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What does sharp pains in the chest area and stomach discomfort suggest?

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Posted on Mon, 18 May 2015
Question: I am 62 yrs old and for the past 24 - 36 hrs, have had on and off sharp pains in the left chest area, especially while in a sitting position. At times the sharp pain is also in upper left back area, but only lasts a few seconds with some minor stomach discomfort.
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Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta (48 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Strained muscle is the most probable reason.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thanks for your query.

Left side chest pain is what we are always afraid of as heart issues can give such symptom.

However if the pain has appeared suddenly with shortness of breath and someradiation to the arm, pneumothorax is possible. This condition can appear with no reason. Sometimes sudden cough or sudden lift of heavy object can cause it. It is more possible if you smoke or have chronic lungs disease like asthma or bronchitis.

If nothing like that is present, strained muscle is the most probable reason. Strained muscle usually appears only when the chest is moving, and should be completely gone when lying down and not breathing.
If the pain is sharp and well localized, more intense when breathing, rib nerve issue is the most probable reason.
In both cases, rest and anti-inflammatory medicines like Diclophenac should help.
If the pneumothorax sounds possible, you should have chest x-ray done as soon as possible

I do hope that you have found something helpful and I will be glad to answer any further query.
Take care

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Saurabh Gupta

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 5930 Questions

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What does sharp pains in the chest area and stomach discomfort suggest?

Brief Answer: Strained muscle is the most probable reason. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thanks for your query. Left side chest pain is what we are always afraid of as heart issues can give such symptom. However if the pain has appeared suddenly with shortness of breath and someradiation to the arm, pneumothorax is possible. This condition can appear with no reason. Sometimes sudden cough or sudden lift of heavy object can cause it. It is more possible if you smoke or have chronic lungs disease like asthma or bronchitis. If nothing like that is present, strained muscle is the most probable reason. Strained muscle usually appears only when the chest is moving, and should be completely gone when lying down and not breathing. If the pain is sharp and well localized, more intense when breathing, rib nerve issue is the most probable reason. In both cases, rest and anti-inflammatory medicines like Diclophenac should help. If the pneumothorax sounds possible, you should have chest x-ray done as soon as possible I do hope that you have found something helpful and I will be glad to answer any further query. Take care