Causes of Burning Sensation in Chest
Burning sensation in chest is a common symptom that can have several underlying causes. It could be due to an acid reflux, heartburn, or even a chest infection. It could also be caused by anxiety or physical activity.
In this article, we will be discussing the various causes of a burning sensation in the chest, and the treatment options for addressing them.
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a very common cause of chest burning. In this condition, digestive juices from the stomach move back into the esophagus and irritate the lining of the esophagus, causing burning knowing and chest pain. This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve that separates your stomach and esophagus) becomes weakened or damaged and cannot close properly allowing acid to flow backwards into your esophagus. GERD is often associated with lifestyle factors such as being overweight, eating large meals late at night, spicy foods, eating heavy fatty foods, drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages or even lying down soon after eating a meal.
Other symptoms of GERD may include:
- Sour taste
- Difficulty swallowing
- A sore throat
- Hiccups that don’t go away
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in combination with a burning sensation in your chest, you should seek medical attention from your healthcare provider. There are a variety of treatments available to help relieve discomfort associated with this condition including diet modifications, medications for symptom relief and surgery if needed.
Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is a common cause of burning sensation in the chest. When you have heartburn, stomach acid rises into the esophagus and creates a burning sensation that typically begins behind the breastbone and shoots up to the back of the throat. Along with feeling an uncomfortable, burning sensation in your chest and throat, other signs of heartburn can include coughing, regurgitation (of food or liquid), difficulty swallowing, hoarseness and sore throat.
Heartburn is usually caused by an excessive amount of stomach acid production. Eating large meals and certain types of foods can trigger heartburn symptoms such as spicy foods, citrus fruits/juices, tomato-based products and other acidic drinks like coffee or alcohol. Certain lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation may reduce your risk for experiencing frequent instances of heartburn symptoms. Additionally, elevating the head while sleeping can be helpful as it works against gravity to reduce reflux episodes.
If these lifestyle changes don’t provide enough relief from your symptoms another option would be a medication like over-the-counter antacids or proton pump inhibitors which help by blocking acid production in your stomach. Speak to your doctor if you regularly experience burning sensations in your chest associated with heartburn or if you suspect that another condition might be causing them.
Stress or anxiety
Stress or anxiety can be a direct cause of burning sensations in the chest. Many people describe the sensation as a burning feeling in the chest area. It is a symptom associated with many physical and psychological conditions, including physiological stress and anxiety. In some cases, it can also be an indicator of more serious medical conditions, such as acid reflux, asthma, pulmonary embolism, or even heart attack.
When stress and anxiety are causing the burning sensation to appear, it can often be relieved by managing these emotions effectively. Stress-reducing activities such as yoga and meditation may be beneficial for some people. Additionally, counseling or therapy may help reduce stress levels and lessen breathing problems associated with intense emotions. In very severe cases, prescription medications such as anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants may provide relief from physical anxieties; however this should only ever done after consulting with a doctor first.
Diagnosing a burning sensation in the chest can help you identify the underlying cause of the symptom so that you can get the appropriate treatment. Depending on where the burning sensation is located, your doctor may conduct a physical examination, order imaging tests, or request a blood test.
This section will discuss the various diagnostic tests that may be recommended:
A physical exam is one important step in diagnosing burning sensations in the chest. During the physical exam, your doctor will check your vital signs and take note of your medical history. You may also be asked to perform tests such as a floor and neck examination, an abdominal exam, a breathing test, or a heart scan.
Your doctor may also feel along your chest wall for any lumps or tenderness. Additionally, they may hold their hands over certain areas of the chest to feel for temperature differences which can assist in distinguishing between benign and more serious conditions.
The results of the physical exam combined with other information gathered from other testing methods are used to diagnose if there is any medical cause for the burning sensation in your chest such as signs of infection or cancer. Only after careful analysis can a diagnosis be made and appropriate treatment recommended.
Endoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to view the inside of the body using a small camera, usually inserted through the mouth. This procedure can help diagnose burning sensations in the chest and allow treatment to begin if necessary. Endoscopy can help identify potential causes such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), an infection, or an inflamed esophagus due to an allergic reaction.
