According to Medical News Today, 12 to 16 percent of the population will experience chest pain at some point in their lives. Experiencing a burning chest sensation and other symptoms can be alarming, as it can have very serious causes. Fortunately, burning chest pain can also have causes that are not severe and that can be treated easily.
If you experience burning chest sensations, the best course of action is to check with your physician for a diagnosis and treatment. If the pain is severe or you are experiencing other symptoms as well, emergency medical help may be necessary.
Burning chest sensations and other symptoms can be a sign of a life-threatening heart attack. Seek immediate medical attention — particularly if you also experience chest tightness or pressure, chest pain at rest, nausea, difficulty breathing, sweating, dizziness, or pain spreading to your jaw, arms or between your shoulder blades.
Be Aware of Heart Disease
Chest pain is often the first symptom that something is wrong with the heart or the vascular system. Angina is a type of chest pain that occurs when the blood flow to the heart is restricted. A heart attack often manifests as a crushing, severe heart pain. Pericarditis is an inflammation of the sac around the heart and causes a piercing pain and a fever. An aortic dissection is a medical emergency that causes sudden tearing pain in the chest and back.
Pain and Respiratory Issues
Various lung conditions can cause chest pain or a burning sensation in the lungs. Pneumonia, an infection in the lung; pleurisy, an inflammation of the lung's lining; and a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lung can all cause sharp pain, especially upon taking a deep breath or coughing. Asthma can also cause chest pain, along with wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.
Digestive Causes of Pain
Problems within the digestive system can cause what is often described as a burning chest pain. Heartburn, as the name implies, often presents as a burning chest pain in the middle of the chest. Esophageal spasms and achalasia are both conditions in which the esophagus does not bring food to the stomach properly, and they can cause pain along with difficulty swallowing. Stomach ulcers and gallbladder or pancreatic problems can also cause chest pain.
Consider Injury, Infection or Stress
Chest pain can be caused by a strained or pulled muscle, a pinched nerve or an inflamed tendon. An injured rib can also cause pain that is difficult to localize. These causes of chest pain typically worsen with movement and increase with breathing.
Shingles is a viral infection that may begin as a burning sensation on the chest, torso or back before lesions appear. In addition to pain, this condition also causes tingling on one side of the body from the chest around to the back.
Finally, anxiety disorders or panic attacks may cause symptoms similar to an asthma attack or heart attack, including chest pain. These symptoms most often occur when a person is at rest, versus heart attack pain with typically occurs during activity.