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Pain In Upper Middle Chest After Eating

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Pain On The Left Side

Why do I get chest pain after eating?

Pain in the center to left side of the chest and back could be a symptom of one of the heart conditions below.

Stable angina

Stable angina is a predictable type of chest pain that occurs when the blood flow to the heart is restricted.

Angina usually causes a feeling of pressure, fullness, or tightness in the chest. A person may also experience related discomfort or pain in other areas, including:

  • the shoulder or arm

With stable angina, the above symptoms usually occur when the heart requires a greater supply of blood. This may be during physical activity or when a person is experiencing strong emotions.

Heart attack

Pain in the center to left side of the chest and back could indicate a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when blood to the heart is cut off or severely reduced and the heart muscle is injured.

According to the , the most common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • pain, tightness, or a squeezing feeling in the middle of the chest
  • pain in the back, neck, or jaw
  • pain in one or both arms or shoulders
  • nausea or vomiting

Another way to identify the cause of chest and back pain is to identify the factors or situations that trigger the pain.

The following sections will discuss some potential triggers of this type of pain.

What Causes Pain In The Chest When Swallowing

Pain in the chest when swallowing can be the result of swallowing something that is too hot or too big. But sometimes this symptom is the result of an underlying condition.

A number of conditions can cause persistent pain in the chest after swallowing, including inflammation in the Oesophagus , acid reflux, or hiatal hernia.

In this article, we will look in more detail at what may cause this symptom, treatments, and how to ease the pain.

How Is The Cause Diagnosed

To diagnose why youre having this pain, your doctor will first take your medical history and perform a physical examination. Since chest pain can indicate conditions like a heart attack, theyll also want to perform tests to rule out a heart condition.

Once a heart condition is ruled out, your doctor may perform one or more of the following tests to help make a diagnosis:

  • Endoscopy. In this procedure, your doctor uses a small flexible tube with a camera attached to view your esophagus and stomach.
  • X-ray.X-rays can help your doctor visualize the area of your chest and throat to check for damage or structural abnormalities. One type of method, the barium swallow, uses a barium solution to coat your digestive tract. This makes it easier to see any abnormalities on X-rays.
  • Biopsy. In some cases, your doctor may wish to take a sample of tissue to examine in the lab. This can be done during an endoscopy.
  • Esophageal manometry. This test uses a small tube to measure the pressure of your esophageal muscle contractions as you swallow. It can test various areas of the esophagus.
  • Esophageal pH monitoring. This test measures the pH in your esophagus over a 24- to 48-hour period. It helps your doctor determine if stomach acid is flowing into your esophagus. The monitor can be placed into your esophagus on a small thin tube or by attaching a wireless device in the esophagus during endoscopy.

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Pain During Or After Eating

Chest and back pain that occurs during or after eating may be a symptom of one of the following digestive conditions:

  • gallbladder issues

If a person develops any signs or symptoms of one of the above conditions, they should make an appointment with their doctor.

The following conditions can also cause pain in the chest and back.

Panic attacks

A panic attack is a sudden episode of overwhelming or debilitating fear and anxiety. This can lead to physical symptoms such as:

  • lightheadedness

The symptoms of a panic attack come on suddenly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. They rarely last for longer than an hour.


Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash to develop on the body.

Often, a person who is about to develop shingles will feel a band of burning or tingling pain beneath the skin before the rash appears. The pain and subsequent rash most commonly occur on the chest and abdomen on one side of the body.

Consider Medical Conditions That Cause Gas Pains

Pain in upper right chest after eating, possible gallstone?

Besides food and drink, you may have a medical condition that creates gas pains.

  • Heartburn or indigestion can cause stomach acid to leak up into the esophagus and cause sharp chest pains from burping.
  • Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease , can cause air to become trapped in your esophagus. The feeling can cause anxiety, which then leads to a short burst of heart palpitations.
  • Gallbladder disease can cause pains in the chest from excess gas. Youll also experience a loss of appetite, nausea, chills and pale stools with this issue.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease can cause gas build up in the digestive system. In addition to excessive flatulence, Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis can cause abdomen pain, diarrhea or constipation and nausea.

Contact your primary care provider if you believe you are struggling with one or more of these conditions. They will be able to order numerous tests to help diagnose the root of your problems.

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Pain While Breathing Or Coughing

Pain while breathing or coughing could be a symptom of one of the conditions below.

Issues with the ribs

The muscles between the ribs may become overstretched or partially torn as a result of overuse or injury. This may lead to chest pain and difficulty breathing.

A bruised or broken rib could also cause pain in the chest or mid-to-upper back, particularly when a person breathes in. Some other symptoms include:

  • feeling or hearing a crack before the onset of rib pain
  • swelling or tenderness around the affected rib
  • bruising on the skin


Pneumothorax is a condition in which the lung partially collapses due to air or gas entering into the chest cavity and pressing over the lungs. This results in the following symptoms:

Pneumothorax generally occurs as a result of injury to the chest or as a complication of a chronic lung condition.