When performing an endoscopy, the doctor will use a lighted instrument called an endoscope which is inserted through the patient’s mouth and throat into their stomach area. This instrument allows for direct visualization of the lining of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (upper part of small intestine). To examine these areas further, biopsy samples may be taken for further analysis in a laboratory setting. The doctor may also use this procedure to perform other treatments such as:
- Reducing narrowing of parts of the esophagus
- Brushing off inflamed tissue with a brush-like device
By using endoscopy, burning sensations in chest can be properly diagnosed and treated so that patients suffering from this uncomfortable symptom can receive relief in short order.
If you experience burning pain in your chest, a doctor may order imaging tests or scans to help diagnose the cause of the symptoms. These tests provide images of the inside of your body, including organs and blood vessels. They may also identify disorders that can cause chest pain and other symptoms.
Common imaging tests used to diagnose chest pain include:
- X-ray: X-rays use small amounts of radiation to create pictures of the internal structures and organs in your chest, such as your heart and lungs.
- Computerized tomography scan (CT scan): This test takes multiple X-rays to create a detailed image of your body, which can reveal tumors, bleeding into the space around the lungs (pleural effusion), high levels of fluid in pulmonary veins and inflammation.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This scan uses radio waves combined with strong magnets to create an image that shows details inside the body.
- Echocardiogram: This test uses sound waves to create an image of your heart. It’s most often used when there’s suspicion you have a heart issue causing your chest pain or discomfort.
There are a few treatments for burning sensation in chest that you can try. Depending on the cause of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend:
- Over-the-counter medications
- Natural remedies
- Lifestyle changes
- Prescription medications
In this section, we’ll look at all of the potential treatments for burning sensation in chest.
Burning sensation in the chest can be caused by a variety of conditions, some of which can be dangerous and should be seen by a doctor. In the meantime, people may find relief using over-the-counter medications, such as antacids or other medications designed to treat heartburn.
- Antacids: Antacids may reduce discomfort caused by acid reflux. These neutralize stomach acid and provide immediate relief. Common antacids include aluminum magnesium hydroxide, calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate.
- H2 blockers: This type of over-the-counter medication blocks receptors in the body’s cells that trigger acid production in the stomach. Examples include cimetidine, famotidine and ranitidine. H2 blockers last longer than antacids and provide more gradual relief from discomfort in the chest area.
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): PPIs are typically used to treat chronic conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). They block an enzyme involved in making stomach acid. PPIs used for treating burning sensations in the chest include omeprazole, lansoprazole and esomeprazole.
Prescription medications can help relieve the burning sensation you experience in your chest. These include acid suppressors, medications that reduce inflammation, and medications to prevent further damage to your esophagus.
Acid suppressors such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine receptor antagonists (H2 blockers) work by reducing stomach acid production. PPIs are the stronger of the two and generally provide stronger relief. H2 blockers provide relief within minutes and can be taken preventively before eating foods that trigger symptoms.
Medications such as sucralfate, misoprostol, baclofen, and propulsid have proven effective for treating mild to moderate forms of GERD. Sucralfate works as a barrier between food particles coming up from the stomach and the lining of the esophagus, while misoprostol helps reduce acid secretion from your stomach. Baclofen is an antispasmodic drug that reduces muscle spasms in your esophagus to prevent refluxing acid from reaching it. Propulsid can be used in combination with PPIs or H2 blockers for more severe cases of GERD or to help improve symptom control for patients not responding to lifestyle modifications alone.
If you experience frequent heartburn or any other burning sensation in your chest, be sure to talk with a doctor about proper treatment options available to you. With proper care, these symptoms can be managed effectively allowing you to enjoy life without having heartburn hold you back!
Burning sensation in the chest can have several different causes, including acid reflux, heartburn, muscular pain or tension and anxiety. Before seeking medical attention, some people may try natural remedies to treat their burning chest discomfort. It is important to note that while natural remedies may provide relief in some cases, they should not be relied upon as a substitute for healthcare advice.
Below are some natural remedies that may help alleviate symptoms of burning discomfort in the chest:
- Ginger tea: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and irritation caused by burning sensations in the chest. To make ginger tea, simply steep 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger root in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink 1–2 cups daily.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is thought to help balance stomach acid levels and relieve symptoms of heartburn or GERD. Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of warm water and drink it before meals or when you experience chest discomfort. Make sure you dilute it well as it can be harsh on your throat when drunk undiluted.
- Aloe vera juice: Aloe vera is believed to have soothing properties that can help reduce the burning sensation associated with indigestion or heartburn. To use this remedy, mix 2 tablespoons with 8 ounces of water once a day before meals and during flare-ups of indigestion or chest discomfort.
