Is Chest Pain Ever Normal?

It’s safe to say that chest pain is never normal, but it’s not always life-threatening either. 

When you think of chest pain, the crushing tightness of a heart attack may come to mind. But there are various causes of chest pain, some as harmless as heartburn after a spicy meal. 

Serious causes of chest pain, though, require medical attention. That’s why you need to know what type of symptoms should ring alarm bells and when to contact a doctor. Chest pain is a sign that something is off. A cardiovascular physician can determine if your symptoms are heart-related.

You can rely on the expertise of cardiology specialist Farhad Aduli, MD and our team at Louisiana Heart and Vascular Institute. We offer a full range of top-quality cardiology and internal medicine care to the communities in and around Covington, Mandeville, and Slidell, Louisiana.

With heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death among adults, you should keep an eye on your heart health. Even if you don’t have symptoms, schedule a heart-health checkup each year to keep your heart healthy and strong.

In this blog, we discuss common causes of chest pain, symptoms that may point to an underlying issue with your heart, and what you can do to keep your heart in tiptop shape. 

Chest pain unrelated to heart health

Pain in your chest can originate from a problem in your lungs or gastrointestinal system. Sometimes chest pain has a psychological cause, as with panic attacks. Here are some of the most common causes of chest pain that are unrelated to your heart:

The chest pain from these conditions usually feels slightly different than that of a heart attack. It may come and go and may not last long. It may be triggered when you move your body a certain way or when seated in certain positions. 

In contrast, classic heart attack symptoms are unrelenting.

Heart-related causes of chest pain

Sometimes chest pain is a warning sign that something is amiss with your heart. Inflammation of tissues surrounding the heart or the heart muscle failing to receive enough blood can cause chest pain.

Let’s look at common heart-related issues that often cause chest pain. 

Coronary artery disease (CAD)

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. It occurs when cholesterol and fatty substances build up in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. 

Doctors use diagnostic tools such as the exercise stress test to check for signs that point to CAD. This test allows us to see how well your heart works under increased demand.


Pericarditis is an inflammation of tissues surrounding your heart. It may cause a sharp, stabbing pain or dull ache in your chest. You may feel the pain on the left side or your neck or shoulder, and it may get worse when you lie down, swallow food, or take a deep breath.


When the heart muscle itself becomes inflamed, it’s called myocarditis. Chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue are common symptoms. Myocarditis can also affect the heart’s electrical system, resulting in an abnormal heart rhythm. 

Heart valve disease

When one or more valves in your heart don’t work properly, you may experience chest pain, abdominal swelling, shortness of breath, dizziness, an irregular heartbeat, and swelling in your ankles and feet.

Angina vs. heart attack

Angina is a type of chest pain that results from reduced blood flow to the heart. It’s often triggered when there’s an increased demand for oxygenated blood, such as during exertion. 

You may feel symptoms climbing stairs or performing other types of physical activity. Symptoms are usually relieved with rest.

If you have chest pain or other symptoms like shortness of breath, we can help you get answers. Dr. Aduli employs the latest advancements in cardiology to diagnose and treat conditions that affect your heart. 

For a heart-health consultation and for all of your cardiovascular needs, reach out to our office and schedule a visit with Dr. Aduli. We’re standing by to help you maintain heart health. Current and prospective patients can also book an appointment online.

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