You can feel free to call us eternal optimists, but for the most part, we think the world is a pretty great place. Sure, there is war, poverty, and famine, however, every single day we see men and women rising up to struggles and challenges to realizing their dreams. However, as strong as the mind can be in the face adversity, very often it is the body that limits many of us from reaching our full potential. For as the timeless adage goes – the mind is willing but the flesh is weak.
Injury and sickness are nothing new to mankind and as a direct result of it, we as humans have gained an intrinsic and deeper understanding of what is going on in our bodies. No, we aren’t suggesting that you will no what’s wrong with you better than a doctor, rather, most of us are able to tell when something is wrong and that it is, in fact, time to go see a doctor. When a person has a runny nose they will often think they have a cold; when a person is nauseous or sick to their stomach they may think they have the flu; and if a person trips, stumbles and hurts their leg, they may think it is broken. However, while most of us think we know what is wrong with us, it is usually only after visiting a healthcare professional do we get an accurate assessment of what is wrong with us. The problem is though, we live in an age of information, and all too often people’s minds will wander and they will assume the worst is wrong with them. And perhaps no sensation in the body causes a person to worry more than chest pain.
According to the Mayo Clinic, chest pain comes in many varieties, ranging from a sharp stab to a dull ache. Some chest pain is described as crushing or burning. In certain cases, the pain travels up the neck, into the jaw, and then radiates through to the back or down one or both arms. However, the problem with chest pain (well, one of the many problems with it) is that everybody always assumes the worst case scenario and fear that it has something to do with their heart. However, in reality, and as further iterated by the Mayo Clinic, there is a wide range of health problems that can cause chest pain. In many cases, the underlying cause has nothing to do with your heart — though there’s no easy way to tell without seeing a doctor. These are known as noncardiac chest pain or NCCP.
While it can be difficult, often even for a doctor, to tell what is the underlying cause of your chest pain, we thing we know for certain is that it does no goes what so ever to jump to conclusion and cause undue worry and anxiety thinking that you have a problem with your heart. But this does beg the question, if not my heart, then what is causing it? Glad you asked.
Although chest pain can be the result of something to do with your heart, from a statistical standpoint, it would be unlikely, or rather, it would be much more likely that one of these conditions is responsible. And so without further ado, allow us to present to you 10 causes of chest pain that aren’t your heart.
While the body is very perceptive to what is happening to it, sometimes it can be what is weighing on the mind that can manifest in the body. And according to Dr. Gerald Morris, psychiatric disorders can also be a common cause of chest pain. The most oft-cited disorders are anxiety and depression. A clinical trial published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found individuals with psychiatric disorders were three times more likely to report chest pain. In this particular trial, approximately 25-percent of participants reported having had psychiatric disorders, of which anxiety and depression were equally split.
When it comes to treatment, Morris goes on to say that there are specific treatments for anxiety and depression that can in the long-term decrease or prevent episodes of chest pain. Acute anxiety may be managed with as needed anti-anxiety medications such as diazepam or alprazolam. Chronic anxiety and depression may be managed with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, citalopram, or escitalopram. At present, it is not fully understood whether psychiatric disorders cause chest pain or whether individuals with these disorders are just more aware of pain, however, research is constant and ongoing.