Table of Contents Hide
- Common Causes of Chest Pain on the Right Side
- When should you see a doctor?
- FAQs –
- Conclusion –
We all have heard that chest pain on the left side is a definite sign of a cardiac-related symptom, but what happens if the right side of your chest begins to ache? Several factors come into play, the most common being respiratory dysfunction. Just like the lungs are present just behind the chest, our liver is also situated slightly below the lungs, on the right, which may contribute to chest pain on the right side.
Pain on the right side of your chest may not be as severe as the pain you experience on the left. Various conditions, including muscle strain, lung, gastrointestinal, and heart problems, can cause chest pain on the right. However, suppose you frequently observe agonizing chest pain on the right that gives rise to breathlessness and severe discomfort. In that case, you should contact your doctor immediately to detect any severe underlying disorder. Below are a few reasons you might observe chest pain on the right-hand side.
Common Causes of Chest Pain on the Right Side
1. Muscle strain –
A muscle spasm is the wear and tear of a particular muscle that is typically due to trauma or injury to the muscle. A student may complain of chest pain right after writing a 3-hour examination paper, while a painter might complain right after painting a 3-bedroom house in a single day.
2. Panic attack –
Stress, anxiety, and fear can often result in a panic attack. A panic attack is commonly seen, to begin with, as a shocked phase accompanied by short, quick breaths, palpitations, and sweating. Patients with panic attack issues may experience chest pain on the right side. In extreme cases, the person may experience a dry throat and even find it difficult to breathe.
3. Indigestion/GERD –
Undigested foods often lead to a condition known as Heartburn. This occurs when the undigested food, mixed with the acidic stomach secretions, moves up the esophagus. The acid in the secretions burns the esophagus, which appears to us as chest pain. This mainly occurs when you run after eating or do not get enough rest after eating a meal.
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4. Asthma –
Asthmatic patients must be prepared for scenarios of breathlessness and chest pain occurring at any point in the day. It can also occur due to a trigger from an allergen. Using an inhaler that dilates the bronchioles can help relieve the chest pain.
5. Injury –
A blow to your chest, a fall, or accidentally dropping a heavy object (such as a ball while playing) on your chest can damage the muscles on your chest and cause chest pain. If breathing is difficult after such an incident, go to the ER immediately.
6. Costochondritis –
Costochondritis is the inflammation of the cartilage connecting the ribs and the breastbone. It is known to be caused by an excessive cough lasting more than a month. This condition is not life-threatening and typically goes away with rest and drinking warm fluids.
7. Fracture in the rib cage –
A fracture in one or more ribs of your rib cage can occur due to an accident or a fall. The broken ribs may further cut the organs, such as the lungs or the liver surrounding the rib cage. Such a brutal accident will cause unbearable pain in the chest.
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8. COVID-19 infection –
As of 2020, COVID-19 infection has presented itself with cough, fever, shortness of breath, and chest pain. For persons with weak immunity, COVID-19 infection may also cause pneumonia, which is a reason for chest pain.
9. Gallbladder inflammation –
The gallbladder is an organ on the right side of the abdominal cavity. Any inflammation of the organ’s tissues will immediately result in pain on the right side of the chest. Commonly, the pain will occur in the abdominal region; however, in extreme cases, the pain radiates to the chest.
10. Liver inflammation –
The liver is the organ that sits on the right side, just below the rib cage. Inflammation in the tissues surrounding the liver can cause friction between the liver and the neighboring organs, often resulting in chest pain. Inflammation in the liver occurs due to a viral or bacterial infection that is spread via blood or contaminated food or water.
11. Pulmonary disorders-
Several pulmonary conditions could be a factor that leads to chest pain on your right-hand side. These conditions include:
- Pleurisy– is the inflammation of the membranes that line the outer surface of the lungs. This inflammation causes friction between the two surfaces of the tissues involved. Breathing and talking may be a task during this condition.
- Pneumothorax- This is a phenomenon in which the air from the lungs escapes and gets trapped between the chest wall and the lungs. It is a life-threatening condition that can even cause the collapse of the lungs.
- Pleural effusions– the fluid buildup in the pleural cavity. The pleural cavity is the area between the tissues surrounding the lungs (called pleura) and the lungs. Fluid in this region can cause severe pain in the chest and is seen to be accompanied by conditions such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.
- Pneumonia– is the building of fluid in the lungs which results in the formation of an infection in the lungs. The infection can either be due to a virus, bacteria, or a fungal microorganism. Pneumonia is commonly associated with chest pain, cough, fever, and tremors.
- Pulmonary hypertension- is high blood pressure in the blood vessels that connect the heart to the lungs. The high pressure in these vessels means the heart is trying too hard to pump blood to the lungs. This strain on the heart may even lead to cardiac arrest.
- Pulmonary Embolism– the phenomenon of a blood clot lodged in the lungs. The condition is life-threatening and is often accompanied by cough and breathlessness.
- Lung Cancer– cancerous tumor growth in the lungs can cause pain in the chest. Cancer that either begins in the lungs or a tumor transported to the lungs from other parts of the body can cause pain in the chest. If your chest pain is often accompanied by cough, shortness of breath, or inability to take long, deep breaths, you should check your chest for any signs of a tumor.
When should you see a doctor?
Chest pain on the right side may occur due to a minor muscle pull or a traumatic injury. Pain due to a muscle spasm is usually dispersed in a few minutes and does not cause severe discomfort. However, there are certain instances when chest pain on the right can be an alarming sign of an underlying situation. Seek immediate medical attention if you observe the following signs:
- Chest pain on the right that is recurring and causes stinging pain.
- Pain that lasts for more than 20 minutes.
- Pain in the chest that is followed by breathlessness and dizziness.
- If you are a young or elderly patient with a lung or respiratory disorder, noticing these signs may be a sign that your underlying condition may have worsened.
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Why does my chest pain on the right when I breathe?
If you're an asthmatic patient, there is a good chance that your restricted airways are the reason for the pain in your chest. If you're not an asthmatic patient, several factors may be responsible for your chest pain. This includes the possibility of being stressed, straining your chest muscles, or possibly having a pulmonary disorder.
Can indigestion cause chest pain on the right side?
Indigestion can be responsible for causing pain on the right side of your chest. Indigestion is also closely related to acid reflux which regurgitates the undigested food back up from the esophagus. The acidity and gasses involved during indigestion can cause chest pain in the right.
Chest pain on the right part depends on several factors that can range from minor (a muscle spasm) to major (rib cage fracture). Pain due to a minor source does not last long and easily subsides with the help of OTC medications and bed rest. However, if your pain is consistent, recurring, and feels like needles piercing your chest, you should immediately consider getting tested. This is especially important for elderly patients who are asthmatic patients or have lung disorders. Pay attention to your body’s signs to take better care of yourselves.