How To Relieve Pressure on Chest and What are Its Causes?

Pressure on Chest

Pressure on the chest is a feeling of crushing, tightening or squeezing which is at times accompanied by pain. It can also be characterized by band tightening or heavy object sitting in the chest area.

The sensation of pressure can be due to a condition coming from any section in the chest cavity like the ribcage, lungs, heart, chest muscles, esophagus, tendons or nerves.

This feeling can even radiate between the chest, at the back, abdomen, neck or shoulders.

Pressure on Chest Makes it Hard to Breathe

Feeling of pressure on the chest region can also come with difficulty of breathing. This happens when the back muscles are tightened which affects the other muscles surrounding the ribs. Consequently, these muscles become unable to expand which makes it difficult to breathe.

Aside from this, it could also be an urgent condition which needs to be attended at once, especially if this is accompanied by difficulty of swallowing, rapid and pounding cardiac rate, loss of consciousness, pain or sudden swelling in the face.

What Causes Pressure on Chest

The following are the common causes of pressure on the chest:

  • Feeling of chest compression can be associated with heart problems like

    • Heart attack or myocardial infarction

    • Irregular beating of the heart or arrhythmia

    • Angina arising from pain and pressure on the chest because of inadequate blood circulation in the heart

  • There are also several conditions that cause pressure on chest that can be related to digestive process, stress, allergic reaction, pulmonary problems, or inflammatory conditions. Specifically, these are

    • Pleurisy or inflammation of the sac-like structure surrounding the lungs

    • Heart burn

    • Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD)

    • Inflammation of the chest wall muscles

    • Panic attack and anxiety

    • Allergic reaction or anaphylaxis

How to Relieve Pressure on Chest

Chest pressure can be relieved by identifying first the root cause. A person can apply simple remedies to seek relief from such discomfort or take in medication as prescribed.

  • If the cause of chest pressure is heart burn, antacid that can be purchased over the counter can help.

  • If GERD is the problem, proton-pump inhibitors or H2 receptor blocker are the usual medications prescribed to manage symptoms.

  • To relieve symptoms of pressure on chest, a person has to maintain a healthy weight.

  • It also helps to quit smoking and limit alcohol intake.

  • Avoiding foods that triggers heart burn such as citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, onion, and tomato products minimizes symptoms of chest pressure and tightening.

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