Pleurisy refers to inflammation of the membrane that covers the lungs. The condition may cause a sharp pain in the chest that worsens when breathing deeply, coughing, sneezing, or moving around.

Other possible symptoms include:

  • blue discoloration of the lips or nails

A pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency. Without prompt treatment, the condition can be fatal.


Pericarditis refers to inflammation of the sac of tissue that surrounds the heart. The condition can occur as a result of an infection or an underlying heart condition.

When To See The Doctor

You should seek medical attention if you suspect a heart attack or any cardiac problems. Although heart attacks are rare, you should go the emergency room for assessment regardless, as this is a very serious condition.

If you dont think your pain is related to a heart attack, but you experience it for over 2 days, you should see your doctor. A consult with your doctor is also advised if your pain is accompanied by:

  • Vomiting with blood
  • Yellow eyes and skin
  • Difficulty breathing

In addition, if you have risk factors like excess weight, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, and frequently experience middle chest pain, you should see your doctor for a follow-up.

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When To Contact A Medical Professional

  • You have sudden crushing, squeezing, tightening, or pressure in your chest.
  • Pain spreads to your jaw, left arm, or between your shoulder blades.
  • You have nausea, dizziness, sweating, a racing heart, or shortness of breath.
  • You know you have angina and your chest discomfort is suddenly more intense, brought on by lighter activity, or lasts longer than usual.
  • Your angina symptoms occur while you are at rest.
  • You have sudden, sharp chest pain with shortness of breath, especially after a long trip, a stretch of bedrest , or other lack of movement, especially if one leg is swollen or more swollen than the other .
  • You have been diagnosed with a serious condition, such as heart attack or pulmonary embolism.

Your risk of having a heart attack is greater if:

  • You have a family history of heart disease.
  • You smoke, use cocaine, or are overweight.
  • You already have heart disease.
  • You have a fever or a cough that produces yellow-green phlegm.
  • You have chest pain that is severe and does not go away.
  • You are having problems swallowing.
  • Chest pain lasts longer than 3 to 5 days.

Seek Urgent Medical Help For Chest Pain

Why are you having chest pains?

With chest pain, every minute counts. The faster you get to hospital for treatment, the better.

If any activity brings on chest pain, follow these steps:

1.Stop what you are doing and rest immediately.

2.Talk tell someone how you feel.

If you take angina medication:

  • Wait 5 minutes. If you still have symptoms take another dose of your medicine.
  • Wait 5 minutes. If your symptoms dont go away

3.Call 000 and chew on 300mg aspirin .

  • Ask for an ambulance.
  • Wait for the operators instructions.

Do not take aspirin if you have an allergy to aspirin, or your doctor has told you not to take it.

Remember, if you have any doubt about your pain, call an ambulance anyway.

Do not drive yourself to hospital. Wait for the ambulance. It has specialised staff and equipment that may save your life.

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Possible Causes Of Back Pain After Eating

Referred pain is the type that you experience in a part of your body that is not the actual source of the discomfort youre feeling. For example, a heart attack can cause pain to shoot up from the heart into the back and other parts of the body. This is the case when it comes to back pain after eating.

Chest Pain: Its Not Always A Matter Of The Heart

There are plenty of other potential suspects when it comes to chest pain.

Mild or severe discomfort in the middle or left side of the chest that feels like fullness, pressure or squeezing could be a potential sign of a cardiovascular event.Most people experience chest pain at some point, but how do you know if it is a heart attack or simply heartburn or anxiety?

Understanding the differences between cardiovascular events and other causes of chest pain can save you a trip to the emergency room. It is also important because the discomfort could be caused by other urgent conditions, as well as less serious issues that may point to a chronic medical problem.

When it comes to cardiovascular causes of chest pain, UAB Medicinecardiologist Gregory Chapman, M.D., says the usual suspects include coronary artery blockages, high blood pressure, and heart valve or rhythm disorders. But there are plenty of other potential suspects. Chapman included a chapter on chest pain diagnosis in his book A Strong and Steady Pulse: Cardiac Stories, which is scheduled for publication in 2021.

Take symptoms seriously

In the United States, nearly 6 percent of emergency room patients report chest pain. More than half of those cases involve non-cardiac chest pain, or NCCP, that is caused by heartburn, anxiety or other issues. A staggering 80 percent of patients who complain of chest pain during primary care visits are simply experiencing NCCP.

Gregory Chapman, M.D.Mimicking a heart attack

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Location Of Chest Pain

Cardiac chest pain and NCCP can both appear behind your breastbone, making it hard to distinguish between the two types of pain.

Chest pain involving the heart is more likely than reflux-related pain to spread to other parts of your body. These places include your:

  • arms, especially the upper part of your left arm

Chest pain stemming from GERD may affect your upper body in some cases, but its most often centered either behind your sternum or just underneath it in an area known as the epigastrium.

NCCP is usually accompanied by a burning behind your breastbone and may not be felt as much in the left arm.

Esophageal spasms are the tightening of the muscles around the food tube. They happen when acid reflux or other medical issues cause damage within the esophagus.

