Not all pain in and around your chest is an indication that you are heading for a heart attack. Although it is always best to seek medical help when you experience ANY type of chest pain, it is good to be aware of the fact that there are many other kinds of chest pains.
Heart related pain
1. Aortic dissection – this sounds like a horrible stabbing pain that explodes from within suddenly. It spreads fast toward the mid section of your back – just between the shoulder blades.
2. Pericarditis – this pain occurs due to inflammation of the membrane that covers the heart – the pericardium. This is very different from angina pain – it is very pronounced and sharp. It gets worse with every breath you take in and it becomes unbearable when you lie down. You will find slight relief only when you bend forward.
3. Myocarditis – this pain is very similar to pericaridatis; it is caused by inflammation of the heart muscles.
Lungs related pain
4. Pneumonia – this is a disease that causes acute chest pain. However, this would be associated with fever, cough, breathlessness, and accumulation of phlegm.
5. Pleuritis – this is an inflammation of the pleura or the membrane that covers the lungs. Like pericarditis, this pain too is accentuated by breathing in.
6. Pneumothorax – this is when your lung collapses due to accumulation of air around it. The pain is sharp, sudden and gets aggravated by taking-in breaths. The pain is associated by a feeling of suffocation, as the lung is unable to expand and take in air.
7. Pulmonary hypertension – in simple words, this is high blood pressure in the blood vessels that irrigate the lungs. You would feel a huge pressure in the chest region that gets aggravated by physical exertion and deep breaths.
Gastro-esophageal related pain
8. Reflux pain – this is one of the most common of pains associated with indigestion and acidity. The pain, accompanied by a burning sensation, usually starts under the breastbone and is associated with acid regurgitation. This pain is fast relieved by antacids.
9. Spasm of the esophagus – this is a rare condition; the reason why it happens is not clear yet. There would be a sudden spasm of the esophageal muscle, which generates swift stabbing pain just under the breastbone. This pain is aggravated by swallowing and relieved by ingestion of nitroglycerine.
10. Tearing in the esophagus – this usually happens after heavy bouts of vomiting and it is a common occurrence with alcoholics. It is aggravated by swallowing. Boerhaave's syndrome is a more acute manifestation of rupture of the esophagus the pain of which is very severe.
Other Types Of Pains
11. Muscle spasms – this pain is caused by back or chest muscle spasms or sprains that normally follow some severe physical strain. The pain is usually localized and sensitive to touch.
12. Anxiety and stress – sudden anxiety and stress can cause constriction of the chest, which is very similar to angina. You would also feel dizzy and breathless in this situation.
There are many more types of chest pains that were not described here. As mentioned before, you need not wait to self-diagnose what type of pain you may be experiencing. The best solution (and the safest) is to go to your nearest medical facility for an immediate check up.