Chest pain related to heart function and cardiac disease is called angina. It is common throughout the globe, and about 40 percent of adults experience it at some time in their lives.
Let’s talk about chest pain treatment tips you can use to relieve the discomfort and stay safe and where you can go for effective chest pain management in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
Symptoms That Accompany Chest Pain
Chest pain, also called angina, usually occurs in the center of the chest under the sternum or breast bone. Besides feeling sharp, angina also may feel like a squeezing, vice-like pressure. It may radiate down the shoulders, left arm and back. Particularly, women can experience jaw pain as the primary symptom of a cardiac condition or heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Along with substantial pain, patients frequently report:
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme weakness or fatigue
- Light headedness
When Chest Pain Occurs
Exercises, such as sex, heavy lifting, gym workouts, and other strenuous activities, may precipitate chest pain, as can exposure to cold temperatures. Some people experience chest pain and its accompanying symptoms during emotional stress, such as hearing bad news or being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
What You Can Do to Treat Chest Pain
The starting point for treating any chest pain is a complete physical examination with your primary care physician. Your PCP will review your symptoms, when they occur and how severe they are (so be as specific as possible).
Then, you may undergo tests, such as blood work, chest X-ray, and other assessments to rule out issues such as pneumonia (which also can cause chest discomfort). Also, you may be referred to a cardiologist for heart-related tests, such as an angiogram.
If your chest pain symptoms are heart-related, i.e., cardiovascular disease or blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle–your physician may prescribe nitroglycerin tablets or oral spray. Used only as needed, nitroglycerin opens constricted coronary arteries, allowing for free circulation to the heart and resolving symptoms such as chest pain.
Here’s how to take your nitro medication for angina and other things you can do to get some relief.
Sit or Lie Down and Take Your Medication
Keep your head elevated, and put your nitroglycerin tablet between your cheek and gums, allowing it to dissolve. If your doctor has prescribed a nitro mist, spray it under your tongue or on top of it. Continue to rest, and allow the medication to do its work.
Repeat Medication as Needed and Rest
If your doctor has so directed, repeat the nitro dose after five minutes if your chest pain and related symptoms have not resolved fully. Be sure you do not smoke, drink or eat for at least five to 10 minutes after administering your nitroglycerin tablet or oral spray.
Call Your Healthcare Provider or 911
If your physician has instructed you to contact him or her if your nitro doses have not controlled your symptoms well, do so right away. If they begin worsening despite treatment, call 911 for emergency medical help.
Ongoing Management of Chest Pain
- Chest pain which worsens over time
- Increasing fatigue and weakness
- Heart rates that drop below 60 or race above 120 (without exertion)
- Angina which occurs when you are resting or sleeping (waking you up)
As you partner with your physician in your cardiac wellness plan, communicate accurately and honestly, telling the doctor exactly what is happening with your symptoms between clinic visits. Keeping a symptom journal is a very good idea.
Chest Pain Treatments in Sarasota and Manatee Counties
For comprehensive chest pain evaluation and treatment, visit us at Intercoastal Medical Group. Our primary care physicians work in tandem with our specialists (e.g., cardiologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, etc.) to consistently deliver unmatched treatment outcomes for various health issues, including those that cause chest pain.
If you need to see one of our specialists, get a referral from your PCP. However, if you don’t have one yet, schedule an appointment with one of our PCPs by calling us at our office near you or simply fill out our online appointment request form.