Have you or your loved one ever felt a sharp stabbing pain in chest that comes and goes? If yes, read this blog to understand what may be the possible causes for this health condition.

Causes of chest pain:

Chest pain may arise and subside every few minutes or over several days. The cause may be linked to the heart, the muscles, the digestive system, or psychological factors. Underlying causes of chest pain may be mild, as in the case of acid reflux. Or, they may be serious and indicate, for example, a heart attack. It is important to recognize warning signs and look for accompanying symptoms. Read further to explore the possible reasons of chest pain that comes and goes.

Gastrointestinal problems

A wide variety of gastrointestinal problems can lead to chest pain that comes and goes. For example:

  • Acid reflux can cause a burning sensation in the chest.

  • Gallstones can cause sudden, intense pain that lasts for several hours, disappears, and returns.

  • Ulcers can cause chest pain that comes and goes.

When a person has acid reflux, chest pain tends to be more intense shortly after a meal. Also, it may be worse after consuming alcohol or fatty foods. If a patient suspects that chest pain is related to a stomach or liver issue, it is important to see a doctor. However, this type of pain does not usually signal an emergency.

Muscle pain

Muscle pain caused by tension, an injury, or a chronic pain syndrome often underlies chest pain that comes and goes. Symptoms of muscle pain vary greatly. The pain may be sharp or dull, shooting or throbbing, radiating outward or concentrated in one spot. Chest pain is more likely to be muscle-related if it gets better with massage, gets worse when a person inhales sharply and suddenly or feels similar to muscle pain experienced in the past. Physiotherapy is very helpful for this type of chest pain that comes and goes.

If you are experiencing chest pain that comes and goes, the next step is to get it checked by a physician and then book in for a home physiotherapy assessment to really get to the root of the problem.

HealthCare atHome’s team of expert home physiotherapists will guide you through a series of exercises to help strengthen your chest muscles and even devise a customized treatment plan to suit your medical requirements. To avail expert physiotherapy treatment at home for chest pain that comes and goes, contact us at 1800-102-4224.

Panic attack

Chest pain that comes and goes can be a symptom of panic attack, and it may make a person feel more anxious. The pain can be similar to that of a heart attack. These attacks often go away with deep breathing. In some cases, they may last for only a few minutes. If the pain does not go away, it can be difficult to differentiate a panic attack from a heart attack without the help of a physician.

Respiratory infection

Respiratory infections can cause chest pain that comes and goes, especially when they are also the cause of frequent coughing. Some people develop a condition called pleurisy after a respiratory infection. See a doctor if chest or lung pain lingers after a respiratory infection.


Angina causes chest pain that comes and goes when the heart does not get enough blood. People with angina may feel tension, pressure, or a squeezing sensation in the chest. The pain may also radiate to the jaw. The pain of angina is similar to that of a heart attack, and angina is one of the risk factors for the condition. Angina is usually a symptom of coronary heart disease (CHD), which happens when the arteries become clogged. Anyone who suspects that they have it should see a physician.

Heart attack

Sudden, intense pain in the chest may signal a heart attack or cardiac arrest. These result when faulty electrical impulses or blockages stop blood from reaching the heart.

Warning signs of a heart attack include:

  • Pain in the center of the chest

  • A feeling of crushing pressure on the chest

  • Pain that lasts longer than a few minutes

  • Pain that radiates to the shoulder, neck, arms, back, or jaw

  • Nausea, dizziness, or shortness of breath

Symptoms may differ, based on sex. Women tend to experience nausea and dizziness, shortness of breath, and back or jaw pain more frequently than men, for example, and they may not have the classic symptom of pain in the center of the chest. A heart attack is a medical emergency. If a person suspects that they are having one, or if they experience any new, unexplained chest pain, they should seek emergency healthcare right away. Individuals with cardiovascular risk factors, such as CHD, a history of heart attacks, obesity, or diabetes, are more likely to suffer from heart attacks.

Lung issues

Problems with the lungs, including infections and pneumonia, can lead to chest pain and shortness of breath. Anyone who suspects that they have lung problems should seek medical care within 1–2 days. However, being unable to breathe or experiencing intense, lung-related chest pain is considered a medical emergency.


This means an infection in breast tissue. Mastitis can be intensely painful. A person may experience swelling, shooting or sharp pains in the breasts or chest, and a fever. Mastitis is common during breastfeeding. The infection may clear up on its own, though some people require antibiotics or a hospital stay.

Pulmonary embolism

A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in a blood vessel that leads to the lungs. An embolism occurs when a blood clot has broken loose, often from the legs. If a person has a blood clot in a leg, they may suffer from pain in the area. Pulmonary embolisms can result in severe chest pain and shortness of breath. Its symptoms can lead to life-threatening health emergencies. Seek medical help as soon as you experience any kind of discomfort.



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