Recent Blog Articles
5 inflammation-fighting food swaps
Is IBD an underrecognized health problem in minority groups?
Sickle cell disease in newborns and children: What families should know and do
COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens: What we do — and don’t — know
Happy trails: Take a hike, now
Sleep well — and reduce your risk of dementia and death
COVID-19 vaccines and the LGBTQ+ community
Polycystic ovary syndrome and the skin
Dental appliances for sleep apnea: Do they work?
Terrified of needles? That can affect your health
New onset chest pain always requires evaluation by your doctor. If the pain is severe, you should seek immediate medical care.
Even if the chest pain is not severe, emergency care is needed if the chest pain is crushing or squeezing or is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms
shortness of breath
discomfort or tingling in the arms, especially the left arm
pain in the back
tightness or pain in the lower jaw
lightheadedness or loss of consciousness.
Are you currently experiencing chest pain with any of the symptoms described above?
Chest pain that is more mild or intermittent can have many possible causes, some of which might be serious.
By answering the following set of questions, you will be guided toward information that applies to you and your chest pain.
First, let's consider how likely the chest pain reflects a serious medical condition, such as coronary artery disease, an enlarging aortic aneurysm, or blood clots in the lung (pulmonary emboli). Coronary artery disease and aneurysm do not usually cause pain that hurts more with breathing. The pain is the same even if you take a deep breath.
An enlarging aneurysm of the aorta will usually cause a constant severe pain in the chest and back, that feels like something ripping. The symptoms of coronary artery disease are highly variable, but chest pain that hurts more with deep breaths is not a typical symptom. When the cause of chest pain is pulmonary emboli, it usually is hard to take a deep breath.
Does it hurt more when you take a deep breath?
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.