Most people are well aware of chest pain on the left and know that it can indicate serious heart problems, such as a heart attack or other dangerous conditions.
The pain in the right side of the chest is not discussed so often, but it also tells the person about a number of disorders in the body.
Chest pain to the right can be a direct result of injury or inflammation of certain structures. Such pain can be irradiating, that is, pain that originates in another part of the body.
Causes of pain on the right side of the chest
Pain on the right side of the chest can be caused by various conditions, diseases and injuries. Below are 17 potential causes.
1. Anxiety and stress
There may be many causes of pain on the right side of the chest, including injuries, rib fractures, anxiety, heartburn, and cancer.
Strong anxiety or stress can trigger an anxiety attack. In some people, anxiety attacks resemble heart attacks in their symptoms. In particular, such people experience chest pain, dizziness, palpitations and difficulty breathing.
Anxiety attacks can be caused by stressful situations, but sometimes appear separately from them. Since in their symptoms they are similar to heart attacks, everyone who is not sure of their condition should seek medical attention.
2. Stretching the muscles
In the chest is a large number of muscles. These muscles can be overloaded or stretched during workouts or other forms of physical activity.
This type of pain can be uncomfortable, but it quickly passes after sufficient rest and taking non-prescription medicines.
Traumatic injuries such as falls, sharp bumps in the chest, or car accidents can affect the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles of the chest.
In these types of injuries, the heart, lungs and other internal organs that are located in the chest can be damaged.
Anyone who has experienced the situations described above should check their condition with a doctor, since internal injuries do not always show symptoms.
Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilages that connect the ribs and sternum in front of the chest.
The pain from costochondritis can be severe and cause intense coughing, infections or traumatic injuries.
Costochondritis usually goes away on its own, but for better rehabilitation, people with this condition require additional rest, painkillers, and cold or hot compresses.
5. Rib fractures
The doctor will need to examine and evaluate the condition of the broken rib.
A rib fracture is damage to the bones that protect the organs in the chest.
This condition can be very painful and, without treatment, lead to serious complications.
Usually, rib fractures are the result of a fall or external load, but sometimes a strong cough leads to them. If the fracture occurred on the right side of the chest, it can cause pain, swelling and sensitivity in this area.
Pneumothorax or lung collapse is a condition in which air escapes from the lung and enters the space between the lung and the wall of the chest.
In such a situation, the lung is hard to open when breathing. Lung collapse causes sudden and severe pain or discomfort. Sometimes people with this condition also experience shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and dizziness.
Pleurisy is an inflammation of the inner and outer pleural sheets that surround the lungs. Inflammation leads to friction between these two layers of tissues, which causes severe pain when breathing.
Usually there is a space filled with fluid between the pleural sheets. When a person inhales and exhales, the lungs can glide smoothly over this tissue.
8. Pleural effusions
Pleural effusions – the formation of fluid between the layers of tissue located outside the lung (in the pleural cavity). They can also cause chest pain and shortness of breath. Over time, breathing can become more difficult, so in such a situation you should go to a doctor.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It can be caused by various types of bacteria, as well as viruses and fungal organisms.
People with pneumonia often complain of chest pain when breathing and coughing. Other symptoms of this condition include fever, chills, cough and loss of appetite.
10. Pulmonary hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension is a condition in which high blood pressure occurs in the vessels connecting the heart and lungs.
Over time, it causes difficulties in the work of the heart and may cause chest pain.
11. Pulmonary embolism
In a pulmonary embolus, a blood clot or thrombus enters the lungs. This condition can be life threatening if you do not quickly begin its treatment.
If a pulmonary embolus affects the right lung, then the person may experience pain on the right side of the chest. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and coughing up blood.
The pain and other symptoms of pulmonary embolism usually manifest suddenly and require emergency medical attention.
12. Lung cancer
Lung cancer can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath. This happens when malignant tumors begin to interfere with the normal operation of the lungs.
13. Chest tumors
Not only malignant, but also benign lesions in the chest can cause pain.
As the tumors grow, they put pressure on neighboring nerves or blood vessels, causing pain and discomfort.
14. Heart diseases
While most people are accustomed to associate with heart disease, pain on the left side of the chest, on the right side, pain can also occur, especially if the disease affects the right side of the heart.
The virus that causes chickenpox can also cause shingles. In this condition, people experience inflammation of the nerves, as well as the skin and structures that surround them.
If the affected nerve is in the chest, pain may appear in this area. Shingles is prone to affecting one side of the body.
Initially, herpes zoster can cause pain and sensitivity in one area of the body, as well as fever. Later, the disease develops into a painful, itchy rash.
Heartburn causes gastric juice, which rises up the esophagus from the stomach.
The esophagus is located in the chest, so heartburn can cause chest pain, and sometimes it seems to a person that it comes from the right side.
17. Problems with the liver, gall bladder and pancreas
These structures play a crucial role in normal digestion and the implementation of other important functions. They are located in the upper right part of the abdominal cavity.
Diseases of the gallbladder, pancreas, and liver are just some conditions that can cause radiating pain on the right side of the chest.
When the pain on the right side of the chest should see a doctor?
Any chest pain should be reported to a doctor as soon as possible.
If a person finds pain anywhere in the chest, he should quickly get an appointment with a doctor.
Even though a significant part of the above-described causes of pain on the right side of the chest does not require emergency medical care, there are some medical conditions that need to be treated promptly.
Symptoms that indicate the need for emergency medical care include:
- sudden onset of severe chest pain;
- pressing pain in the chest;
- chest pain with shortness of breath;
- pain that radiates to the jaw and hands;
- chest pain with shortness of breath, accompanied by dizziness and weakness;
- clouding or loss of consciousness.
Perspectives for people who experience pain on the right side of the chest depend on the cause of the discomfort.
If, despite the treatment, the pain does not disappear, it is important to continue to work with the doctor to further diagnose and adjust the treatment plan.