Moderate Chest Pain Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand moderate chest pain symptoms, including 10 causes & common questions.

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  1. 10 Possible Moderate Chest Pain Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

10 Possible Moderate Chest Pain Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced moderate chest pain. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Acid reflux disease (gerd)

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) in infants refers to the passage of stomach contents into the throat causing troublesome symptoms, such as feeding intolerance, inadequate oral intake of calories and/or poor weight gain. Vomiting or visible regurgitation ...

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Acute costochondritis (chest wall syndrome)

Acute costochondritis is the inflammation of the flexible cartilage that connects each rib to the breastbone. Costochondritis is caused by excessive coughing or by straining the upper body, as with weightlifti...

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Chest pain from reduced cardiac blood flow (angina pectoris)

Angina pectoris is chest pain that is felt when heart muscle needs more blood than it is currently getting. This may result from coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: chest pain, chest pain, tight, heavy, squeezing chest pain, moderate chest pain, deep chest pain, behind the breast bone

Symptoms that always occur with chest pain from reduced cardiac blood flow (angina pectoris): chest pain

Symptoms that never occur with chest pain from reduced cardiac blood flow (angina pectoris): productive cough

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Condition causing abnormal, high-pitched breathing

High-pitched inhaling is called stridor, and requires urgent referral to the ER to see why it's happening

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: high-pitched breathing, severe pelvis pain, arm weakness, loss of vision, chest pain

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)

A pneumothorax occurs when air or gas leaks into the space (called the pleural space), separating the lung from the chest wall. It puts pressure on the lung, causing the lung to collapse.

Symptoms include sudden, sharp chest pain that worsens with de...

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Moderate Chest Pain Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your moderate chest pain

Pulmonary embolism

An embolus is a blood clot that forms in the bloodstream, breaks loose, and is carried by the blood to become lodged elsewhere in the circulatory system. If this clot (embolus) blocks part of the bloodstream in the lungs (pulmonary system,) this condition is called pulmonary embolis...

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Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, also called the myocardium.

It is a rare complication of any viral, bacterial, parasitic, or fungal infection. Reaction to drugs, medications, chemicals, or even radiation can bring about myocarditis.

Anyone with a weakened immune system or pre-existing heart condition is susceptible.

Symptoms include fatigue, chest pain, and shortness of breath, especially following a viral upper respiratory illness. Swelling of the feet and legs from poor circulation may be seen.

If symptoms are severe, take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1. Myocarditis weakens the heart so that it cannot pump blood as it should. Blood clots, stroke, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia,) and sudden cardiac death can result without treatment.

Diagnosis is made by electrocardiogram (ECG,) chest x-ray, MRI, echocardiogram, and blood tests.

Short-term treatment is with rest and medication, depending on what kind of illness brought about the myocarditis. Sometimes, devices to support the heartbeat may be surgically implanted.

Long-term treatment may involve medicines such as ACE inhibitors, ARBs, beta blockers, and diuretics.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, muscle aches, chest pain

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Heart attack

Most heart attacks happen when a clot in the coronary artery blocks the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. Often this leads to an irregular heartbeat - called an arrhythmia - that causes a severe decrease in the pumping function of the heart.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, tight, heavy, squeezing chest pain, being severely ill, nausea

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Stomach ulcer

A peptic ulcer is a sore in the lining of the stomach or the first part of your small intestine (the duodenum), which causes pain following meals or on an empty stomach.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, moderate abdominal pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)

Symptoms that never occur with stomach ulcer: pain in the lower left abdomen

Urgency: Primary care doctor


Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the protective membranes which surround the lungs and line the inner chest cavity.

The inflammation is most often caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection, such as influenza or pneumonia; by some medications; or by a rib fracture.

Symptoms include sharp, "pleuritic" pain in the chest, back or shoulders that gets worse with deep breathing, sneezing, or coughing; shortness of breath due to shallow breathing in an effort to ease the pain; and sometimes fever and/or cough.

Sudden, intense chest pain during breathing is a medical emergency. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through patient history; physical examination; and imaging such as x-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound. In some cases, a needle is used to withdraw fluid from the pleura for testing.

Treatment involves addressing the underlying cause, such as prescribing antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used, along with supportive care in the form of rest, fluids, and good diet.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: shortness of breath, muscle aches, fever, cough with dry or watery sputum, rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Real-life Stories

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Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Moderate Chest Pain

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Do you notice your heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly (also called palpitations)?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Where is your chest pain exactly?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Moderate Chest Pain Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your moderate chest pain

Moderate Chest Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced moderate chest pain have also experienced:

  • 6% Chest Pain
  • 5% Shortness Of Breath
  • 5% Rib Pain On One Side

People who have experienced moderate chest pain were most often matched with:

  • 44% Chest Pain From Reduced Cardiac Blood Flow (Angina Pectoris)
  • 33% Acid Reflux Disease (Gerd)
  • 22% Acute Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)

People who have experienced moderate chest pain had symptoms persist for:

  • 49% Less than a day
  • 23% Less than a week
  • 13% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Moderate Chest Pain Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your moderate chest pain

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