Chest pain: First aid – Mayo Clinic

To start with support for upper body agony is dependent on the cause. Results in of upper body agony can change from insignificant complications, these types of as heartburn or emotional anxiety, to major healthcare emergencies, these types of as a heart assault or blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism).

It can be tough to tell if your upper body agony is owing to a heart assault or other wellbeing ailment, specially if you’ve got by no means experienced upper body agony in advance of. Don’t test to diagnose the cause on your own. Find unexpected emergency healthcare enable if you have unexplained upper body agony that lasts far more than a several minutes.

Coronary heart assault

A heart assault commonly leads to upper body agony for far more than 15 minutes. The agony may perhaps be delicate or extreme. Some heart attacks strike instantly, but quite a few persons have warning symptoms several hours or times in advance.

An individual owning a heart assault may perhaps have any or all of the following:

  • Upper body agony, pressure or tightness, or a squeezing or aching sensation in the centre of the upper body
  • Ache or pain that spreads to the shoulder, arm, back again, neck, jaw, teeth or once in a while higher abdomen
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal agony
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting
  • Sweating

In females, upper body agony is not always extreme or even the most obvious symptom. Females are inclined to have far more-imprecise signs and symptoms, these types of as nausea or back again or jaw agony, which may perhaps be far more rigorous than the upper body agony.

If you or anyone else may perhaps be owning a heart assault, comply with these very first-support ways:

  • Call 911 or unexpected emergency healthcare aid. Don’t dismiss the signs and symptoms of a heart assault. If you won’t be able to get an ambulance or unexpected emergency vehicle to come to you, have a neighbor or a good friend generate you to the closest medical center. Drive on your own only if you have no other possibility. Because your ailment can worsen, driving on your own places you and other individuals at risk.
  • Chew aspirin. Aspirin is a blood thinner. It stops clotting and keeps blood flowing through a narrowed artery which is caused a heart assault. Don’t just take aspirin if you have upper body agony owing to an damage. Also, never just take aspirin if you are allergic to aspirin, have bleeding complications or just take a further blood-thinning treatment, or if your doctor beforehand told you not to do so.
  • Choose nitroglycerin, if approved. If you assume you are owning a heart assault and your doctor has beforehand approved nitroglycerin for you, just take it as directed. Don’t just take any person else’s nitroglycerin.
  • Start out CPR on the individual owning a heart assault. The American Coronary heart Affiliation recommends starting fingers-only CPR. Force really hard and quick on the person’s upper body for one hundred to one hundred twenty compressions a moment.
  • If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is right away offered and the individual is unconscious, comply with the device recommendations for making use of it.


Angina is upper body agony or pain caused by diminished blood flow to your heart muscle. It is somewhat typical, but it can be really hard to tell the variance from other sorts of upper body agony, these types of as indigestion.

Angina can be steady or unstable.

  • Stable angina is upper body agony that commonly happens with action and is somewhat predictable. The upper body agony tends to comply with a sample. In other terms, you will find been no transform in how generally you get the upper body agony and how extensive it lasts.
  • Unstable angina is upper body agony that is sudden or new or modifications from the normal sample. It may perhaps be a indication of a long term heart assault.

If your angina receives even worse or modifications, find unexpected emergency healthcare enable right away.

Pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in the lung. It happens when a clot, commonly in the leg or pelvis, breaks no cost and receives caught in a lung artery (pulmonary artery). The clot interrupts blood flow, building it far more tough for your lungs to present oxygen to the rest of your physique.

Signs and signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism may perhaps contain:

  • Unexpected, sharp upper body agony generally with shortness of breath
  • Unexpected, unexplained shortness of breath, even with no agony
  • Cough that may perhaps deliver blood-streaked spit
  • Swift heartbeat with shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Significant nervousness
  • Unexplained sweating
  • Inflammation of a person leg only, caused by a blood clot in the leg

Pulmonary embolism can be daily life-threatening. If you have signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, find unexpected emergency healthcare enable right away.

Aortic dissection

An aortic dissection is a tear in the interior layer of the aorta, the big blood vessel branching off the heart. Blood rushes through this tear into the middle layer of the aorta, leading to the interior and middle levels to different (dissect). Aortic dissection is a daily life-threatening ailment that requires unexpected emergency healthcare treatment.

Typical symptoms and signs and symptoms contain:

  • Unexpected extreme upper body or higher back again agony, generally explained as a tearing, ripping or shearing sensation, that radiates to the neck or down the back again
  • Reduction of consciousness (fainting)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexpected problem talking, decline of vision, weakness or paralysis of a person facet of your physique, these types of as owning a stroke
  • Weighty sweating
  • Weak pulse in a person arm as opposed with the other

If you are owning any of these symptoms or signs and symptoms, they could be caused by an aortic dissection or a further major ailment. Find unexpected emergency healthcare enable right away.

Pneumonia with pleurisy

Frequent symptoms and signs and symptoms of pneumonia are upper body agony accompanied by chills, fever and a cough that may perhaps deliver bloody or foul-smelling sputum. Pleurisy is swelling of the membranes that encompass the lung (pleura). It can cause upper body agony when using a breath or coughing.

Not like a legitimate heart assault, pleurisy agony is commonly relieved quickly by holding your breath or putting pressure on the unpleasant space of your upper body.

If you’ve got just lately been diagnosed with pneumonia and then start owning signs and symptoms of pleurisy, call your doctor or find quick healthcare focus to determine the cause of your upper body agony. Pleurisy on your own isn’t really a healthcare unexpected emergency, but you shouldn’t test to make the prognosis on your own.


Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of the slender, saclike tissue encompassing your heart (pericardium). Pericarditis can cause sharp upper body agony that receives even worse when you cough, lie down or just take a deep breath.

Pericarditis is commonly delicate and goes away with no treatment. If it can be extreme, you may perhaps need to have treatment or, seldom, surgical treatment.

It may perhaps be tough to tell the variance concerning sudden (acute) pericarditis and agony owing to a heart assault. If you have sudden, unexplained upper body agony, find unexpected emergency healthcare enable.

Upper body wall agony

Upper body wall agony is a variety of muscle agony. Bruised upper body muscle tissue — from excessive coughing, straining or insignificant damage can cause harmless upper body agony.

1 variety of upper body wall agony is costochondritis. Costochondritis leads to agony and tenderness in and around the cartilage that connects your ribs to your breastbone (sternum).

If you have costochondritis, urgent on a several details together the edge of your breastbone generally triggers appreciable tenderness. If gently touching the space with your fingers leads to upper body agony, it can be not likely that a major ailment, these types of as a heart assault, is the cause of your upper body agony.

When to see a doctor

Upper body agony is a typical motive that persons find healthcare treatment. Stress, indigestion, infection, muscle strain, and heart or lung complications can all cause upper body agony.

If your upper body agony is new, shifting or normally unexplained, find enable from a doctor. If you assume you are owning a heart assault, connect with 911 or your area unexpected emergency quantity. Don’t test to diagnose the upper body agony on your own or dismiss it. Your treatment will depend on the precise cause of the agony.