Chest pain alternative therapy relief with natural supplements, herbs, vitamins, diet and food by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 20 2014

Chest pain is a diagnostic challenge in outpatient family medicine since there are so many conditions, both benign and serious, that can cause chest pain. Sometimes it is difficult for a doctor to know how aggressively to pursue symptoms of chest pain in a patient.

There are a number of natural dietary supplements that can reduce the risk for heart disease and thus chest pain.

Cause of chest pains or tightness
Noncardiac causes for chest pain or tightness in chest are common, for instance chest wall pain from a pulled rib muscle, but it is important not to overlook serious conditions such as an acute coronary syndrome, pulmonary embolism, or pneumonia.

Chest pain diagnosis
In addition to a thorough history and physical examination, most patients should have a chest radiograph - a chest xray - and an electrocardiogram - EKG. Patients with chest pain that is predictably exertional, with electrocardiogram abnormalities, or with cardiac risk factors should be evaluated further with measurement of troponin levels and cardiac stress testing. Risk of pulmonary embolism can be determined with a simple prediction rule, and a D-dimer assay can help determine whether further evaluation with helical computed tomography or venous ultrasound is needed. Fever and dullness to percussion suggest pneumonia, which can be confirmed with chest radiograph. Although some patients with chest pain have heart failure, this is unlikely in the absence of shortness of breath; a brain natriuretic peptide level measurement can clarify the diagnosis. Chest pain reproducible by palpation is more likely to be musculoskeletal than ischemic, for instance chest muscle pull from a chest exercise such as pushups or barbells. Chest pain also may be associated with panic disorder.

Chest congestion or chest cold symptoms
A chest cold can lead to chest congestion with symptoms of cough, mucus, and sometimes chest pain, perhaps from frequent coughing.

Right side chest pain
Pain in the right side of the chest is infrequently due to heart disease. However, there are a few possibilities which might warrant follow up. First, pain from a gall bladder can be felt on the right side of the chest. Second, liver inflammation can sometimes give pain to the lower right side of the chest. Thirdly, lung tumors/masses will occasionally present with chest pain (most often cancer is painless). Lastly, and most likely, right sided chest pain is a pull in the muscles or ligaments of ribs.

Chest and back pain
Chest or back pain that occurs as soon as a person swallows food or liquid may resemble the chest pain of heart disease; both are often perceived as a burning sensation or a chest tightness under the breastbone (sternum). Alternatively, the chest pain associated with esophageal disorders may be perceived as severe squeezing that occurs along with difficulty swallowing hot or cold beverages. This type of chest pain may result from esophageal muscle disorders, damage to the inner lining (mucosa) of the esophagus, infections (bacterial, viral, or fungal) of the throat, or tumors.

Left side chest pain
Typical heart attack pain occurs in the mid to left side of the chest and may also extend to the left shoulder, the left arm, the jaw, the stomach, or the back. Additional heart attack symptoms are shortness of breath, increased sweating, nausea, and vomiting. Angina chest pain is similar to heart attack pain but occurs with physical exertion or exercise and is relieved by rest or nitroglycerin. See the link for suggestions on how to treat angina with natural supplements.

Chest Pain in Men and Women - Is there a difference?
Women have a similarly high incidence of stable angina -- chest pain due to inadequate blood flow to the heart -- as men. Chest pain in women appears to be more serious than many doctors, or indeed the general public, realize. Chest pain in women is associated with an increased risk of dying from heart disease. Yet despite this, women are less likely than men to be tested for chest pain. Women with chest pain where another cause has not been found, may need to be tested with a treadmill test or an angiogram.