Before I begin, let me make sure you know that you should consult your doctor for * any * chest pain, to rule out a serious health problem. However, there are other things that can cause pain in that region. Some are minor and some may be as life threatening as heart disease.
Heartburn : Acid creeping into your esophagus can cause pain in the chest that is somewhat similar to that of angina. It may seem like a minor nuisance, but it can cause serious problems. Untreated, it can lead to cancer of the esophagus.
Once you've been diagnosed, you may find some herbal preparations useful. To coat the esophagus and stomach, licorice and marshmallow root may help. Peppermint oil could also be useful.
Costochondritis : Inflammation of the rib cage, particularly the ribs and cartilage can cause rib cage pain. If you are diagnosed with this disorder, ask if willow bark and / or getu kola can help reduce the pain and inflammation.
Pleurisy : This is an acute situation that can threaten your life. It is a swilling of the lining around your lungs. It can cause a high fever and difficulty breathing. It is best treated by a doctor, and may require antibiotics.
Arthritis : Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can effect your chest. While bone density is a major problem in this area, obesity can also be an issue. Watching your diet is important to prevent and also to deal with osteoarthritis of the rib cage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder, so it is difficult to prevent an attack on the rib cage.
It is possible to use willow bark and gotu kola for some types of arthritis in your rib cage, but you should clear it with your doctor. RA may be made worse by some herbs. If you're allergic to aspirin, do not use willow.