Chest pain

Chest pain is quite common. If you or a family member has chest pain, it will probably be caused by something minor. But chest pain can also indicate a serious problem like a heart attack, a blood clot moving to the lungs, or pneumonia. So don’t just put up with chest pain – it’s important to find out the cause.

Causes of chest pain

Chest pain can be caused by a broken rib, problem with your spine (at the back of your chest), muscle cramp, or indigestion (eg, acid reflux). Gallbladder disease and shingles can also cause chest pain.

More serious causes of chest pain include:

  • angina (heart pain from reduced blood supply)
  • a heart attack
  • an inflammation around your heart
  • a blood clot travelling to your lung
  • a tear in an artery in your heart
  • pneumonia (lung infection)
  • lung cancer or other cancers.

See your doctor if:

  • you don't know what is causing your chest pain
  • the pain gets worse
  • you develop other symptoms
  • your pain and other symptoms could be angina.

Call Healthline 0800 611 116 if you are unsure what you should do.

Back to top