What Causes Chest Pain on the Right Side?

Chest Pain

Chest pain on the right side can have various causes, and it’s important to note that chest pain should never be ignored, as it can sometimes be a sign of a serious medical condition. Here are some common causes of chest pain on the right side:

  • Muscle Strain: One of the most common causes of chest pain on the right side is muscle strain or inflammation in the muscles between the ribs (intercostal muscles). This can occur due to physical exertion, overuse, or injury.
  • Costochondritis: Costochondritis is the inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone (sternum). It can cause sharp, localized chest pain, often on one side.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Acid reflux can lead to chest pain, especially if stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. The pain may be felt on the right side if the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weak or relaxed.
  • Gallbladder Issues: Problems with the gallbladder, such as gallstones or inflammation (cholecystitis), can cause pain on the right side of the chest, often radiating to the right shoulder or upper back.
  • Liver Conditions: Liver conditions like hepatitis, fatty liver disease, or liver inflammation can cause discomfort or pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen, which may be perceived as right-sided chest pain.
  • Lung Conditions: Certain lung conditions, including pneumonia, pleuritis (inflammation of the lining around the lungs), or a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung), can cause chest pain, and the pain may be felt on the right side depending on the location of the problem.
  • Rib Fractures or Injury: Trauma or injury to the ribs on the right side can cause chest pain.
  • Shingles (Herpes Zoster): Shingles, a viral infection caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, can lead to a painful rash and localized chest pain on one side.
  • Nerve Pain: Conditions like intercostal neuralgia or neuropathy can cause sharp, shooting pains along the nerves in the chest, and the pain may be felt on the right side.
  • Angina: Although angina (chest pain due to reduced blood flow to the heart) typically presents as a squeezing or pressure-like pain in the center of the chest, it can occasionally radiate to the right side or other areas.
  • Digestive Issues: Conditions such as peptic ulcers or hiatal hernias may cause discomfort that can be felt in the chest, including the right side.

If you experience chest pain on the right side, especially if it is severe, persistent, associated with shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, or other concerning symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Chest pain can sometimes indicate a heart-related issue or a potentially life-threatening condition, so it should not be taken lightly. A healthcare professional can perform a thorough evaluation and determine the underlying cause of the chest pain.

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