Your Chest Pain Isn't A Heart Attack If You Notice These Signs

No doubt about it, chest pain can be distressing. The first thing that generally comes to mind is a heart attack.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart attack symptoms include pain or discomfort in the center of the chest that does not go away after a few minutes, or it may fade but come back. It may spread to the arms, back, neck, or jaw. Other signs of a heart attack include shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, and lightheadedness.

But the good news is that not all chest pain indicates a heart attack. For example, if you notice that your pain is sharp but localized and momentary, it could have an underlying cause such as a pulled muscle in your chest wall. Cleveland Clinic also explains that this quick bolt of pain could be the result of a bruised rib or inflammation in your rib area. Fibromyalgia and shingles can also cause temporary pain in the chest.

Other conditions that can cause chest pain

If your chest pain increases when you take a deep breath, cough, or move around, you might have a lung condition, such as pneumonia or a blood clot. In addition, your lungs might be inflamed or you could be having an asthma attack, per Cleveland Clinic.

Chest pain that decreases with exercise is likely to be the result of heartburn or some other gastrointestinal condition. Mayo Clinic explains that heartburn-related chest pain is more likely to occur after you've eaten, or when you lie down or bend over. You might also have a sour taste in your mouth. 

Anxiety is another cause of chest pain that is not a heart attack. That said, the symptoms are similar. Anxiety can cause a tight feeling in your chest, shortness of breath, and sweating. However, if the discomfort feels more like a stabbing pain rather than a heavy weight on your chest, it might be anxiety. Moreover, pain from anxiety does not radiate to other areas of your body like it does with a heart attack, notes Cleveland Clinic.

If any chest pain concerns you, the AHA recommends calling 911 and letting the experts determine the cause and treatment.