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Upper Right Chest Pain When Breathing

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Pain In Chest When Breathing In

Right-Side CHEST PAIN (What it Means) 13 Causes

Pain in the chest while breathing is a condition that happens when a person experiences slightly to intense pain in the chest area when breathing in. Pain can be anywhere in the upper abdominal area. This is usually very alarming because chest pain is associated with heart attacks, but pain on breathing does not relate to cardiac problems. Chest pain while breathing is usually due to some problem in the lung or the esophagus or a muscle of that area.

Injury Or Muscle Strain

Chest and back pain can sometimes be caused by injury or strain to the muscles in this part of your body, for example due to an accident or fall.

It can also be caused by overuse of the muscles, aided by repetitive motions throughout the day at work or when playing sports.

If you have an injury or strain, the pain is usually worse when you move this part of your body.

If you think you have a strain or injury you should rest to enable it to recover. Painkillers can also help to relieve the pain while your muscles recover, but you should speak to a doctor or pharmacist or doctor about how to get and use these.

  • the pain persists even after treating it yourself
  • the pain or swelling is getting worse
  • you have a high temperature or feel hot and shivery, as you may have an infection

When To Worry About Chest Pain

  • When to Worry About Chest Pain

Sometimes chest pain is just chest pain. Sometimes it’s only a muscle strain, heartburn or bronchitis. More often than not there are benign reasons, but you should be evaluated by a healthcare professional if you’re worried.

Chest pain can signal a serious condition, heart-related or otherwise. Here’s when you should call a healthcare provider if you’re having chest pain.

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Chest Pain When Breathing: Causes And When To See A Doctor

Sanja Jelic, MD is board-certified in pulmonary disease, sleep medicine, critical care medicine, and internal medicine. She is an assistant professor and attending physician at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, NY.

Chest pain when breathing is a serious symptom. This is true whether it happens with regular breathing or when taking a deep breath.

Issues like muscle strains or shingles may be to blame, but chest pain when breathing can also be a sign of asthma, heart problems, or cancer.

You should always see a healthcare provider if you experience chest pain when breathing. And if chest pain and shortness of breath come on suddenly, call 911. You may be having a heart attack.

This article discusses the conditions that may lead to chest pain when breathing, including specific situations like chest pain when lying down or at rest, plus how these conditions are diagnosed and treated.

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

Know Your Risk Factors

Substernal Chest Pain

After your symptoms have gone away, write down a few details about the event. Write down:

  • What time of day the event took place
  • What you were doing at the time
  • How long the pain lasted
  • What the pain felt like
  • What you did to relieve your pain

Ask yourself some questions:

  • Did you take all of your regular heart medicines the right way before you had symptoms?
  • Were you more active than normal?
  • Did you just have a large meal?

Try not to do activities that strain your heart. Your provider may prescribe medicine for you to take before an activity. This can prevent symptoms.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Angina

You may feel pressure, squeezing, burning, or tightness in your chest. You may also have pressure, squeezing, burning, or tightness in your arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, throat, or back.

Some people may have different symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, and back, arm, or neck pain. This applies particularly to women, older people, and people with diabetes.

You may also have indigestion or be sick to your stomach. You may feel tired. You may be short of breath, sweaty, lightheaded, or weak.

Some people have angina when they are exposed to cold weather. People also may feel it during physical activity. Examples are climbing stairs, walking uphill, lifting something heavy, or having sex.

Shingles And Chest Pain

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. If youve had chickenpox in the past, youre at risk for developing shingles.

Early symptoms of shingles include burning, tingling, and a numbness in nerve distribution that the varicella virus has been dormant in. If the rash is going to involve one of the dermatomes of the chest, this will often be painful, burn or tingle.

A painful, blistering rash typically follows, This is a red rash with blisters on it, whch ultimately pop, scab and heal. If you feel chest pain that seems to be nerve-related instead of muscle or internally-related, have had chickenpox in the past, and have not been vaccinated against shingles, call your doctor to discuss your options or get to a hospital immediately. Shingles can be very painful if its not caught quickly. Luckily, there is a vaccine for adults over age 65 and anti-virals can shorten the duration of symptoms, if caught early enough.

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Psychological Causes Of Chest Pain

Both anxiety and panic attack can cause symptoms very similar to angina. These attackswhich can occur out of the blue or in response to a stressful eventinclude chest pain along with shortness of breath, palpitations, and dizziness. The key difference is that the chest pain is usually fleeting, lasting only a moment or two.

