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15 Possible Causes of Chest Pains When Breathing You May Not Know About

Painful breathing is an unpleasant sensation in daily life. For the most part, it is troublesome. It can be a life-threatening medical condition that demands prompt treatment. But sometimes, it is benign, ranging from mild discomfort to severe ache. Plus, the pain can resolve on its own.

Still, why do my chest pains when breathing?

Certain factors like the body position or the air quality interrupt respiration. Thus, you feel pain. There are different alarming signs of chest pain. But as long as the pain is there, it should remain heart-related until proven otherwise.

Thus, seek urgent medical therapy for any unexplained chest pain when breathing. Otherwise, you should read this article for some handy tips and remedies!

Table of Content

Should I Worry If My Chest Hurts When I Breathe?

What causes chest pains when breathing? In many situations, painful breathing arises from the heart. And sometimes, the cause may not be clear, and you’ll need to consult a physician for a brief examination. 


Chest pain when breathing deep may be due to problems in other organs. Thus, it is not surprising! Conditions that cause painful breathing can range in severity. Here are some of the common causes of chest pain when breathing:

Respiratory Problems

Lung disorders can result in chest pain that comes and goes. But these conditions are due to long-term breathing difficulties. Often, it can be painful to take a deep breath, depending on the cause. And, shallow breathing may provoke a cough.

Some of the possible causes include:

Cardiovascular Problems

Heart disease is the top cause of painful breathing. Various heart problems can contribute to left side chest pain when breathing. For instance:

Gastrointestinal Problems

Acid reflux disease is one of the causes of chest pains when breathing and swallowing. Did you know that GERD is also linked to many respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD? It occurs when the stomach’s acidic contents push back up into the esophagus.  

Another cause of chest pain in older age is hiatal hernia. It arises when the top of the stomach folds into the lower chest post-meals. Then, it causes reflux symptoms that worsen the chest pain when lying down.


Sometimes chest pain may be a vague symptom. It can be due to overuse or an injury to the chest area from an injury. Other reasons for chest and back pains when breathing includes:

  • Rib injury
  • Muscle strain
  • Shingles
  • Panic attack

Chest Pain in Pregnancy

Did you know that 60% of healthy women experience right-side chest pain when breathing? Chest pain can be a harmless manifestation in pregnancy. The underlying reason is often heartburn or pressure from the growing uterus.

Yet, it can be more than that. Some of these clues can reflect severe signs of cardiac illnesses. So, pregnant women need regular follow-ups and prompt medical intervention.



During pregnancy, the esophageal muscle relaxes due to excessive progesterone. Thus, it increases the risk of acid reflux. 

Later, you can have heartburn, a burning feeling in the throat or mouth when you lie down after a meal. Sometimes, heartburn mimics chest pain when breathing in during pregnancy.

Growing Fetus

As the fetus and uterus grow, it raises the pressure on surrounding organs like the lungs and stomach. This force can cause distress during the late trimesters. With that, chest pains when breathing cold air become significant.


Sharp chest pains when breathing deep are the red flag symptoms of preeclampsia. This can sometimes be deadly for the mother and fetus. 

Often, a persistent headache and hypertension are signs of urgent admission. Still, pre-eclampsia generally goes away once the baby is out. So, routine health assessments help doctors face these crises.

Does Chest Pains When Breathing Mean Covid?

Random chest pains when breathing can be Covid. Why is that so? Let’s find out! 

While Covid symptoms may recover with time, some people may suffer long-term effects. Medical researchers specified two main groups of post covid symptoms. The first includes mild respiratory symptoms like tiredness and headaches. Meanwhile, the other affects many parts of the body.

Chest muscle pains when breathing belongs to the latter group. It is one of the most common symptoms faced during the recovery stage of COVID infection. Episodes of tight chest pains when breathing can be distressing but not life-threatening.

Still, other kinds of chest pain may arise the first time after a COVID infection. Thus, be alert and attentive. It is vital to seek medical guidance about new onsets of chest pain. Whether it could lead to a dangerous heart or lung condition or not, you should speak to your physician.

How to Diagnose Chest Pain When Breathing?

Chest pain does not always depict a heart attack. So calm yourself! But health care providers in emergency departments usually test to exclude fatal conditions. So, doctors will execute a thorough examination to identify the cause of your chest pain.

Sequence to diagnose chest pains when breathing includes:

  • a complete history of presenting illness
  • medical and medication history
  • family history of cancer, lung and heart disease
  • allergic history
  • last meal taken
  • previous history of a similar event

You might need extra tests to determine the causes of chest pains when breathing. The investigations may include:

  • chest X-ray to visualize the heart, lungs, and blood vessels
  • CT scan or angiogram to identify the blocked vessels
  • blood and urine tests to review the cholesterol and enzyme levels
  • electrocardiogram to check the heart’s electrical activity
  • stress test to estimate heart function
  • pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen saturation
  • echocardiogram to determine the valve and heart abnormalities
  • pulmonary function test to study the lung volume, capacity, and gas exchange.

Later, you might have to meet the specialist if there is difficulty in determining the cause of your pain. With that, doctors will compose the best treatment strategy for you!

How to Stop Chest Pains When Breathing?

Treatment for chest pains when breathing and moving depends on the underlying disorder. Yet, simple home treatment may free chest pain and other symptoms.

People who encounter pain when breathing may want to try:

  • Pain medications: Ibuprofen and aspirin can treat conditions such as rib pain and angina.
  • Switching positions: Sitting upright can often ease painful chests due to pericarditis and acid reflux.
  • Breathing techniques: Relaxing with proper breathing methods may help relieve pain and panic symptoms.

Top 10 Food Remedies for Chest Pain

Again, you can attempt home remedies to soothe sharp chest pains when breathing. But always consult a doctor to exclude something more serious. Otherwise, people with tight pain in middle of chest must not rely on these suggestions. 


After much research, we have discovered various food remedies for chest pain prevention. They are:


Question: How do I know if my chest pain is serious?

When you experience chest tightness or breathing difficulties, call the ambulance straight away! Otherwise, senile patients with low blood pressure and heart rate must be on the list, too!

Question: Why does my chest hurt when I take a deep breath Covid?

Chest pain is not the usual manifestation of covid. Yet, a small number of people can share typical chest pains. They can appear at any time during this period. But most of the time, people with long covid or post-covid syndrome face this issue.

Question: What type of chest pain is Covid?

Covid may result in various types of chest pain. It includes musculoskeletal, pleuritic, or angina-type chest pain. Meanwhile, all these are due to the virus involving the muscles and lungs. But whatever it is, please do not overlook chest pain relieved by rest. This could be silent angina.


Chest pains when breathing can be due to acute illnesses or a symptom of a chronic condition. The good news is that early treatment can result in a high success rate for disease prevention. Still, never think chest pain is nothing to fear about.

Long-term management of painful respiration relies on your diagnosis. But regardless of what it is, if your symptoms are severe, call the ambulance as soon as possible.

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