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Pain in Right Side of Chest

Updated on January 30, 2014

The chest consists of many body organs like heart, lung, ribs etc. Disorders with any of these organs may lead to pain in right side of chest.

Symptoms of pain in right side of chest

Signs and symptoms which accompany pain in right side of chest are:

  • Sharp chest pain
  • Increase in pain while performing physical activities
  • Soreness of the ribs
  • Pain in the back and between the shoulders
  • Sharp pain while sneezing or coughing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Nauseated feeling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Breathlessness
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Changes in the color of stool
  • Burning sensation felt in the ribs

Causes and treatment of pain in right side of chest

Pain in right side of chest can be because of many reasons like trauma to the ribs in right side, pneumonia, etc. Usually it is caused due to inflamed gallbladder or liver. This pain can also radiate to other parts of the body. Some of the causes of pain in right side of chest are:

  • Overexertion: When the muscles of the chest are over exerted then it results in chest pain. This chest pain can become worse when some exercises are done, as the muscles of the chest are tender.
  • Viral infection: Viral infections such as flu, cold may also lead to development of pain in chest. The pain increases if the person suffering from viral infections, coughs or breathes deeply.
  • Pleura inflammation: Inflamed pleura which cover the lungs causes chest pain in right side and it worsens if the person coughs or breathes deeply. The gap amid the pleural membranes is packed with tiny quantity of fluid. The liquid inside these membranes assists these layers to move over each other as the lungs function. Diseases like pneumonia, infection in upper respiratory system causes pleurisy, i.e. inflammation of pleura. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines are usually advised for reducing pain. In case of bacterial infections antibiotics are given and sometimes surgical drainage of the infected liquid is also opted.
  • Digestive tract problem: If a person develops problem in digestive tract it results in pain in chest.
  • Gastritis: If a person suffers from chest pain after having meal or fasting it is due to gastritis.
  • Gallbladder disease: When a person suffers from gallbladder disease it leads to pain in chest. It may be due to intake of food containing fats. Gallstones in gallbladder can also cause pain in right side of chest. To ascertain the real cause, an ultrasound check can be done on the gallbladder.
  • Angina: Angina occurs when the coronary arteries are obstructed because of numerous causes like diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, and high blood pressure. This results in chest pain and worsens during physically activities like exercising, climbing up the stairs, etc. The pain can spread to other areas of body like neck, shoulders, arms or jaw.
  • Liver inflammation: Inflamed liver makes the chest to pop up and cause chest pain. It is due viral infections like hepatitis A and C. Excess use of alcohol is also a generalcause for damaged liver resulting in chest pain. Doctor should be consulted immediately to get it treated.
  • Aortic dissection: Aorta which is the main artery of the body is formed of muscle cell layers. When these layers divide and break up, blood runs outside the circulatory system and into other parts. This condition is known as ‘aortic dissection.’ This results in chest pain.
  • Injury: Occurrence of any injuries or problems with neck also cause pain in chest. Ribs displacement may also result in pain.
  • Side effects of antacid: If a person has a habit of taking antacids then he/she will also suffer from chest pain. This is a side effect of antacid.
  • Hepatitis: Hepatitis causes chest pain in right side and also affects the functioning of the liver.
  • Pancreas dysfunction: Pain in right side of chest is also caused because of pancreas dysfunction. Still it is necessary to confirm the problem through examinations.
  • Psychic stress: Stress at school, work or any personal problem canalso results in pain in chest. Chest pain can result due to these stressful psychological disorders. A person may suffer from pain in right side of chest while experiencing a shock attack. The person will also experience breathlessness, burning sensation and wheezing. Drugs will lessen the pain but deep breathing and relaxation exercises are also useful. However if pain persists it is better to consult a cardiologist quickly to diagnose the problem. Tests will help to determine whether the pain is of cardiac or non-cardiac nature.
  • Food blockage: When any food or liquid obstructs the esophagus it causes congestion and leads to chest pain.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux: Heartburn occurs when the acids from the stomach move back to chest and this leads to pain in chest.
  • Tumor: If tumor forms in and around the lungs it can also result in chest pain.

Muscle pull: Muscle pull or injuries to the rib result in pain in right side of chest. Mostly the injuries cure on its own but if the pain continues then medical help should be taken.


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