What common causes pain in the chest?

Pain in the chest may come from the ribs and the tissues related to the ribs; from organs in the abdomen; from the heart or from other organs in the chest.

The muscle of the heart has to have oxygen, and when this essential is not provided the muscle responds with pain. Angina pectoris is a pain of this type which is usually continuous and which is provoked by walking, or an emotional strain, or any other factor that increases the work of the heart. The pain tends to be relieved when the burden is removed. Interference with the flow of blood carrying oxygen through the coronary arteries into the heart will bring on an attack of pain. The pain of angina pectoris and that of coronary thrombosis are about the same. Usually that of coronary thrombosis is more severe and lasts longer. Occasionally, however, thrombosis may occur with little or less severe pain.

You should like to caution about jumping to conclusions relative to pain in the heart. Some people complain of pain over the heart, or the heart area, who do not have the slightest sign of any real disturbance of the heart. Doctors call this a cardiac neurosis, and credit it to abnormal anxiety about the heart. Such pains are not related to effort or work of the heart. They are usually accentuated by fatigue and emotional stresses.

Other pains in the chest may come from disturbances of the large blood vessels, from the nerves that reach the linings of the chest cavity, and from growths or abscesses behind the breast bone.

Heartburn probably arises from constriction at the bottom of the esophagus or swallowing tube, because material has been regurgitated from the stomach into this tube.