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How To Get Rid of Chest Pain at Home

If your provider has ruled out a serious cause, you can treat chest pain at home with antacids, inhalers or anti-inflammatory medications

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Chest pain can be scary — and your initial thought might be, I’m having a heart attack.

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While chest pain can be a sign of a serious health condition, it’s not always dangerous. And sometimes, you can treat chest pain at home.

Knowing when to go to the emergency room for chest pain can be challenging, says interventional cardiologist Laura Young, MD. So, it’s always best to be on the safe side.

“In general, seek medical attention right away if it’s a new pain that started suddenly,” she advises. “If you have any doubt about what’s causing your symptoms, get immediate care.”

Dr. Young explains more about what causes chest pain, when to get help and how to treat it at home.

How do you know if chest pain is serious?

Chest pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the emergency room. Most of the time, the cause isn’t due to a heart attack or other life-threatening condition.

So, when should you worry about chest pain? According to Dr. Young, chest pain might be serious and require emergency care if it:

  • Feels like pressure or tightness (rather than sharp pain).
  • Starts suddenly and doesn’t go away.
  • Occurs with other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fatigue, nausea and sweating.

How to get rid of chest pain at home

If a healthcare provider ruled out a heart attack and you’re still having chest pain, you can try treating it at home. Dr. Young recommends checking in with your primary care provider even if your symptoms are mild. They can determine the cause of chest pain and help guide your care.

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Antacids for gastrointestinal-related pain

Gastrointestinal chest pain is often due to something you ate or drank. It can feel like heartburn or a heart attack. You may experience this chest pain when swallowing or after:

  • Drinking alcohol or carbonated beverages.
  • Eating rich or spicy foods.
  • Lying down after eating.
  • Taking pills.

If your chest pain is associated with food, try an antacid medication, suggests Dr. Young. Tracking what you eat can also help you identify your triggers, so you can eliminate those items from your diet. Eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fermented foods can also improve your gut health naturally.

If you feel the pain is due to food getting stuck in your chest, the cause could be an esophageal motility disorder. Your esophagus opens and closes to move food from your mouth to your stomach. If your esophageal muscles don’t work properly, food may get stuck. It’s important to see a healthcare provider so they can diagnose and treat this condition, says Dr. Young.

Use an inhaler for lung-related chest pain

At-home strategies to address lung-related chest pain are limited. If you have asthma, try your inhaler.

Other lung conditions that cause chest pain should prompt a call to a provider. This is true especially if you’re having other symptoms, like:

  • Coughing or wheezing.
  • Fever.
  • Shortness of breath.

Some people complain of chest pain from vaping. “Vaping can cause lung disease,” says Dr. Young. “Quitting vaping isn’t easy, but it’s the best thing you can do for your health.”

Anti-inflammatory meds for musculoskeletal-related chest pain

You typically feel musculoskeletal chest pain in a specific area. The pain likely gets worse when you press on it or take a deep breath. If this is the case, the best home treatment is rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications.

“In patients with a known history of coronary artery disease, aspirin is a mainstay in our treatment strategy to reduce the risk of a heart attack,” notes Dr. Young. “If you have a known history of heart disease and are having symptoms that you are concerned may be a heart attack, the most crucial step is to call emergency services so they can respond in a timely manner. Taking a full dose of aspirin (325 milligrams) while waiting may help to reduce the risk of heart damage as well.”

Herbs, foods and other supplements

Often, heartburn is due to an imbalance of the acid levels in the stomach lining. Baking soda mixed with warm water or low-fat milk can sometimes help neutralize the acid and resolve symptoms.

How to get rid of anxiety-related chest pain

A panic attack is easy to confuse with a heart attack. Both cause sudden chest symptoms and sweating. The main difference is the type of chest pain you feel:

  • Panic attacks usually cause a sharp pain.
  • Heart attacks are more like heavy pressure on your chest.

Dr. Young says if you’ve never had anxiety or a panic attack before, call a provider or 911. Anxiety is usually psychological, but it can also be caused by a physical condition, including a heart attack.

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When having a heart attack, women tend to present at the ER later than men. This may be because they’re more likely to attribute their chest pain to anxiety or other conditions.

If panic is causing your chest pain, try these strategies to help stop a panic attack:

  • Acknowledge that it’s happening and will pass.
  • Breathe.
  • Distract yourself.
  • Track when symptoms occur to identify triggers.

Getting help for panic attacks is essential to your health and wellness. Therapy, medications and other treatments can not only help get rid of chest pain, but they can also help you get the most out of life.

Bottom line?

In any scenario, emotional stress can play a significant role. So, if at any point you’re concerned about your safety, or you’re experiencing these symptoms for the very first time, treating the situation as if it’s an emergency may be an important part of treating your condition.

“At the end of the day, there are a multitude of possible conditions that can cause chest pain. I, therefore, urge all patients to ensure that they are seeking medical attention as quickly as possible for new symptoms, so we can make a diagnosis and get them on the right treatment path as quickly as possible,” encourages Dr. Young.

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