Common causes of chest and heart pain include coronary artery disease, a heart attack, myocarditis and pericarditis, according to WebMD. Other less common causes include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, mitral valve prolapse and a coronary artery dissection.
Coronary artery disease is a blockage in the blood vessels of the heart that limits the flow of oxygen and blood to the heart muscle. This is a common sign of heart disease, but it rarely damages the heart in a permanent way. However, it does indicate an increased risk for a heart attack, says WebMD. Pain caused by CAD may spread from the chest to the arms, neck, jaw and back. It is commonly triggered by heavy exercise, excitement or emotional upheaval.
A heart attack is caused by limited blood flow through the blood vessels of the heart, which kills off heart muscle cells. Pain caused by a heart attack is similar to CAD, but more severe, explains WebMD. It is characterized by a crushing pain felt in the center or left side of the chest. While pain from CAD is relieved with rest, pain from a heart attack is not. Additional symptoms include sweating, nausea, difficulty breathing and severe weakness.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that causes fever, fatigue, a fast heartbeat and difficulty breathing. Symptoms of this condition are similar to those of a heart attack, but no blockage occurs with myocarditis, claims WebMD.