myocardial infarction). If you suspect someone is having a heart attack, give aspirin immediately to help keep the heart's arteries open. If a heart attack is happening, it could save their life, and if not, it's unlikely to hurt. Seek help immediately. This medication should be taken with food.


Ibuprofen (generic for Motrin, generic for Advil) is a pain reliever and the most commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Ibuprofen is used to treat pain.


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