Should You Worry About Your Child’s Chest Pain?
A sudden, sharp pain in your child’s chest may be scary, but it’s rarely anything serious. Learn when to worry — or when it’s just Texidor’s twinge.
Kids can get chest pain too — even sudden, sharp pain that takes their breath away.
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While it may be scary, brief episodes are rarely anything serious, says pediatric cardiologist Kenneth Zahka, MD.
Texidor’s twinge (also called precordial catch syndrome) is a common cause of childhood chest pain. Fortunately, the most harm it does is cause worry.
In children and teens, chest pain usually isn’t caused by the heart or lungs. It’s typically due to:
These conditions go away in a few days. The best treatment is taking pain relievers and staying away from activities that aggravate the pain.
But then there’s Texidor’s twinge, a completely different type of chest pain. (It’s named for one of the physicians that first identified it in 1955.) Dr. Zahka describes it as:
The pain can be stunning. But it typically leaves as quickly as it comes — with no explanation.
What causes Texidor’s twinge isn’t known for sure. It’s most likely nothing to do with the heart. Some doctors think it’s a muscle cramp or caused by a compressed nerve.
According to Dr. Zahka, serious chest pain feels different than Texidor’s twinge. Usually, serious pain is:
During a heart attack, pain typically radiates out from the chest.
“Of course, heart problems are the first thing many parents think of,” says Dr. Zahka. “But chest pain in children is most often not due to a serious condition.”
Like other common childhood chest pain, there’s no treatment for Texidor’s twinge. It goes away quickly, on its own. If the pain recurs, try anti-inflammatory medicine, like ibuprofen.
“Texidor’s twinge isn’t dangerous or life-threatening and usually resolves by adulthood,” says Dr. Zahka.