Chest pain is always frightening, and 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.
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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.
Various lung conditions can cause chest pain. 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.
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 sensation behind the breastbone. 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.
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. Shingles is a viral infection that may begin as a burning sensation on the chest, torso or back before lesions appear. Finally, anxiety disorders or panic attacks may cause symptoms similar to an asthma attack or heart attack, including chest pain.