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Frequently Asked Questions

What is causing my chest pain?

“Chest pain” is an imprecise term.  It is often used to describe any pain, pressure, squeezing, choking, numbness or any other discomfort in the chest, neck, or upper abdomen, and is often associated with pain in the jaw, head, or arms.  It can last from less than a second to days or weeks, can occur frequently or rarely, and can occur sporadically or predictably.  

It is important to keep in mind that chest pain is merely a symptom, not a diagnosis.  And because it can be a symptom of anything from a catastrophic to a trivial medical problem, when a person experiences chest pain it is important to try to characterize that pain as rapidly as possible as being either completely benign, or possibly significant.

To help you to decide what to do when you experience chest pain, here is an article describing how to get to the bottom of chest pain.  Here is a list of medical problems that commonly produce chest pain.  And here are some clues on how to tell if chest pain is an emergency.



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