What Does It Mean When The Left Side Of Your Chest Hurts

Your heart may sit in the front and middle of your chest (via Healthy WA), but a large bulk of sits within the left side of your chest. This is where the left ventricle of your heart is, which is a larger and thicker piece of muscle than the right ventricle due to the amount of blood it has to send around the body.

So when it comes to left chest pain, the thing you're probably led to worry about first is your heart. Chest pain can be a sign of cardiovascular event, which can be a sign of heart disease or even a heart attack.

According to Healthline, while symptoms of a heart attack differ from person to person, if the pain is accompanied by symptoms of pressure in the chest; shooting pains in your arms, neck, jaw, or back; breathing difficulties; nausea or vomiting; abdominal pain; and lightheadedness you should seek emergency medical attention straight away.

However, pain in the left side of your chest isn't always the result of a heart attack. It can come as a result of another issue with the heart, or something completely non-related to the cardiovascular system like heartburn or acid reflux.

Pain in the left side of your chest isn't always related to the heart

If you have persistent pain in the left side of your chest but aren't experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, it's still best to get yourself checked out by a doctor. You could have an underlying issue with your heart like muscle inflammation (myocarditis or pericarditis), a genetic disease (like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), or issues with your arteries (via Web MD).

There's also the possibility that it's your lungs causing the issue. Lung inflammation can cause persistent pain in the chest, which mimics the symptoms of a heart attack like discomfort, pressure, or tightness (via VeryWell Health).

But as the Cleveland Clinic notes, a 2016 study of emergency room visits published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that less than 6% of those turning up to the ER had a life-threatening issue related to chest pain. Instead, the majority of patients experience momentary discomforts related to muscles in the chest wall, panic attacks, as well as heartburn and acid reflux.

The latter is especially common, as the stomach sits predominately on the left side of your chest (via Web MD). As the name suggests, the pain of heartburn can often feel like it's coming from your heart (via MedicineNet), when in fact its caused by stomach acid moving up your throat following a variety of factors like what you've eaten, stress, anxiety, and your overall health (via NHS).