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Preventive Healthcare

Right Chest Pain: Understanding Symptoms and Risk Factors



Chest pain is a common concern that can send anyone into a state of anxiety and panic. When it strikes on the right side of the chest, the worry can intensify even more. This right chest pain may be sharp, dull, or throbbing, ranging from mildly uncomfortable to excruciating. While it's easy to jump to conclusions and assume the worst, it's crucial to understand that not all right chest pain is a sign of a heart attack. This blog is your comprehensive guide to understanding right chest pain, its various symptoms, and the risk factors associated with it.

What is Right-Side Chest Pain?

Right-side chest pain refers to discomfort or pain experienced in the area on the right side of the chest. It can have various causes, including musculoskeletal issues, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory conditions, and even cardiac concerns.

Understanding the basics of right-side chest pain is essential for distinguishing between benign discomfort and potentially serious medical issues. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe or persistent right side chest pain, seeking medical attention promptly is essential to rule out serious underlying problems and ensure proper evaluation and care.

What are the Most Common Causes of Right-Side Chest Pain?

Right side chest pain can be a distressing and alarming symptom, and understanding the potential of right chest pain causes is vital for proper evaluation and management. Some of the most common reasons of right side chest pain are:

  1. Musculoskeletal Issues: One of the most frequent reasons for right side chest pain is musculoskeletal problems. These include:
    • Muscle Strain: Strained or injured muscles in the chest or upper back can lead to localized pain, often exacerbated by movement or deep breathing.
    • Rib Fractures: A fracture in one of the ribs, typically from trauma, can cause sharp pain in the affected area.
    • Costochondritis: Inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone can result in tenderness and discomfort, often mistaken for cardiac pain.
  2. Gastrointestinal Problems: Digestive issues can also manifest as right side chest pain. These include:
    • Acid Reflux: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) can lead to the regurgitation of stomach acid into the oesophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest, commonly on the right side.
    • Gallstones: Gallstones can cause sharp, cramp-like pain in the upper right chest, particularly after a meal.
  3. Respiratory Conditions: Various respiratory conditions can also cause right side chest pain. These are:
    • Pleurisy: Right side chest pain when breathing should be treated with the doctor's consultation before it worsens. Inflammation of the pleura, the thin lining around the lungs, can result in sharp pain that worsens with breathing, particularly deep breaths.
    • Pneumonia: Lung infections like pneumonia can cause pain on the affected side, often accompanied by fever and cough.
  4. Cardiac Concerns: Although less common, cardiac issues can lead to right side chest pain, and these should never be ignored:
    • Angina: Reduced blood flow to the heart muscle can cause chest pain, which can be felt on the right side in some cases.
    • Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack): While the most typical location for heart attack pain is the left side, it can occasionally manifest on the right, especially in women.
  5. Other Causes: There are additional factors that can contribute to right side chest pain:
    • Shingles: The viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus can produce a band of painful blisters on one side of the chest, accompanied by burning or stabbing pain.
    • Nerve Irritation: Conditions like intercostal neuralgia, which affects the nerves between the ribs, can also result in right side chest pain.
  6. Breast Conditions: In some cases, breast-related issues, such as mastitis or a cyst, can cause discomfort in the right chest area and can cause right side chest pain above the breast.

Right Side Chest Pain in Females

It's important to note that females can experience right side chest pain or right side chest pain above the breast for reasons specific to their gender. For instance, female chest pain on the right side may be caused by breast-related issues, such as mastitis or a fibroadenoma, which may cause discomfort in the right chest. Additionally, women can experience cardiac symptoms that differ from those in men, making it crucial for them to be vigilant about heart health. These symptoms include pain between shoulder blades, abdominal pain, and nausea.

How is Right-Side Chest Pain Treated?

The right side chest pain treatment depends on its underlying cause. For instance:

  1. For musculoskeletal issues, rest, pain relievers, and physical therapy may be recommended.
  2. For gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux, dietary changes and medications may help.
  3. Respiratory conditions often require antibiotics, while cardiac concerns may involve lifestyle changes, medications, or even surgical interventions.

Therefore, prompt medical attention is crucial, especially for severe or persistent cases, to ensure the appropriate treatment and to rule out any life-threatening conditions.

What Can I Do At Home to Treat Right-Side Chest Pain?

If you experience mild right-side chest pain without an obvious underlying cause, you can try some home remedies. Rest, avoid strenuous activities, and apply ice or a warm compress, depending on the nature of the pain. If the pain persists or worsens, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and guidance on the appropriate right side chest pain treatment.

What are The Possible Complications or Risks of Not Treating Right-Side Chest Pain?

Neglecting treatment for right-side chest pain can lead to potential complications, including delayed diagnosis of severe medical conditions, exacerbation of underlying issues, and the risk of a life-threatening event in cases related to the heart or lungs. Hence, timely evaluation is crucial for appropriate care.

Can right-side chest pain be prevented?

Preventing right-side chest pain largely depends on the underlying cause. However, some general strategies can reduce the risk of certain types of chest pain. For instance:

  1. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise can help prevent cardiac issues.
  2. Avoiding overexertion and using proper lifting techniques can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal pain.
  3. For gastrointestinal causes like acid reflux, dietary modifications and managing stress can be helpful.
  4. Infections and respiratory conditions can be minimized by practising good hygiene and getting recommended vaccinations.

While not all causes are preventable, a healthy lifestyle and preventive healthcare measures can significantly reduce the risk of right-side chest pain.


Right chest pain can be a source of significant concern and anxiety. However, understanding the diverse array of right chest pain causes and risk factors is essential for informed decision-making and appropriate action. By following a healthy lifestyle and preventive measures, you can reduce the risk of certain types of right-side chest pain, ensuring your well-being remains a top priority. So, take charge of your health today! Schedule your comprehensive health checkup with Metropolis Diagnostics and prioritize your well-being. Don't wait – your health matters.

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