Experiencing chest pain on the right side is a frequently encountered complaint but it does not necessarily point towards a chest problem.
Chest pain that occurs on the right side of the chest may be due to a number of causes. Some of these causes are not even related to the chest wall cavity and its contents.
The pain is either due to a direct insult of a structure or indirectly by referred pain from a distant part of the body.
Some reasons are mild and resolve with OTC medications. However, there are a number of alarming causes that require urgent medical attention.
The analysis of the pain by a medical professional as regards character, severity, duration, frequency, associated symptoms, and increasing or relieving factors is essential to reach a probable cause.
This article will outline numerous causes of right-sided chest pain and point out the symptoms and signs necessitating immediate medical care.
Learn about Blood Clotting
Blood clotting is a normal process that prevents bleeding when a blood vessel is injured.
- Clots can form within both, arteries and veins.
- There are situations when blood clotting is seen as abnormal condition.
- Clots forming in the arteries can cause strokes and heart attacks, clots that form in the veins are often referred to as deep venous thrombosis (DVT).
What is Blood Clotting and How Does it Affect Your Body?
Formation of deep venous thrombosis can lead to a complication of pulmonary embolism (PE) which is a clot that dislodged from its origination and travels to organs such heart and lung. The spectrum of disease which includes both DVT and PE is inclusively known as Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). The presentation of deep venous thrombosis and its complication pulmonary embolism is often variable, and may range from very subtle symptoms such as mild shortness of breath to very severe chest pain, and sudden death.
How Serious is it?
Prompt recognition of and diagnosis of DVT and PE can be of life – saving importance and prevention of other complications associated with this potentially fatal condition.
When Should I Seek Medical Advice?
As a general rule, any chest pain should be reported to a physician. A number of causes require urgent medical attention.
Seek immediate medical advice if:
- Sudden onset of severe chest pain.
- Tearing or crushing character of chest pain.
- Chest pain associated with difficulty in breathing.
- Chest pain associated with dizziness, weakness, and/or alteration in the level of consciousness.
- Chest pain associated with fever, nausea, and vomiting.
What is Chest Tightness?
As we mentioned above, chest tightness is often a euphemism for chest pain. At its most intense, chest pain can mimic the symptoms of a heart or anxiety attack. This typically comes from hyperventilation (rapid breathing) that occurs when you trying to inhale more quickly as a result of anxiety. Though this pain can be caused from a variety of different ailments within the heart and lungs, we’re going to focus on chest tightness that’s commonly derived as a symptom of a lung condition.
Chest tightness can occur frequently (often) or persistently (continuously), and it can feel like sharp pinching within the chest leading to long-lasting pain, pressure or numbness. Although this chest pain may feel like it’s coming from your heart, 85% of diagnoses after visiting the emergency room are unrelated to the heart. In fact, in some cases, chest pain can be a result of simple bloating from gas build-up within the body. Regardless, when these conditions occur and begin to feel uncomfortable and long-lasting, call your doctor immediately to find out for certain what you may be experiencing.
Things to check for when experiencing chest tightness:
- If you’ve been sitting for a while, blood clots can form and spread to your arteries causing blockages. This can ultimately worsen lung conditions and make it more difficult to breathe.
- Should this occur, get to an emergency room immediately
- If you feel as though you’re lungs are heavy and it’s difficult to breathe, you may be experiencing symptoms of pneumonia. If so, you need to check immediately if you’ve got a build-up of fluid within the lungs as this can be an extremely dangerous condition for those with COPD. Call your doctor.
- In rare cases, a condition called pneumothorax (collapsed lung) may occur leaving leaks in the space between your lungs and chest wall resulting in a bluish color in the extremities and severe shortness of breath. Call 911.
5 Tips to Reduce Chest Tightness
So, how do you feel better when confronted with chest tightness? Here’s a few quick tips:
5. Slow Your Breathing
As hyper-ventilation can cause chest tightness and anxiety, slow your breathing down. You want to enforce a sense of control over your inhalations so focus on slower breaths. You’ll relax your mind and your body at the same time. Use your breathing techniques, such as pursed lips breathing.
4. Take Deeper Breaths
In meditation, a commonly taught practice is inhaling slowly and exhaling slowly. It doesn’t matter the size of the breath, just try to inhale for as high as 8 counts then exhale for the same amount.
Special note – Always breathe from the diaphragm, meaning your stomach should be the one rising not your chest.
3. Fix Your Posture
When looking to relieve chest tightness, a focus on posture is paramount. When breathing, straighten your back and keep your hands on your lap or your thighs. You also want to keep your eyes closed and your tongue touching the roof of your mouth. When doing this inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
2. Change Your Diet
As we mentioned before, even simple bloating can lead to intense chest tightness and discomfort. Avoid fatty, processed and fried foods as these can be large contributors to gas build-up within the body, ultimately leading to pressure and pain within the chest.
1. Seek Medication
When all else fails, it’s wise to know when to seek help. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician if you experience frequent bouts of chest tightness. They can help diagnose the root cause and offer medication solutions to relieve the pain or pre-empt the forming of symptoms.
Is Precordial Catch Syndrome dangerous?
While there is no known cure for PCS, PCS is also not believed to be dangerous. Though, what seems like PCS, could possibly turn out to be something more serious. Be on the lookout for these symptoms, as they indicate possibly something more:
- Chest pain that extends into the left side of the jaw or arm
- Chest pain that a person describes as a “heavy” feeling
- Pain that does not improve at least a little after 24 hours of regular doses of ibuprofen
- Cough, especially a cough that produces phlegm (“flem,” or “flame”)
- Extreme anxiety with the pain or a feeling of “impending doom”
- Blueness or paleness of the lips or fingernails
- An irregular, rapid, or pounding heart rate
- Marked difficulty breathing or catching one’s breath (different from mild pain with breathing)
Call your doctor’s office right away if any of these symptoms are present with your PCS. They could be indications of a more serious condition.
In the meantime, you can rest assured that the painful, stabbing feeling is completely normal and a minor inconvenience. Just remember, the key to getting rid of the pain quickly is to just work up the courage to take that deep breath.