Can my heart hurt?


Headache and heaviness in the back rarely causes worry in patients but discomfort in the chest causes panic and for a reason. Few people can quickly differentiate the symptoms of angina and neuralgia and correctly diagnose the risks. Can the heart of a healthy and young person hurt? Your heart may be fine but does the pain cause nerve pinching or gastritis attack? There can be many reasons, all which come with various symptoms.

woman with chest pains clutching her chest while sitting at desk

Probable causes of pain


Diseases that result in painful sensations in the chest. A small part may be due to conditions of the heart and it consists almost entirely of acute conditions such as:

  • Vascular pathologies: infarction, angina, aortic bundle.
  • Inflammatory processes: myocarditis, pericarditis, endocarditis.
  • Congenital pathologies: valve prolapse, heart defect, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia.

The pain experienced in the upper part of the chest can spread to almost all the organs of the abdominal cavity, spine, ribs and lungs. Stretched chest muscles can also cause heaviness and pain, which may be mistaken for heart problems. Discomfort in the breast can lead to:

  • Pathologies of the spine and musculoskeletal system: osteochondrosis, scoliosis and neuralgia.
  • Lung diseases: pleurisy, pneumonia and abscess.
  • Gastrointestinal diseases: stomach ulcer, oesophageal hernia, acute pancreatitis and gallbladder dyskinesia.
  • Psychological problems: heart neurosis and stress.

Can the heart ache like the stomach and spine? Differences in symptoms

Symptoms of both diseases are similar and they include pulling pain, tingling and acute attacks. Pain can also be felt on the shoulders, arm, back and lower abdomen. There can be suspicions of heart problems if there is:

  • Feeling of heaviness and squeezing
  • Burning sensation in the heart.
  • Attacks and a gradual increase in symptoms.
  • Dramatically changes in any direction to pressure or pulse (the main sign of heart disease).

The pressure and heart rate will not change if the disease originates from internal organs. Perforation of stomach ulcers will cause a drop in pressure due to internal bleeding. Normally, chest pain is caused by less dangerous conditions and they can be distinguished by the following symptoms:

  • Tingling
  • Pain that manifests itself during sudden movements or coughs.
  • Painful feelings that do not subside and are present constantly.

Doctors advise that in case of such symptoms and suspicion of heart pain, you should take nitro-glycerine. If this does not help, it is either a disease related to the organs or an acute heart attack, which from neuralgia and pneumonia, can be distinguished by the intensity of the symptoms.

Possible heart disease

When you experience chest pain, the first thought that comes to mind is that it is a heart attack – necrosis of the heart muscle. This is a dangerous condition that requires urgent medical attention or else it can cause death. The main symptoms are:

  • Chest pain in the left arm, jaw, back and right side.
  • Weakness, a sense of panic fear.
  • Nausea, pallor, abdominal pain.
  • In the case of a large area of necrosis – loss of consciousness, blue colour of lips and nails and disturbed breathing.
heart pain attack istock

Ischemic disease, or angina – This is a partial or complete blockage of coronary arteries. It often develops as a result of high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle and excess weight. It also causes shortness of breath and weakness as the patient will feel as though a weight has been placed on their chest.

The rupture of the aorta – It causes acute bout of pain and the person may end up losing consciousness. Massive internal bleeding will begin and there is need to for immediate medical attention so as to save a life.

Pericarditis, endocarditis, myocarditis – This is inflammation of different parts of the heart including the shell, valves and the muscle itself. They are caused by infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, syphilis or fungal lesions. The symptoms experienced are similar to those of angina – pain, heaviness in the chest and shortness of breath. The patient usually feels more comfortable when in a semi-sitting position, their temperature increases and there may be noticeable swellings.

Arrhythmia – It rarely causes any significant discomfort as the pain is only felt in the heart and not in any other region. It is often a very weak pain that is unnoticeable until you pass the planned ECG.

How do I recognize diseases that are not related to the heart?

These diseases can be subdivided into three main categories: diseases of the musculoskeletal, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract.

  • Some of the pathologies of the musculoskeletal system can result to chest pain osteochondrosis, hernias, tendonitis and arthritis. In the first case, the pain is normally caused by pinching of the nerve endings by the curved spine. The pain will be unpleasant but weak. It can as well be accompanied by tingling and numbness in one or both hands, shoulders and the chest. Hernias in the later stages causes acute pain which subsides if the patient is in a comfortable and relaxed position. Despite the pain experienced in the chest and abdomen, the hearth is felt around the region of the spine. Joint diseases can be easily distinguished by reduced mobility.
  • Chronic diseases of LCD such as gastritis attack can cause mild axlid pain. Acute condition may also appear such as stomach ulcers, pancreatitis and blockage of bile channels, which will cause intolerable ain that is localised in the middle or side of the abdominal cavity, but which is reflected in the heart, back and shoulders. In case of conditions related to the gastrointestinal tract, the patient may feel nauseated, weak and they may sweat. For any acute abdominal pain, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Diseases of the nervous system are not only neuralgia with acute pain when making sudden movements, but also heart neurosis. Neuralgia can be easily distinguished by its point of localisation. It is accompanied by stress, fatigue and lack of sleep. The pain is usually weak, nagging and constant and it increases after a nervous tension.

Unpleasant sensations can cause respiratory diseases but they can be distinguished by cough, a rise in temperature and noises from the bronchi.

Diagnosis of possible diseases

When you have an acute condition, it is necessary that you call an ambulance immediately because necrosis of the heart tissue or internal bleeding may occur for minutes. However, ensure that a full body examination is performed even with the mildest chest pain. If the disease is diagnosed on time, it can be prevented from developing to a severe form.


To diagnose the heart the following are usually used:

  • The ECG which is the simplest and most well-known examination
  • Heart coronary artery and heart valves
  • Ultrasound of the heart – its results show the state of the entire heart muscle and its individual structures.

If symptoms or heart disease tests have been ruled out, other examinations that may help include:

  • Fluorography or chest CT scan to assess the condition of the respiratory system.
  • CT scan of the thoracic region for a detailed examination of the spine.
  • MRI of the thoracic spine will allow an examination of the bone and nerve structures in more detail.
  • Ultrasound of abdominal organs – it will show the pathologies of the gallbladder and pancreas.
  • Gastroscopy to examine the walls of the oesophagus and stomach.

You cannot delay with examinations about chest pain as you can fail to get the treatment required. If you try and make the diagnosis by yourself, you can make mistakes and exacerbate the problem. A specialist is the only one who will be able to perform the right examinations and draw the right conclusions from the examination and prescribe the right treatment. Always remember that in any bouts of severe chest pain, you should visit the hospital as soon as possible to avoid missing a severe pathology.

Like it? Share with your friends!


What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
confused confused
fail fail
fun fun
geeky geeky
love love
lol lol
omg omg
win win
Cornelius Arthur
I am an English language and literature teacher. I have worked in many cities of the world. I am currently producing content at upwork as a freelance. I find and produce the right content by doing good research.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *