Any pain is a cause of discomfort. When the pain occurs in the chest, it has the particularity of being restrictive, since it is usually accompanied by a limitation for the expansion of the chest and limits breathing. When this pain occurs on the left side of the thorax, it is associated with a state of anxiety about the possibility that the origin of it is a condition of cardiovascular origin.
However, the truth is that most left chest pain has little to do with your heart health. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain the different causes of left side chest pain and their possible treatments. To do this, we will group these causes according to the affected organ system to facilitate their study and understanding of the information.
Table of Contents
Left loop chest pain from cardiovascular disease
Although they do not represent the majority of cases of chest pain on the left side, for their impact we will review them first.
It is a condition in which an acute coronary spasm occurs , that is, a coronary artery undergoes a momentary spasm and the partial blockage of the flow of blood to the territory that it irrigates causes pain.
It is always associated with previous physical effort such as climbing stairs or some type of physical exercise.
Characteristically, it will give way spontaneously and lasts less than 20 minutes. In cases of great intensity of pain, the administration of nitrates makes the symptoms disappear immediately.
In the following article, we explain in more detail the causes, symptoms and treatment of angina pectoris .
It is the most feared cause of left side chest pain, however, fortunately, it is not the most frequent or the most serious.
The territory of a coronary artery stops receiving blood due to its obstruction and a characteristic oppressive pain occurs (such as having a very large weight on the chest) that limits inspiration, can extend to the neck, shoulder and arm, and for the common is accompanied by a sense of imminent death.
Inflammation of the heart tissue is rare. However, certain bacterial infections elsewhere in the body can migrate and lodge in the heart, causing symptoms. The pain in the center of the chest is oppressive , but the intensity is tolerable.
The risk of death is determined by the extent of the infection and the type of bacteria involved.
As in the previous case, some bacteria can migrate through the bloodstream and “lodge” in the pericardium, which is the membrane or sac that covers the entire heart.
The resulting secretion will limit the movements of the heart and the resulting pain is a product of this limitation.
An aneurysm is formed when a kind of “sac” forms in the wall of an artery due to weakness of the muscular component of the same, which allows the prolapse of the inner layers.
When this occurs in the aorta artery (the largest and longest in the body), the severity of symptoms will depend on the extent of damage to the vessel and its location. Find out in more detail in the article Aortic aneurysm: causes, symptoms and treatment .
In this case the wall of the aorta is completely torn. It is an extremely complex condition, which causes pain of very strong intensity described as burning (burning), located more towards the center of the chest and towards the back, and which descends as the wall of the vessel is torn. It is usually deadly.
Left side chest pain due to respiratory causes
It called pneumonia to inflammation of the lung tissue. It is most commonly caused by infections that are mostly bacterial.
Left-sided pneumonias are rare, but they do occur and can cause pain that can simulate a myocardial infarction, which is ruled out when performing the electrocardiogram on the patient.
Similar to the previous case, the infection of the pleura (the membrane or sac that covers the lungs) is strange on the left side. However, they can accompany an infectious or tumorous process of the lung.
Lung collapse generally occurs after severe trauma. The collapse of the left lung is also rare but it occurs, shifting the structures to the right side and causing, in addition to pain, lack of mobility on that side of the thorax and great anxiety due to the severe limitation that it causes in breathing.
It must be treated immediately as the collapse can cause respiratory failure and death.
Pain in the left side of the chest due to musculoskeletal causes
Intercostal neuritis is the inflammation of one or more intercostal nerves, which causes a deep, dull pain that can reach its greatest intensity when the edge of the rib is pressed for diagnosis.
You can find out in detail by consulting the article Intercostal neuritis: what it is, causes, symptoms and treatment .
This condition can cause, although rarely and occasionally, localized pain on the left side of the chest.
People who suffer from this disease know the type of pain characteristic of it in any of its probable locations.
A broken rib will also cause pain in the left side , which will partially restrict breathing.
In general, there is a history of direct trauma that makes the condition suspicious, easily verifiable with radiological studies.
Left side chest pain from digestive causes
Inflammation of the esophagus by ingestion of erosive substances or by gastroesophageal reflux disease or other causes will cause pain referred to the region of the back and towards the left side of the chest.
Rarely, hiatal hernia pain can be referred and localized to the left side of the chest.
Characteristically, the pain is sharp, intense, and burning.
Chest pain from anxiety
The attacks of anxiety and / or panic may occur with pain in the left chest, plus other symptoms as explained in the article Panic attacks: causes, symptoms and treatment .
Obviously, there are conditions that originate the attack and that are identifiable by the person, although they will not be easily suspected by the doctor if they are not referred.
Other causes of left side chest pain
Breast prosthesis plication
Pinching of the pectoral muscle by a displaced breast prosthesis can cause acute pain. It is characterized by being well located by the person.
Extremely rare and serious condition in which the virtual cavity in the middle of the lungs and heart (the mediastinum) becomes inflamed, causing severe pain.
Treatment of left side chest pain
We have mentioned some of the most common causes of chest pain that may be located on the left side of the chest. However, there are other rare conditions not covered here.
The treatment must in each case be indicated by the doctor who will carry out an adequate and meticulous clinical history and will request the paraclinical tests that he considers necessary to confirm his presumption of diagnosis.
In all cases, pain on the left side of the chest is an emergency , as we do not know which patient may have a condition that is truly life-threatening. Some of them only leave a very short time to act, so in the event of chest pain you should immediately go to an emergency center for evaluation.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Left Side Chest Pain: Causes and Treatments , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.