It’s not surprising to learn that chest pains are painful—it’s right there in the name. Not only do chest pains produce myriad levels of uncomfortableness, but they can also create a bit of uncertainty.
For example, when you experience chest pains, should you immediately visit Victoria ER or simply wait for the pain to subside? Keep reading to learn more!
What Causes Chest Pains?
Chest pains are caused by a variety of factors, some of which may be serious, life-threatening, and require instant medical attention. However, other types of chest pains can be mild, even temporary.
Common causes of chest pains include:
- Musculoskeletal: This refers to strained muscles or ligaments in the chest wall, such as from heavy lifting, intense exercise, or poor posture, leading to chest pains. Costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage connecting the ribs to the breastbone, can also lead to chest pains.
- Gastrointestinal: Often referred to as “acid reflux” or “heartburn,” gastrointestinal pain takes place when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and can generate a burning sensation in the chest. Other gastrointestinal issues, like gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) or peptic ulcers, may also result in chest pains.
- Anxiety/Panic Attacks: When an intensive anxiety or panic attack occurs, chest pains may develop, which can feel similar to heart-related issues.
- Respiratory: Respiratory infections, including pneumonia and bronchitis, can lead to chest pains, particularly if these infections involve the lining of the lungs (pleurisy). Chest pains and/or slight discomfort can also be present in conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Pulmonary Embolism: When a blood clot travels to the lungs, the result is usually sudden and sharp chest pains and difficult breathing.
- Cardiac: A range of heart-related problems can give way to chest pains, pains like:
- Angina: Reduced blood flow to the heart muscles due to narrowed or blocked arteries.
- Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack): When blood flow to any part of the heart is crucially reduced or blocked, an individual may have a heart attack, damaging the heart muscle.
- Pericarditis: When inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart happens.
- Several heart conditions affect the heart’s structure, conditions like valvular heart disease and arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms).
When to Visit Victoria ER
The team at Victoria ER believes it’s always best to err on the side of caution regarding chest pains, as the pain could be a symptom of a heart attack or another life-threatening condition. Therefore, if or when chest pains arise, consider being evaluated by a healthcare professional at Victoria ER. We can determine the underlying cause of the chest pains via an ultrasound, x-ray, or CT scan.
As part of the new generation of emergency care, we offer a range of comprehensive emergency medical treatments, which we use to diagnose and treat mild illnesses and injuries, as well as serious and life-threatening conditions. We work with patients of all ages, focusing on effective and personalized care.
Specifically, if chest pains are accompanied by shortness of breath, pain radiating to the arm, neck, jaw, or back, sweating, dizziness, or nausea, then please see a medical professional right away. These additional symptoms could indicate a heart attack. Our Board-Certified ER Doctors are here to assist with chest pains, heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.
At Victoria ER, our trained and dependable team provides quick, high-quality care. Better yet, we’re open and available 24/7, with no wait time or appointment needed. With us by your side, you don’t have to face any medical challenge—big or small—alone.