Chest pain appears in many forms, ranging from a sharp stab to a dull ache. It can cause many different sensations depending on what’s triggering the symptom. Often, the cause has nothing to do with the heart — though there’s no easy way to tell without seeing a health care provider. However, the most life-threatening causes involve the heart or lungs. Because the pain can indicate a serious problem, it’s important to seek immediate medical help.
Although this pain can sometimes be a symptom of a heart problem, there are many other possible causes. While some of these are serious conditions, most are not harmful but are indeed excruciatingly painful.
Painful sensation in the chest can arise from:
- Infection of the lining around the lung (pleurisy)
- Blood clot caused by long-distance travel or immobilization
- Collapsed or punctured lung, caused by lung disease or trauma
- Heart attack or angina, caused by heart disease
- Infection, inflammation, trauma, or tumor of the sac around the heart (pericarditis)
- Aortic aneurysm, caused by trauma, atherosclerosis, or genetic disorder of the connective tissue (Marfan syndrome)
- Reflux or vomiting
- Fracture of the joint or spine problem
- Muscles pains—trauma or unaccustomed exercise
- Nerve pain (neuralgia)—shingles, thoracic spine problem, or tumor
- Arthritis or other inflammatory conditions
Can Physiotherapy Reduce Chest Pain?
How effective is Physiotherapy for the treatment of chest pain?
If the chest pain is due to problems with the musculoskeletal system, Effective Physiotherapy will be able to help out. Treatment may include exercise, rest, manual therapy (massage, joint mobilization, or manipulation), and education regarding posture and care.
Meanwhile, Effective Physiotherapy can help treat many musculoskeletal causes of pain in the chest as well as assist in the overall management of a number of chronic diseases that result in chronic chest pain, such as lung disease and cardiac disease.
In addition, Effective Physiotherapy may involve exercise. This could include for instance, chest, back, and shoulder muscle retraining (strengthening and increasing endurance); stretching of the chest muscles; postural correction; taping of the shoulder blades or spine; manual techniques (mobilization) of the rib joints; or education.
Similarly, Effective Physiotherapy plays a very important role in the management of chronic lung and heart disease. Primarily, the role of Physiotherapy in these conditions is pulmonary rehabilitation and/or cardiac rehabilitation this includes exercise training, self-management education, and support. There is no cure for most of these chronic diseases, however, rehabilitation can improve your quality of life, help you become more physically active, and prevent flare-ups.
When to see a doctor
Certainly, it is always best to contact a doctor if pain comes on suddenly, especially if taking anti-inflammatory medications does not ease symptoms. Consequently, anyone who experiences chest pain and difficulty breathing should go to the hospital or call for emergency medical help.
Symptoms that may require emergency help include:
- a crushing sensation on the breastbone
- chest pain that spreads to the jaw, left arm, or back
- confusion, an accelerating heartbeat, or rapid breathing
Even when the pain feels severe a heart attack is not the most likely cause.
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