Chest pain is one of the most alarming types of pain to experience, yet many causes of pain aren’t as worrisome as you first imagine. In a lifetime, your odds of experiencing chest pain are as high as 40%, and it’s more common in women. Take a closer look at chest pain and all of the possible causes and what to do when you experience it.

What Are the Common Causes of Chest Pain?

Chest pain can be serious, which is where most people’s mind goes when they’re experiencing pain in the chest. However, many noncardiac forms of chest pain aren’t as worrisome. Always talk to a doctor when you’re feeling discomfort to rule out problems and determine why you’re experiencing it. Try not to stress too much, as it can be far less concerning than you might imagine.

Here are the five categories that tie to chest pain and the common causes for each of them.


Most people immediately think of cardiac events like heart attacks when they experience chest pain. Angina is another form of cardiac-related chest pain, and it involves a reduced flow of blood to the heart that’s typically eased by taking a nitroglycerin tablet. 

Medical attention is not something to put off. Seek emergency care if your chest pain is accompanied by things like shortness of breath, pain radiating down the arm, jaw pain, or dizziness.


If you eat certain foods and end up with heartburn, the pain can be alarming. Eating a large meal and lying down before digestion ends is another common cause of heartburn. Those are both common causes of chest pain. 

You could also have a gastrointestinal disease like gastritis causing pain. Gastritis is a type of inflammation within the stomach lining. You should see a doctor to determine what caused it and how to treat it and prevent recurrences. If it’s recommended that you work with a dietitian to create anti-inflammatory meal plans, listen to your doctor. It can make a big difference in how you feel.


A leading cause of musculoskeletal chest pain is overexertion while doing things like moving furniture, lifting weights, or doing yard work. You’ve stretched the chest muscles, and now they’re aching. It will ease with time.

You could also find your chest aches if you have a rib injury or inflammation. If you fell or took a blow to the ribcage, go to urgent care for x-rays.


Shingles is a returned form of chicken pox that comes back when the virus transitions from its dormant state. An itchy rash is one symptom, but 20% of people with singles develop nerve pain. That nerve pain can hit anywhere in the body and cause tremendous pain. Medications can help, but you need to see a doctor to determine if you have shingles.

Mental health issues are one reason you could start experiencing chest pain. Anxiety and depression are two of them. With anxiety and panic attacks, chest pain is often linked to muscle tension or hyperventilation. If you’re breathing rapidly, you’re forcing the diaphragm to work harder than usual, and that will cause it to ache.

The other problem with anxiety and panic attacks is that you may experience a very rapid pulse and higher blood pressure. You can feel dizzy, and your feet and hands start to tingle. Add those symptoms to chest pain, and your brain becomes convinced you’re having a cardiac event, which worsens the anxiety.

Depression has several symptoms, but people don’t always realize that phantom pain is one of them. Unexplained pain can be something you experience when you’re depressed, so you should talk to a doctor about treatments for depression.


Several pulmonary causes of chest pain exist. If you have pleurisy, which is an inflammation within the lungs, it’s going to hurt to breathe, which creates chest pain. Pneumonia also makes your chest hurt when you’re trying to take deep breaths. If you have a blood clot within your lungs, it’s going to hurt. Any of these need immediate medical treatment.

Should You See a Fresno Doctor for Non-Emergency Chest Pain?

Non-emergency chest pain is still something to talk to a Fresno doctor about. You may know what’s causing the pain. You ate foods that you know give you heartburn, and sure enough you now have heartburn. If the pain doesn’t diminish or worsens, you should seek medical care. If it gets better after drinking a glass of water, it might not be as necessary to see a doctor. 

You were working on trimming branches all day, and it involved a lot of overhead work with a pole saw. Your muscles don’t typically do that type of work, and you’re very sore hours later. That’s to be expected. It’s still better to see a doctor as a precaution.

If any of the following are true, seek urgent medical care at Premium Urgent Care in Fresno.

  • The chest pain is accompanied by a fever.
  • You’re coughing a lot or coughing up blood.
  • The pain worsens or isn’t subsiding with rest.
  • The pain worsens with activity.

How Do You Know If It’s Serious?

Sometimes, pain isn’t something to ignore. Fresno Premium Urgent Care isn’t the best choice if the chest pain is accompanied by:

  • A squeezing sensation in the chest
  • Dizziness or passing out
  • Pain that radiates to the arm, back, jaw, or neck 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sudden, severe pain that doesn’t ease
  • Sweating or clamminess

Women should also look for flu-like symptoms that occur with chest pain. If you’re experiencing those, call an ambulance or go straight to the ER as those can be signs of a heart attack.

Always Seek a Medical Diagnosis to Be Completely Certain

Pay attention to your body. If you take the time to scan your body and determine what it feels like when your muscles are tense vs. relaxed, it helps you quickly recognize when something is wrong. Pay attention to what happens if you overexert during a workout and how it feels if you don’t get enough exercise. Recognize how different foods make you feel. When something doesn’t feel right, get medical care.

As many people worry about costly medical bills or missing part of a day’s salary, they’re more likely to try to tough it out. Don’t. It’s always better to see a doctor and learn that it’s nothing alarming than it is to risk your health.

Premium UC offers convenient telemedicine appointments. Plus, you can check in online and have all the paperwork filled out before you arrive to see a Fresno doctor. You’ll understand what’s causing your chest pain and be able to decide what happens next.