Patients often go to hospitals complaining of pain in the chest. Moreover, anxiety causes pain and discomfort in the left side. This happens because people associate such pain with heart problems and, accordingly, with a direct threat to their lives. And although pain in the right side of the chest does not always have a direct connection with cardiac problems, this symptom can be caused by no less dangerous reasons.
Therefore, one should not ignore the sign that has appeared and let the situation take its course. Self-medication can be not only ineffective, but also dangerous! Timely medical care will not allow illnesses to aggravate and cause serious harm to the body.
Causes of chest pain on the right
Most often, the pain in the right side of the chest is caused by diseases of the respiratory system.
This is a complication of pneumonia or a concomitant symptom of tuberculosis. A disease manifests itself in inflammation of the outer lining of the lungs – the pleura. There are two types of pleurisy: dry and exudative. In the first type of the disease, pain occurs when the diaphragm is stressed, sneezing, coughing, and has a stabbing character.
At the second, there is a dull aching pain, shortness of breath, dry cough. The patient cannot breathe deeply, he feels painful spasms in the chest. In severe cases, asphyxiation may occur.
Upper respiratory tract infections
Influenza, acute respiratory viral infections, bronchitis and tonsillitis often cause chest pains. It is especially pronounced when a person coughs or inhales sharply, irritating the inflamed bronchi.
The patient’s body temperature can be different, from subfebrile to very high (for example, with influenza) and depends on the type of infectious disease and the severity of its course, neglect. The pain at the same time is localized on the right or left in the upper part of the chest.
If bronchitis is not treated, the inflammation drops below and affects the lungs, causing such a serious complication as pneumonia.
Pneumonia or otherwise pneumonia
Pain can be one-way localized or spread throughout the area behind the chest. A strong breath or cough increases the pressure on the lungs, thereby exacerbating the severity of pain. It is very important that physicians correctly diagnose inflammation and select the appropriate treatment regimen, otherwise the disease may worsen and eventually be fatal.
The late stages of pneumonia are characterized by a significant increase in temperature, fever, but it begins with a slight increase in subfebrile temperature. Doctors begin to suspect such a disease when the patient’s body temperature does not normalize for a long time. Often at the initial stage, pneumonia is taken as a manifestation of the common cold.
Pneumonia is detected by x-ray examination or passage of fluorography. Characteristic wheezing that appears in the lungs can alert the doctor. Cough with aggravated inflammation is more severe and deep. Also for patients characterized by weakness, lethargy.
With complaints of severe pain in the chest on the right, the doctor can make a diagnosis such as a tumor of the lungs or bronchi. Pathology is characterized by a dry, suffocating cough, during which the patient coughs up blood. Bleeding occurs in the affected lungs in response to the resulting pressure when the diaphragm is stressed.
In the early stages, the tumor does not manifest itself with special symptoms, especially with peripheral lesions. Later, lung cancer can provoke such signs as weight loss, extinction of vital functions, increased pain due to the appearance of metastases and their deepening in the tissues of the organs.
If lung cancer is suspected, a biopsy is performed followed by a histological examination of the material.
Pain in the chest on the right may occur due to problems with the spine.
This is a lesion of the intercostal nerves, which occurs as a result of hypothermia, infectious diseases, strangulation, irritation and intoxication. It is accompanied by pain, which is localized behind the chest, closer to the back. Nerves, according to the name of the pathology, are located between the ribs. But the pain is extensive and often radially spread around.
The pain has paroxysmal character. It happens shooting or burning. Many different factors can precede the appearance of such a pathological process. For example, herpes infection (herpes zoster), scoliosis, osteochondrosis, spinal hernia, reflex impulses in pleurisy, and so on. If the patient has a history of such diseases, the doctor may assume that the pain is intercostal neuralgia.
Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine
Pathological process is manifested in inflammation of paravertebral tissues. It occurs as a result of pinching of the nerve roots due to a stratification of intervertebral discs. This cause of pain in the chest on the right is more common in the elderly and people with significant excess weight. In the first case, the discs are worn out due to age, and in the second – due to the constant excessive load on them.
Now the problem of osteochondrosis is becoming a scourge even for young people and children due to the spread of a sedentary lifestyle.
In addition to chest pain (with motor activity, weight lifting, deep breathing), such a diagnosis is characterized by numbness of the extremities, a local decrease in their temperature, and goosebumps.
Curvature of the spinal column leads to deformation of the chest, as it is connected with the spinal ribs. This can also cause pain. If there is a right-sided curvature, then the pain will be localized to the right.
The patient may experience right-sided pains with heart problems. It is customary to think that the heart is on the left. But actually it is not. The heart is located at the top between the lungs, almost in the center, and only part of one of the ventricles is to the left. Heart pains are short, appear rapidly, but do not last longer than an hour.
The pericardium is a heart pouch that performs a protective function for the heart. Most often, its inflammation is a symptom of autoimmune, infectious or oncological processes in the patient’s body. Such a pathology in the diagnosis is easily confused with dry pleurisy or angina pectoris.
One of the special characteristics of pericardial pain is its sharp increase with a deep breath, cough, and also when the patient is in a horizontal position.
In case of pericardial effusion, fluid is secreted, which leads to increased pressure in the region of the heart and characteristic chest pains. This makes breathing difficult, causes shortness of breath. In this case, the patient’s condition is aggravated by fever, swelling of the face and neck.
When the myocardium is poorly supplied with blood, it suffers a lack of oxygen. At the same time there are pressing pain in the chest. They can appear both on the right and on the left. The patient experiences sudden short-term bouts of pain. Treatment in the hospital is required, as the patient needs continuous monitoring and control.
Chest pain is provoked by several other factors.
It is fraught with hematomas, tears and sprains. The positive side is that this reason is initially clear and time is not spent on finding out. However, many patients neglect their injuries and go to medical facilities only after some time, when they have been troubled by chest pain for a long time. In these cases, the consequences of bruises and fractures are most often aggravated and more difficult to treat.
Spasm of the pectoralis major muscle
The diagnosis is very simple, using palpation. In this case there will be a perceptible muscle seal.
Food stagnation in the esophagus
There is such a phenomenon with overeating or obstruction. In this case, the pain is due to increased pressure of food on the walls of the esophagus. This is characterized by increased pain during swallowing or tension of the diaphragm.
Diagnosis of pain in the right side of the chest
First of all, the doctor will conduct a differential diagnosis and eliminate diseases with similar symptoms. Then an analysis of subjective complaints is carried out, and objective obvious signs are taken into account.
Chest pain can be:
- By intensity: blunt or sharp;
- By localization: in the side or front of the sternum;
- By the nature of the manifestation: piercing, aching, throbbing, spastic;
- Permanent or periodic.
First of all, physicians provide emergency care in the presence of life-threatening symptoms. After that, studies are conducted on ultrasound, ECG, X-ray, tomography. Also, the attending physician prescribes the necessary tests, measures the pulse and pressure.