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    What causes shooting pain in the chest?

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Posted on Thu, 3 Aug 2017 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: I have a shooting pain on the left side of the chest along the strum to the shoulder. it's sporatic and infrequent.
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
may be neuralgia (nerve related pain)

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

Based on the description of the pain (shooting pain, intermittent), it is possible that it may nerve related pain. A heart valve defect or any issue with the heart would not normally cause this type of pain. There would usually be pain on activity (when the heart is working more) that decreases with rest.

Nerve related pain (neuralgia), tends to present in this way.It is due to neuropathy (abnormal function of the nerves), which can be temporary or permanent.

There are different possible causes such as: (1) diabetes

(2)trauma to the nerves. The nerves that supply this area would come from out from the spinal cord to the back of the chest. Any trauma to them at any aspect of their path can cause abnormal function, this can even be in the form of arthritis of the back in this area

(3)liver or kidney disease

(4)infection such as shingles.If you have a history of shingles or previous chicken pox, then this can be a potential cause especially if you see any rash in the chest.

(5)thyroid disease

(6)autoimmune disease such as lupus, RA

(7)side effect of medication

(8)exposure to toxins

(9)low vitamin b12 or folate

(10)abnormal levels of vitamin b6

These are some of the common causes.

If the pain continues or worsens, your doctor may suggest an x ray of the thoracic spine (in the chest area) and blood tests such as diabetes screen, liver and kidney check, complete blood count, ESR (checks for inflammation in the body), vitamin levels, thyroid hormone levels

There are medications that can help with this type of pain such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline, tegretol, gabapentin, lyrica
These medications have different uses, including helping with nerve related pain (neuralgia)

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16811 Questions

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