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Pain In The Chest of The Left Side: Causes and Treatments

Pain In The Chest of The Left Side: Causes and Treatments

Any pain is cause for discomfort. When the pain occurs in the chest it has the peculiarity of being restrictive, because it is usually accompanied by limitation for the expansion of the chest and limits breathing. When this pain happens on the left side of the chest, it is associated with a state of anxiety before the possibility that the origin of the pain is a condition of cardiovascular origin.

However, the truth is that most of the pains on the left side of the chest have little to do with your heart health. In this article we will explain the different causes of chest pain on the left side and its possible treatments. To do this, we will group these causes according to the organic system affected to facilitate their study and understanding of the information.

Pain in the chest of the left side

Left chest pain due to cardiovascular disease:

Even though they do not represent the majority of cases of chest pain on the left side, due to their impact we will review them first.

Angina pectoris

It is a condition in which an acute coronary spasm occurs, that is, a coronary artery undergoes a momentary spasm and the partial blockage of the passage of blood to the territory it irrigates causes pain.

It is always associated with previous physical effort such as climbing stairs or some type of physical exercise.

Characteristically, it will yield spontaneously and lasts less than 20 minutes. In cases of high intensity of pain, the administration of nitrates causes the symptoms to subside immediately.

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Myocardial infarction:

It is the cause of pain in the left most feared chest, however, fortunately, it is not the most frequent or the most serious.

The territory of a coronary artery stops receiving blood due to obstruction of the same and a characteristic oppressive pain (such as having a very large weight on the chest) that limits inspiration, can extend to the neck, shoulder and arm, and the common is accompanied by a sense of imminent death.


Inflammation of the heart tissue is rare. However, certain bacterial infections in other parts of the body can migrate and lodge at the cardiac level, causing the symptoms. The pain in the center of the chest is oppressive, but the intensity is tolerable.

The risk of death is due to the extent of the infection and the type of bacteria involved.


As in the previous case, some bacteria can migrate through the blood and “stay” in the pericardium, which is the membrane or sac that covers the entire heart.

The resulting secretion will limit the movements of the heart and the resulting pain is a product of this limitation.

Aortic aneurysm:

An aneurysm is formed when a kind of “sac” is formed in the wall of an artery due to weakness of the muscular component of the same, which allows the prolapse of the internal layers.

When this occurs in the aorta artery (the largest and longest in the body), the severity of the symptoms will depend on the extent of vessel damage and its location.

Aortic dissection:

In this case, the wall of the aorta tears completely. It is a very complex picture, which causes pain of very strong intensity described as burning (burning), located more towards the center of the chest and toward the back, and which descends as the wall of the vessel is torn. Generally, it is deadly.

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Chest pain left side due to respiratory causes:


Inflammation of the lung tissue is called pneumonia. Usually, it is caused by infections that are mostly bacterial.

The pneumonias on the left side are rare, but they happen and can cause pain that can simulate a myocardial infarction, which is ruled out when performing the electrocardiogram to the patient.


Similar to the previous case, infection of the pleura (the membrane or sac that covers the lungs) is foreign on the left side. However, they can accompany some infectious or tumorous process of the lung.

Pulmonary collapse:

Pulmonary collapse usually occurs after severe trauma. The collapse of the left lung is also rare but it occurs, moving the structures to the right side and causing, in addition to pain, lack of mobility of that side of the chest and great anxiety due to the severe limitation that causes breathing.

It must be attended immediately because the collapse can cause respiratory failure and death.

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Pain in the left side of the chest due to musculoskeletal causes:

Intercostal neuritis:

Intercostal neuritis is the inflammation of one or several intercostal nerves, which causes a dull and deep pain that can reach its greatest intensity when the edge of the rib is pressed for diagnosis.


This condition may cause, although rarely and occasionally, localized pain on the left side of the chest.

People who suffer from this disease know the type of pain characteristic of it in any of its probable locations.

Costal fracture:

The fracture of a rib will also cause pain in the left side, which will partially limit breathing.

In general, there is a history of direct trauma that makes the condition suspect, easily verifiable with radiological studies.

Chest pain in the left side due to digestive causes:


Inflammation of the esophagus by ingestion of erosive substances or by gastroesophageal reflux disease or other causes will cause pain referred to the region of the back and to the left side of the chest.

Hiatal hernia:

Rarely, the pain of the hiatal hernia can be referred to and located on the left side of the chest.

Characteristically, the pain is acute, of intense intensity and burning.

Chest pain from anxiety:

Evidently, there are conditions that cause the attack and that are identifiable by the person, although they will not be easily suspected by the doctor if they are not referred.

Visit Article: How to Control Anxiety in Pregnancy 

Other causes of chest pain on the left side:

Breast prosthesis plication:

The pinching of the pectoral muscle by a displaced breast prosthesis can cause acute pain. It is characterized by being well locatable by the person.


An extremely rare and serious condition in which the virtual cavity in the middle of the lungs and the heart (the mediastinum) becomes inflamed, causing severe pain.

Treatment of chest pain on the left side:

We have mentioned some of the most common causes of chest pain that could be located on the left side of the chest. However, there are other rare conditions not referred to here.

The treatment must in each case be indicated by the doctor who will perform an adequate and meticulous medical history and request the paraclinical tests that he considers necessary to confirm his presumptive diagnosis.

In all cases, the pain in the left side of the chest is an emergency, because we do not know which patient may have a condition that really compromises their life. Some of them only leave a compass of very short time to act, so before chest pain you should go immediately to an emergency center for your evaluation.

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