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What Are the Most Common Causes of Lower Chest Pain?

Bruises or breaks in the rib cage can cause chest pain.
Lung disorders may cause lower chest pain.
Cigarette smoking often causes lower chest pain.
Article Details
  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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All organs located near the lower chest area can be a source of lower chest pain. Burning sensations in the lower chest can come from many sources, including esophageal conditions, broken or bruised ribs, and lifestyle habits. Alhough a large number of conditions are known to cause lower chest pain, the most common are hypertension and lung disorders.

Among the many causes of lower chest pain, high blood pressure, or hypertension, is most common. While it is an established fact that hypertension causes pain in the lower chest, patients can experience hypertension for years without being aware of their condition. As high blood pressure is commonly associated with prolonged stress or extraneous physical activities, some believe that simply resting will restore normal blood pressure levels without first considering probable medical conditions.

Lung disorders are also one of the most common causes of lower chest pain. Among a number of lung problems, the most common is pneumonia, an infection of the lungs that can cause coughing and fever. Pneumonia that involves an inflammation in the lining of the lung’s surface can lead to pleurisy, a condition that can cause a sharp pain in the chest resulting in shortness of breath.

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Another cause of pain in the lower chest are conditions in the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly referred to as acid reflux, is the sphincter in the esophagus failing to function normally. As a result, people who have acid reflux disease experience sudden expulsions of gastric juices from the stomach. This sudden expulsion or regurgitation causes esophageal inflammation and spasms, leading to lower chest pain. Chest pain caused by acid reflux disease can be easily identified, as the pain is normally centralized near the breastbone.

Spinal problems also lead to pain in the lower chest, which can spread to the arms and shoulders. Certain fractures, particularly along the spinal column and rib cage, can lead to sharp pain in the upper, middle, and lower chest. Broken bones along the chest area can cause swelling felt on the surface, thus causing lower chest pain.

Lifestyle choices such as excessive intake of alcohol and cigarette smoking are also common causes of lower chest pain. The intake of too much alcohol can make the heart beat harder and faster, leading to pain in the lower chest. Similar to drinking alcohol, smoking also increases the heart rate, which can cause burning sensations in the lower chest.

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