Left-Sided Chest Pain



What is Left-Sided Chest Pain?

Left-sided chest pain is pain that originates from the left side of your chest. Chest pain can be sudden and sharp that comes suddenly or may be dull aching that appears gradually. Some people may experience left sided chest pain on exercising, deep breathing or sometimes when lying down. Intermittent chest pain on the left or left sided chest pain that comes and goes may need to be correlated with other health factors and associated symptoms.

How common is Left-Sided Chest Pain?

Left-Sided Chest Pain is quite common. It can occur in patients in any gender at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Which signs and symptoms can Left-Sided Chest Pain usually be associated with?

Other signs and symptoms depend on the actual cause. Related signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pressure in the chest
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, arm
  • Breathlessness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Skin bruises or lumps
  • Tenderness in the breast


What causes Left-Sided Chest Pain?

Chest pain on the left side can create a sense of fear as it is thought to be related to a heart attack. While this is possible, there are many other conditions that can give rise to left sided chest pain.

Heart attack

A heart attack is when the heart muscle is damaged because it can’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. Some heart attacks start with mild chest pain that builds up slowly. They can also start quite abruptly, with intense pain on the left side or center of your chest.


Chest pain can be an indication that your heart muscle is inflamed.  Myocarditis can affect your heart’s electrical system, weakening your heart or causing permanent damage to the heart muscle. Mild cases sometimes improve without treatment, but severe cases may require medication. Treatment depends on the cause.


Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle or enlarged heart. It’s possible to have cardiomyopathy without symptoms, but it can also cause chest pain.


The pericardium is the two thin layers of tissue that surround the heart. When this area becomes inflamed or irritated, it can cause a sharp stabbing pain on the left side or middle of the chest. You might also have pain in one or both shoulders. These symptoms can imitate a heart attack. It may be mild and even clear up on its own. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

Panic attack

Panic attacks come on abruptly and tend to peak within 10 minutes. Due to chest pain and other symptoms, a panic attack can simulate a heart attack. If you think you’ve had a panic attack, see your doctor. Other health problems, such as heart and thyroid disorders, can produce similar symptoms, so you want to be certain of the diagnosis. Panic disorder is a mental health problem that can be treated. Your doctor may recommend psychotherapy. If it’s an ongoing problem, there are some medications that might help.

Heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD

Heartburn is the chest pain and discomfort you get when digestive acid flows up into your esophagus (acid reflux). Heartburn generally happens fairly soon after you’ve eaten. It can also happen when you lie down within a few hours of eating. It can even wake you from a sound sleep. Acid reflux can sometimes progress to a more severe form called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The main symptom of GERD is frequent heartburn. In addition to chest pain, GERD can also cause coughing, wheezing, and trouble swallowing.

Hiatal hernia

A hiatal hernia is when the upper part of your stomach pushes through the large muscle between your abdomen and chest (diaphragm). You may not need any treatment, but see your doctor if symptoms persist.

Esophageal problems

An esophageal muscle spasm can mimic the same type of chest pain as a heart attack. The lining of your esophagus can become inflamed (esophagitis), causing burning or sharp chest pain. Esophagitis can also cause pain after meals, swallowing problems, and blood in your vomit or stools. An esophageal rupture, or tear, lets food leak into the chest cavity, causing mild to severe chest pain. It can also lead to nausea, vomiting, and rapid breathing.

Pulled muscles and chest wall injuries

Chest pain can be the result of pulled, strained, or sprained muscles in the chest or between the ribs. Any injury to your chest can cause chest pain. If you believe you’ve broken a bone, see your doctor right away. It can take weeks to improve and even longer to fully recover. In the meantime, you’ll have to avoid strenuous activity.

Collapsed lung

Sudden and sharp pain on either side of your chest could be the result of a collapsed lung (pneumothorax). This can be due to disease or from trauma to the chest.


Sharp or stabbing chest pain that worsens when you take a deep breath or cough could mean you have pneumonia, especially if you’ve recently had a respiratory illness such as bronchitis or influenza.

Lung cancer

Chest pain can sometimes be a symptom of lung cancer. Symptoms may not appear in early-stage lung cancer. In general, the sooner you’re diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.

Pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the lungs. As the disease progresses, it can lead to irregular heartbeat and racing pulse. Untreated, it can lead to heart failure.

Pulmonary embolism

A sudden, sharp chest pain can be a sign of pulmonary embolism (PE). PE is a blood clot in the lungs. This is a medical emergency that calls for immediate treatment.

Causes shown above are those that commonly cause Left-Sided Chest Pain. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for Left-Sided Chest Pain?

Having one or more risk factors for any of the diseases mentioned above may increase your risk of right-sided chest pain.

Please consult with your doctor for further information.

When to see your doctor

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you or your loved one has any of the following:

  • Sudden chest pain,
  • Trouble breathing,
  • Pressure on your chest,
  • Dizziness

While your left breast pain is most likely due to something else, the first question you need to ask yourself is if you could be having symptoms of a heart attack. Keep in mind that the symptoms of heart disease in women are often very different from those in men. Pain may be mild, feel like a burning pain, or may simply feel like breast pain. Due to the often vague and subtle symptoms, women are more likely to overlook the signs, and, as a result, die from a heart attack.

On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Left-Sided Chest Pain?

These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Left-Sided Chest Pain:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Consumea balanced diet
  • Maintain adequate fluid intake
  • Stick to regular, moderate exercises and being physically active.

It is important to identify the risk factors of major illness and heart disorders. Managing stress and following medical treatment for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity can be of great help.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: December 3, 2018 | Last Modified: December 3, 2018

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