It Might Be Angina Not A Heart Attack

What causes breathing difficulty with chest pain, congestion & fatigue? – Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Your doctor may use the word angina or angina pectoris, when discussing your chest pain. Actually, angina is the medical term for chest pain, pressure or tightness but its not the same as a heart attack.

  • A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is suddenly and completely cut off, usually by a blood clot.
  • Angina occurs when the amount of blood flowing to the heart muscle cant meet the hearts demand for blood.

Blood supply to the heart muscle is typically reduced by atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries that supply the heart. When the hearts demand for blood flow increases in someone with restricted blood supply to the heart, that person may experience angina symptoms, including squeezing, burning, tightness or a sensation of pressure in the chest.

Health experts classify angina in two categories: stable angina and unstable angina. Stable angina occurs during activity or emotional stress, whereas unstable angina typically happens while at rest.

If you have angina, it means you have underlying coronary artery disease, but it doesnt necessarily mean youre having or are at increased risk of having a heart attack.

So how can you tell whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack? Here are some important differences:

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Common Causes Of Chest Pain

Most chest pain is not heart-related and isn’t a sign of a life-threatening problem. Some common causes of chest pain are outlined below.

This information should give you an idea of whether these conditions may be causing your chest pain. However, see your GP for a proper diagnosis and for advice about how to relieve the pain and tackle any underlying cause.

Chest Pain Not Caused By Heart Disease

Chest pain thats caused by a muscle strain isnt the same as heart-related pain. Its likely that your chest pain is not from heart disease if:

  • It happens with certain movements
  • It can be pinpointed
  • Pain occurs with deep breaths
  • The pain goes away after a few seconds

Never dismiss chest pain no matter whats causing it. If your chest pain is severe and it concerns you, go to the ER. Dont take any chances when it comes to your health.

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Chest Pain And Breathing: Inhaling Deeply Moving Or Lying

Chest pain when breathing often relates to low oxygen levels in the body. Healthy people, when asked, say that they do not feel their breathing at all. This is because it is very slow and small . In contrast, people with chronic diseases breathe 2-3 times more air than the medical norm. Their breathing is too fast and too deep.

Overbreathing leads to reduced oxygenation of the brain, heart, and other vital organs. As a result, many people develop chest pain when breathing or when breathing in . This chest pain when inhaling deeply can occur during or after exercise or when moving, during sleep , after meals , due to stress and deep breathing , and so forth.

We already reviewed a Japanese clinical study, in which doctors asked over 200 patients with coronary artery spasm to voluntarily hyperventilate . What was the result? 100% of patients experienced sharp angina pain.

It is true that sometimes, chest pain while breathing in deeply can be caused by a pinched nerve? The source of this trouble can be located in the spine.

However, in over 80% of cases, people can immediately reduce their chest pain using a simple breathing exercise. It is the same exercise as for angina pain or heart attacks. This exercise moves more O2 to the heart and other tissues.

This YouTube video provides details for this breathing exercise: How to stop angina pain.

Pain While Breathing Or Coughing

Cardiovascular Disorders

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.

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Esophageal Conditions Causing Burning Chest And Back Pain:

GERD: There are also certain esophageal conditions which may cause burning chest and back pain. GERD is the primary disorder of the esophagus which causes burning chest and back pain. GERD is caused when the acid produced in the stomach reflux back into the esophagus causing inflammation of the lining of the esophagus. Esophageal spasm is yet another condition which causes burning pain in the chest and back.

  • low or undetectable heart beat
  • blue or pale tingling of knees, hands and lips
  • chest pain and breathlessness, nausea, sweating or coughing up blood

What Upper Back And Chest Pain Feel Like

Infographic:Upper Back Pain

Upper back and chest pain may begin gradually and worsen over a long period of time, or it can start suddenly without explanation or after an injury. This pain is typically felt more on one side of the spine, but it can be felt on both sides. People with upper back and chest pain usually have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Dull achiness that is felt in the upper back and chest, perhaps just on one side, and/or possibly extending into the shoulder area
  • Burning, sharp, or electric-like pain that may worsen with movement, possibly radiating pain along a rib from the upper back to the chest area
  • Stiffness in the shoulder, chest, and/or upper back due to pain or muscle tightness, which can reduce the ability to perform basic tasks, such as getting dressed or driving
  • Pressure or fullness in the chest rather than pain1
  • Increased pain while breathing or trouble taking full breaths
  • Trigger points in the upper back and/or chest that feel tender, sore, or tight, and can flare up and spread pain to nearby areas when touched
  • Pins-and-needles tingling or numbness that might be felt along the rib or across a bigger area, possibly more in the chest or back
  • Pain that spreads into the neck and/or arm, which can range from dull to sharp, and could be accompanied by tingling, numbness, and/or weakness
  • Rib pain that travels along the rib or possibly between ribs

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When To Go To The Doctor

Many times, right-sided chest pain disappears after a few minutes and if it does, theres no reason to worry. However, assessment by a doctor is the only way to really identify the underlying cause. It’s best to go to a hospital if:

  • The pain is very intense or gets worse with time
  • The pain lasts for more than 15 minutes
  • Other symptoms appear such as difficulty breathing, fever or fainting

In addition, elderly people and those with chronic problems, especially respiratory or heart disease, should be assessed by a doctor, as the pain may indicate that the condition has worsened, and treatment may need to be adjusted.

Mild Chest Pain In Children

Chest pain: how to distinguish between cardiac and noncardiac causes

Mild chest pain that comes and goes usually isnt cause for alarm, but may warrant a conversation with your childs doctor. Start with your pediatrician, says Ravekes. Theyll evaluate the possibility of cardiac and non-cardiac chest pain causes.”

Your childs pediatrician may refer them to a pediatric cardiologist if they find:

  • Abnormal vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, breathing or temperature
  • Irregularities on an electrocardiogram , a noninvasive test that measures the electrical activity of the heart

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Upper Right Chest Pain

Upper right chest pain might be a signal of an underlying health complication and hence, should never be taken lightly. Read on to know the possible causes behind this condition…

Upper right chest pain might be a signal of an underlying health complication and hence, should never be taken lightly. Read on to know the possible causes behind this condition

Any kind of pain or discomfort which is felt anywhere in the chest, may be due to an impending heart problem, though this is not always the case. Chest pain, especially on the upper right side, can be caused due to a number of reasons, ranging from a gallbladder infection to chest joint inflammation or stress. Given below are the primary reasons for this, explained in detail.

Costochondritis: Chest pain on the right side could be due to a condition known as costochondritis, which is a pain resulting from fibromyalgia. In this condition, there is inflammation in the cartilage, which joins both the ribs and the chest bone. The main reason this condition occurs is because of stress caused to the chest muscles due to some repetitive activity such as working on the computer in a particular position, upper respiratory tract infections which cause repeated coughing causing stress to the muscles and joints in that area. Besides sharp pain in the chest, other symptoms of this condition include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Pain in the back and between the shoulders

How Is Chest Pain Treated

Treatment for chest pain depends on the cause of the pain. If a heart attack is causing your chest pain, youll get emergency treatment as soon as you seek help. This can include medication and a procedure or surgery to restore blood flow to your heart.

If a noncardiac condition is causing your chest pain, your healthcare provider will talk to you about treatment options. Depending on your illness and how bad it is, they may recommend:

  • Lifestyle changes.

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Gallbladder Or Liver Inflammation

The gallbladder and liver are two organs of the abdominal cavity that are located on the right side of the body. When they become inflamed or are not functioning correctly, pain can be felt on the right side. Although it is more common for pain to be felt in the abdominal area, in some cases, pain can radiate to the chest too.

In addition to pain, problem with the gallbladder or the liver can produce other symptoms like vomiting, loss of appetite, general malaise, and jaundice.

What to do: If you suspect you have gallbladder inflammation or a liver problem, its important to consult a gastroenterologist for assessment and to start appropriate treatment. Gallbladder inflammation is usually quite serious, especially if a gallbladder duct is obstructed by a stone. In these cases, the pain is very strong, and fever and vomiting can occur. If this happens, go to the hospital immediately.

When To Consult A Doctor

Infinity Crossing: Going Against The Grain

Chest pain on the right side of the chest, whether mild or severe, should be addressed by a medical professional. Accompanying symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Pressure or tightness below the breast bone
  • Radiating pain to your back, jawline, or left arm
  • Difficulty breathing

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