Almost 30 percent of patients tested for a possible heart attack find that their pain is due to something else. Many cases turn out to be caused by a problem in the esophagus—(the tube that connects your throat and stomach).
The esophagus and heart are in close proximity and even have a similar nerve supply. Without tests, doctors often can’t distinguish between esophagus pain and heart pain.
The most common cause of non-heart-related chest pain is heartburn—or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Heartburn is caused when stomach acid rises into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation.
Even when heart problems are ruled out, finding the true problem can be difficult.
Other causes of chest pain include:
- Psychological stress, anxiety, panic attacks
- Lung conditions that cause inflammation of the lining of your chest cavity (pleurisy), asthma, and pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lung)
- Musculoskeletal pain can include pinched nerves, injured ribs or inflamed rib cartilage, and sore muscles
- Chronic pain from diseases such as fibromyalgia
- Gastric problems with the stomach or gallbladder