Read below about chest numbness, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your chest numbness from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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10 Potential Chest Numbness Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Acute Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)

    Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

    Costochondritis is generally self-limiting but may take several weeks to go away.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, chest pain that is worse when breathing, chest pain, rib pain when moving, pain when pressing on the chest
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  2. 2.Atypical Chest Pain

    Atypical chest pain describes the situation when someone's chest pain is unlikely to be related to heart or lung disease. There are many other possible causes that could explain chest pain, like sore chest wall muscles or psychological factors like stress and anxiety.

    Recovery time depends on the underlying cause.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    chest pain, shortness of breath
    Symptoms that always occur with atypical chest pain:
    chest pain
    Symptoms that never occur with atypical chest pain:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Atrial Fibrillation

    An arrhythmia is a problem with the speed or rhythm of the heartbeat. The atria comprise two out of the four chambers of the heart. When their beat is disturbed, symptoms such as a racing heart, chest pain, breathlessness, and dizziness may occur.

    More than 1/2 of people with short term atrial fibrillation get their normal heart rhythm back in less than 2 days without any treatment.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, racing heart beat, lightheadedness
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  4. 4.Mitral Valve Prolapse

    Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) occurs when the valve between the heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) and the left lower chamber (left ventricle) doesn't close properly because the flaps of the valve are "floppy." Most people who have the condition are born with it.

    Without surgery, this is a lifelong condition.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, anxiety, rib pain, shortness of breath, racing heart beat
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax)

    A collapsed lung happens when air enters the pleural space, the area between the lung and the chest wall. If it is a total collapse, it is called pneumothorax.

    2-3 days

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, rib pain on one side, shortness of breath, rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, chest pain that gets worse when breathing or coughing
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

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  6. 6.Normal Occurence of Chest Pain

    Many people experience chest pain and it's not always indicative of a serious issue.

    1 day

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    chest pain, rib pain
    Symptoms that always occur with normal occurence of chest pain:
    chest pain
    Symptoms that never occur with normal occurence of chest pain:
    being severely ill, shortness of breath, fainting, severe chest pain, crushing chest pain, excessive sweating, nausea or vomiting, fast heart rate in adults, slow heart rate
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  7. 7.Viral Pneumonia

    Viral pneumonia is inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the lungs due to infection with a virus. Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type, which is usually acquired in public areas such as at work, school, or grocery store.

    Symptoms begin to improve within a few days.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway filled with ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually, and as they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult.

    Recovery time varies depending on treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, hand weakness, wrist pain, weakness in one hand, pain in both hands
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Bacterial Pneumonia

    Bacterial pneumonia is the infection of the lungs with bacteria (as opposed to a fungus or a virus).

    1-3 weeks

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, cough, headache, loss of appetite, shortness of breath
    Symptoms that always occur with bacterial pneumonia:
    cough
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  10. 10.Influenza

    Influenza, or Flu, is an infection of the airway caused by the flu virus, which passes through the air and enters the body through the nose or mouth. The symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but the flu is usually more serious.

    Most recover within 1 week but cough and malaise can persist for 2 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, cough, muscle aches
    Symptoms that never occur with influenza:
    headache resulting from a head injury
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Chest Numbness

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.Do you have a cough?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our chest numbness symptom checker to find out more.

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Chest Numbness Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced chest numbness have also experienced:

    • 7% Rib Pain
    • 7% Tight, Heavy, Squeezing Chest Pain
    • 5% Rib Pain on One Side
  • People who have experienced chest numbness had symptoms persist for:

    • 58% Less Than a Day
    • 16% Less Than a Week
    • 13% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced chest numbness were most often matched with:

    • 6% Acute Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)
    • 4% Atypical Chest Pain
    • 3% Atrial Fibrillation
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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