What Are Some Causes of Tightness in the Chest?


Quick Answer

Chest tightness is often a sign of a heart attack, pulmonary embolism or cardiovascular disease. However, it sometimes results from less serious conditions, including indigestion, an anxiety attack, drinking too much caffeine or hyperventilation, states Healthgrades.

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Chest tightness is sometimes a sign of a serious respiratory condition, such as pleurisy, bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Healthgrades explains. In children, chest tightness is more likely due to asthma or costochondritis, an inflammation of the joints of the rib cage.

Aching, stabbing or burning pain in the chest also sometimes accompanies postherpetic neuralgia, a complication of the viral infection known as shingles. The pain of postherpetic neuralgia is often so severe that people mistake it for a heart attack or appendicitis. It typically lasts for 30 days or more.

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