Pain in the heart is the most common cause of a person seeking medical help. By origin, these pains are divided into two main groups.
Probably, many people at least once in their life had to experience pain behind the sternum, or to the left of it in the chest, precisely at the location of the heart. Such pains bother a person more than others. Thus, a person instinctively responds to malfunctions in the area of this important organ. For good reason, pain in the area of the heart is the reason for frequent calls for emergency care.
Pain in the heart is diverse. It can be stitching, pressing, compressing, baking, burning, aching, pulling and piercing pains. A person can feel them in a small area or can spread throughout the chest, felt in the arm, neck, lower jaw, stomach under the shoulder blade. They can be short-term or last for hours, sometimes days, can change during breathing, movements of the arms or shoulder girdle, when changing postures. Sometimes their appearance can be triggered by physical or emotional stress, rarely – at rest or during meals.
Acute heart pain can occur for various reasons. It can be caused by heart diseases such as myocardial infarction, rheumatic fever, angina pectoris, inflammation of the membranes of the heart and himself. However, most often the source of pain is not the heart. In particular, with neurosis, diseases of the ribs and spine in the chest area, difficulties with the gastrointestinal tract and other diseases.
Why does heart pain occur?
Aching pain in the heart can be of two types:
anginal, appearing at different stages of ischemic disease;
cardialgia, provoked by inflammation of the heart muscle, congenital pathologies and heart defects, or caused by vegetative-vascular dystonia.
Anginous (ischemic, angina pectoris) pain occurs when it is necessary to increase blood flow. It appears during physical exertion, emotional stress. Consequently, for such pains, its appearance is inherent in attacks during walking, emotional disorders, when the rest is stopped, and they are very quickly removed by nitroglycerin. The nature of ischemic pains is burning, compressive, oppressive; they are felt behind the sternum, can spread to the left shoulder, under the shoulder blade, arm, in the lower jaw. Often such pain is accompanied by shortness of breath. Acute, pressing, compressing, stitching, burning pain behind the chest or to the left of it is a sign of acute myocardial infarction, moreover, this pain is not relieved by nitroglycerin.
Cardialgia. These pains occur with rheumatic heart diseases, mycards and inflammation of the outer heart membrane – the pericardium, as a rule, is pricking or aching in nature, spilled, appear in the left area of the sternum, intensify during breathing, coughing. They cannot be removed with nitroglycerin, but they can subside after taking painkillers.
Typically, stabbing pain in the heart region has no connection with heart disease.
If acute pain in the region of the heart appears during bending and twisting of the body, inhaling or exhaling, while moving with your hands, and the use of nitroglycerin or validol has almost no effect on its intensity, then it is most likely due to chest radiculitis or diseases of the costal cartilage.
Severe pain in the area of the intercostal spaces sometimes indicates shingles, and periodic or short-term pain in the area of the heart is often concentrated in a small area and is aching, stitching or indefinite. Usually patients with a neurosis complain about it.
Stress and depression can be manifested by pain in the cervico-shoulder region. People who encounter these symptoms immediately go to the doctor, thinking that they have heart problems, return home calmly, because this pain is caused only by muscles. Usually shortness of breath, constricting or stitching pain in the heart, can be caused by bloating, which in this state puts pressure on the heart, thus disrupting its function. If the patient associates aching pain in the heart with the use of any particular food or starvation, then the cause may be diseases of the stomach, pancreas. Pain in the heart can also occur due to pinching of the nut of the heart nerve, a weakened thoracic spine or its curvature, osteochondrosis, etc.
Identifying the causes of heart pain and how to take it off?
In order to know exactly the causes of pain in the heart, you need to undergo a medical examination, which is prescribed by a cardiologist together with a heart surgeon.
From the main studies of the work of the heart muscle, the doctor prescribes an electrocardiogram (ECG), stress ECG (bicycle ergometry) – an ECG record during exercise and an ECG holter examination – this is an ECG record that is performed throughout the day.
The study of cardiac noise is carried out using the method of phonocardiography, echocardiography. The latter with the help of ultrasound allows you to examine the heart muscles and valves, to determine at what speed the blood moves in the cavity of the heart. Coronarography is prescribed for the study of coronary arteries. To determine the presence of a deficiency in the blood supply to the heart muscles, myocardial scintigraphy is indicated.
To exclude the “non-cardiac causes” of pain, radiography, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine are sometimes prescribed, as well as consultations by specialists such as a neurologist, orthopedist, gastroenterologist or psychologist.
According to the observations of cardiologists, if a patient vividly and with all the details describes his pain in the heart, often records his pain and voices it to the doctor, then this is most likely not a heartache. If, according to the patient, this pain is different, lasts for a long time, accompanied by a frequent heartbeat that worries more than the pain itself, cardiologists begin to look for the cause of these pains outside the heart.
If the patient sparingly describes the pain, without unnecessary words, while he with all the details and details remembered the nature of the pain, this often indicates a serious heart disease. At the same time, you need to consult a doctor for any complaints of pain in the heart to find out the cause.
Having established the diagnosis, the cardiologist will prescribe a course of treatment. Sometimes it is enough for a patient to undergo a course of manual therapy, which will relieve him of painful sensations in the heart provoked by “non-cardiac causes.” But there are situations when only surgical intervention can help, during which plastic surgery of the vessels is performed or a workaround is made for blood flow.
Everyone should remember that the heart must be protected at any age.