- Herbal teas: Some herbal teas such as mint tea, chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita), fennel tea (Foeniculum vulgare) , licorice root tea (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) may offer soothing relief from indigestion and chest discomfort caused by acid reflux or heartburn . Be sure to talk to your doctor about any potential side effects associated with taking herbal teas before using them regularly.
Making simple lifestyle changes is often the first step in treating burning sensation in your chest. For example, you can quit smoking to reduce symptoms or stop drinking excessively. In addition, you may want to avoid physical activities that can cause chest pain, such as taking long walks or running long distances.
It is also important to be aware of stress levels and find ways to relax such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises.
If your diet could be contributing to the burning sensation in your chest, you should consider making dietary modifications such as avoiding spicy foods and caffeine. You may also want to increase your intake of fiber-rich foods including fruits, vegetables and whole grains while reducing intake of processed foods high in sugar or fat. Additionally, incorporating certain herbs or supplements may help reduce symptoms such as turmeric, ginger or magnesium oxide.
Finally, it is important for you to get regular checkups with a healthcare provider so any underlying medical issues can be identified and treated appropriately.
Burning sensation in the chest is a common complaint, and can range from mild to severe. The best way to prevent this sensation is to identify any potential triggers and avoid them. This could include identifying and avoiding certain foods or activities that can worsen the burning feeling.
Additionally, it is important to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle and practice good nutrition.
Avoid certain foods and beverages
Certain foods and beverages can trigger and exacerbate the burning sensation in your chest. Foods high in fat, spicy foods, carbonated drinks, caffeine, chocolate, and citrus can all contribute to heartburn. These foods also relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – the muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus – allowing stomach acid to enter into the throat.
Other general tips to reduce heartburn include:
- Eating smaller meals throughout the day
- Chewing food slowly and thoroughly
- Avoiding eating right before bedtime
- Limiting alcoholic beverages
- Quitting smoking
In addition to avoiding certain foods and beverages, there are several other strategies that you can use to prevent further episodes of heartburn. One such technique includes elevating your head while sleeping – adjust your pillows or prop up a few books under your mattress headboard – so that gravity helps keep acid in your stomach rather than returning up into your throat. Avoiding tight clothing may also help prevent episodes as it allows for more comfortable digestion of food. In addition, making sure not to overeat is key for preventing burning sensations in chest as it alleviates pressure on stomach muscles leading to improved digestion and reduced reflux of acid from stomach into esophagus.
Eat smaller meals
Eating smaller meals can help to reduce the burning sensation in the chest caused by heartburn and acid reflux since heavy, high fat meals can put more pressure on the stomach. Eating five to six smaller meals throughout the course of a day instead of three large meals will help decrease the likelihood of reflux. Be sure to avoid spicy, acidic and fried foods as they may worsen your symptoms. Eating smaller, low fat servings of vegetables, fruits and whole grains is best for prevention.
Chewing properly not only helps with good digestion but also reduces air swallowed with food which may worsen your symptoms. Additionally, limit or avoid any foods that seem to trigger acid reflux or cause you discomfort when eating; keeping a food-diary is helpful to monitor this.
Regular exercise can help reduce the possibility of chest pain due to heart disease, indigestion, or muscle strain. Exercise increases the body’s capacity to use oxygen, helps to strengthen the heart muscle and reduce stress, and lowers blood pressure. It also burns excess calories and encourages weight loss, which can reduce the risk of chest pain caused by being overweight.
Ideally, adults should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity aerobic activity like walking, jogging, running, swimming and cycling. For those who are unfamiliar with exercise or for those who have pre-existing health conditions such as anemia or diabetes, it is always best to consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Avoid lying down after eating
It is important to avoid lying down for at least 3 hours after eating to help prevent the burning sensation in your chest. Eating large meals and then lie down can cause your stomach contents to move up into your esophagus and can worsen GERD symptoms. After a meal, you should make sure you stay upright and comfortably full while sitting, standing or walking around.
It can also be beneficial to take a walk after eating, as this helps with digestion as well as preventing acid reflux. Similarly, ensuring that you sit up straight after eating can also prevent the burning sensation in your chest, rather than slouching over which increases pressure on the abdominal muscles and may aggravate reflux symptoms.