In turn, these spasms can cause pain in your throat and the upper area of your chest as well.

You may be able to tell what type of chest pain it is by assessing the type of pain youre feeling.

Common ways that people describe pain associated with heart disease include:

  • heavy like an elephant sitting on the chest

NCCP, on the other hand, may feel sharp and tender.

People with GERD may have temporary, severe chest pain when taking a deep breath or coughing. This difference is key.

The intensity level of cardiac pain stays the same when you breathe deeply.

Ask yourself if your chest pain changes in intensity or goes away completely when you change your body position to figure out the cause of the discomfort.

Gallbladder Inflammation And Gallstone

Upper Chest Pain After Eating

This pear-shaped organ is also near your back, sitting just below the liver. Your gallbladder stores and releases bile, which helps your body digest fast. When hard deposits known as gallstones settle in your gallbladder, the organ and bile duct become inflamed and becomes painful. In a worst-case scenario, you may need to undergo gallbladder removal. Certain foods can trigger a gallbladder pain attack, with fatty foods being the most notorious. Usual symptoms of gallbladder disease include stomach pain starting from the small intestine that radiates to your back, nausea, severe pain in the upper abdomen, and irregular bowel movement.

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How Is A Hiatal Hernia Treated

If you have no symptoms, you don’t need treatment.

If you have mild symptoms, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes and perhaps nonprescription medicines. Here are some things to try:

  • Change your eating habits.
  • It’s best to eat several small meals instead of two or three large meals.
  • After you eat, wait 2 to 3 hours before you lie down. Late-night snacks aren’t a good idea.
  • Avoid foods that make your symptoms worse. These may include chocolate, mint, alcohol, pepper, spicy foods, high-fat foods, or drinks with caffeine in them, such as tea, coffee, colas, or energy drinks. If your symptoms are worse after you eat a certain food, you may want to stop eating it to see if your symptoms get better.
  • Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
  • If you get heartburn at night, raise the head of your bed 6 in. to 8 in. by putting the frame on blocks or placing a foam wedge under the head of your mattress.
  • Do not wear tight clothing around your middle.
  • Lose weight if you need to. Losing just 5 to 10 pounds can help.
  • If you often have symptoms or have severe symptoms, you may have GERD. Lifestyle changes may help, and your doctor may prescribe medicine. In severe cases, surgery can be used to pull the hernia back into the belly.

    Primary Esophageal Motility Disorders

    Normally, your esophagus contracts to propel the food youve eaten downward into your stomach. An esophageal motility disorder happens when these contractions are irregular or absent.

    Because the contractions arent coordinated, PEMDs can cause chest pain when you swallow. In some cases, this pain may even be mistaken for heart pain . Other symptoms can include:

    • trouble swallowing
    • feeling like something is stuck in your throat

    There are several different types of PEMDs, such as:

    • Diffuse esophageal spasm. These contractions in the esophagus are uncoordinated and disorganized.
    • Nutcracker esophagus. Also called jackhammer esophagus, the contractions in this are coordinated but very strong.
    • Achalasia. The sphincter that leads into the stomach doesnt relax. Achalasia is very rare.

    Its unclear what causes these disorders. They seem to be related to an abnormal functioning of the nerves that control the contractions of the smooth muscles in your esophagus.

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    Esophageal Cancer And Throat Pain When Swallowing

    More seriously, chest pain when swallowing might be a sign of esophageal cancer. If a tumor is large enough, it can restrict food passing by it. People with esophageal cancer may also feel like food is stuck in their throat, or they may even start choking on it.

    The most common symptom of esophageal cancer is difficulty swallowing. People with this cancer might start eating smaller portions of food or switch to an all-liquid diet because of swallowing problems. Other symptoms include weight loss, hoarseness, a chronic cough, vomiting, and esophageal bleeding.

    However, these symptoms dont automatically mean someone has cancer. Its important to get a diagnosis from a doctor to determine what, if anything, you might have.

    Most factors causing difficulty swallowing are benign,” CEENTA ENT doctorBrett Heavner, MD, said. However, if it persists for more than 2-3 weeks or you get to the point of not being able to eat at all, it needs to be evaluated.

    This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Heavner practices in our Steele Creek office. To make an appointment with him or any of our ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.

    Eating Too Much Or Too Fast

    Acid Reflux and Chest Pain with Gastroenterologist Dr. Olufemi Abiodun

    The “average” stomach can hold only about 1 or 2 cups of food. Trouble often starts when people try to exceed this capacity. The stomach must stretch to make room for extra food, which can cause discomfort or pain.

    Eating too quicklywhich often causes overeatingcan cause you to swallow extra air, causing bloat and gas.

    These are, in fact, two of the primary triggers for abdominal pain after a meal.

    To prevent eating more than you need, try limiting distractions at mealtime and serving yourself from the kitchen . Taking intermittent sips of water can also help fill you up so that you don’t overeat.

    To slow yourself down while you eat, nutritionists often recommend taking a bite, immediately setting your fork down, and chewing completely before picking up the fork again.

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