Left Chest Pain: It Might Not Be What You Think
There are a variety of causes for left chest pain that are not heart attack related. We will be discussing panic attacks, internal injuries from collisions, and heartburn/GERD.
It is also possible for pneumothorax and rib or muscle injuries to be specific to the left side of the chest and for gallbladder, liver problems, and other chest pains to be felt on the left side of the chest instead of the right or center.
Pain receptors can be deceptive, and everybody experiences pain differently.
Imagine that for no reason, your heart starts racing, it becomes difficult to breath, and you feel a sharp pain in the left side of your chest. You suddenly become frightened. The Mayo Clinic notes that sudden occurrences of major physical reactions that accompany extreme, uncaused fear are panic attacks.
Panic attacks can increase your heart rate, cause left chest pain, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and a feeling of “impending doom or death” as well as other physical effects. The Mayo Clinic lists stress, genetics, and changes in brain functions as possible causes of panic attacks.
It is important to seek help if you experience these symptoms to verify the cause of your left chest pain. Panic attacks can also lead to other complications within your life if they are not treated.
Left chest pain might not reveal itself until days after it was caused. Impact sports sometimes lead to bumps, bruises, and broken bones. They can also cause internal injuries. Rollin Perkins and James Sterling have written about the difficulty diagnosing chest and abdominal injuries in athletes.
Left chest pain, especially when taking breathes and accompanied by chills, fever, nausea, or night sweats, can be a sign of an enlarged spleen that occurred during a collision at a sports event, traffic accident, or other type of impact. However, there is often a delayed reaction of several days that can cause confusion for you in understanding this type of left chest pain.
Sometimes left chest pain follows its trigger very closely. Heartburn is aptly named because of the painful, burning sensation created when stomach acids leak into the esophagus. The opening of the stomach is on the lower left side of the chest, and heartburn can be experienced on the left or center of the chest.
Overeating or consuming spicy, greasy, or acidic foods can cause heartburn. MedLine Plus notes that long-term heartburn can be the result of GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, when the muscle that closes the esophagus from the stomach does not work properly and stomach contents back-up into the esophagus “burning” it.
Long-term damage to the esophagus can create serious problems, so get it off your chest. Go to the doctor to find the root of your left chest pain problem.
These are many possible causes of left chest pain. If you are experiencing chest pain or if a previously diagnosed pain has worsened, seek help immediately. A medical care practitioner is best prepared to help you find treatment so you can feel better soon.
“GERD.” Medline Plus. Web. 15 June 2011.
Perkins, Rollin and Sterling, James. “Left Lower Chest Pain in Collision Athlete.” Abstract: The Physician and Sportsmedicine 19.3 (1991): 78. Web 15 June 2011.
“Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder.” MayoClinic.com. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1998-2011. Web. 15 June 2011.