While a heart attack may seem the obvious cause of chest pains, there are also a number of other conditions that can bring about tightening of the chest and chest pains. Among these problems may be caused by an individual’s, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, esophagus, muscles, ribs and even nerves.
Chest pain may be experienced from below the neck to the upper part of the abdomen with the pain ranging from aching, stabbing, dull and burning to sharp with a squeezing or crushing sensation. Some of the reasons why people feel chest pain can include the following.
Angina occurs when an individual’s heart does not get sufficient oxygen or blood due to a blockage in one or more of the heart’s arteries. The result is a crushing pain in the chest which may also spread to the neck, shoulders, back and arms.
While angina itself is not a heart attack, it is a red flag that the individual is at risk of a heart attack, cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death. Angina may occur during physical activity, periods of extreme hot or cold temperatures, when stressed, or even after heavy meals.