Abdominal Pain and Chest Pain
Abdominal Pain and Chest Pain
Both abdominal pain and chest pain have many potential causes, and most of those cases require medical attention. Both types of pain should be taken seriously, and it’s important to find the root cause of pain so it can be treated. While not every instance of pain is an emergency, it’s important to know when you need to seek immediate medical care.
Potential Causes of Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain may include generalized pain that affects more than half the belly, localized pain in one area, cramping pain, or severe pain that comes in waves. Many conditions can result in abdominal pain. While some conditions may only require a call to your physicians if you have continuing symptoms, other more serious conditions may require emergency attention.
Less serious potential causes of abdominal pain may include:
- Food intolerances
- Food allergies
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Indigestion, GERD, or heartburn
Other potential causes of abdominal pain that have the potential to be serious include:
- Bowel obstruction or blockage
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Kidney stones
- Cancer of the colon, stomach, or other organs
- Gallbladder inflammation
- Stomach flu or food poisoning
- Heart disease (heart attacks don’t always show up with classic chest pain)
Potential Causes of Chest Pain
Chest pain is often attributed to heart problems, but it has many potential causes. All of these cases require medical attention, so chest pain should always be treated as an emergency. Some of the potential causes of chest pain include:
- Aortic dissection – This condition occurs when the inner layers of the aorta separate, which can cause the rupture of the aorta.
- Heart attack – A heart attack occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the heart.
- Angina – This condition often a precursor to a heart attack and has similar symptoms.
- Pericarditis – Sharp pain that often changes with position or breathing characterizes this condition, which is inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart.
- Pancreas or gallbladder problems – Inflammation of the pancreas or gallbladder, as well as gallstones, can result in pain in the abdomen that radiates into the chest as well.
- Injured ribs – Broken or bruised ribs may result in chest pain.
- Costochondritis – While this condition is not considered serious, it involves inflammation and pain of the cartilage in the rib cage, which may cause rib pain.
- Collapsed lung – When air leaks into the area between the ribs and lung, a collapsed lung occurs, generally causing sudden chest pain.
- Pulmonary embolism – This involves a blood clot becoming lodged in a pulmonary artery, resulting in the blockage of blood flow to the lung.
- Pleurisy – When the membrane covering the lungs becomes inflamed, it may result in chest pain that gets worse when coughing or inhaling.
Diagnosing Abdominal and Chest Pain
The causes of abdominal and chest pain vary greatly, and multiple diagnostic tools may be used to diagnose this type of pain depending upon the symptoms presented and the unique medical history of the patient. Diagnostic tools that may be used to determine the exact cause of abdominal or chest pain may include digital x-rays, CT scans, EKG, ultrasounds, and labs.
When to Seek Emergency Treatment
Severe chest pain and abdominal pain should always be treated as a medical emergency. If you experience severe chest or abdominal pain, it’s important to visit an emergency treatment facility as quickly as possible, since many of the potential causes can be quite serious or even life-threatening. Chest pain does not necessarily have to be severe to be dangerous. Pinnacle ER offers the diagnostic tools and services to treat chest and abdominal pain, so visit our ER immediately if you experience this type of pain.