Pain in the chest wall often results from a strained muscle or a bruised rib and it sometimes gets better without treatment. Pain from deep inside the chest may be due to infection (pleurisy) of the lung and chest-wall lining. This gets worse when you breathe in or even sneeze. A tumor may also cause pain when it grows and presses on the ribs.
A burning pain behind the breastbone may sometimes be caused by gastro-oesphageal reflux. This may have an underlying condition, be sure to check it out for proper diagnosis.
Also, heartburn, stress, anxiety, depression or a bad cough are among things that can cause chest pain.
Various heart disorders can cause chest pain. Angina (a feeling of pressure that starts in the centre of the chest and spreads outwards towards the shoulders, jaw and arms) is the most common. It is caused by an insufficient supply of blood to the heart. If you feel this pain, you should see your physician immediately. The pain of a heart attack can be similar. And because it is difficult to distinguish between a heart attack or angina and bad gas, you should always take chest pain seriously. Once you know the cause, what’s normal pain for you, and your physician has ruled out any potential heart problem, the following steps may help:
Altering your pain threshold
You can alter your pain threshold! Don’t let it take hold of you. One of the keys to pain relief is reducing anxiety often associated with it and regaining a sense of control through self-help. This comes in the form of nutritional modification, herbal remedies, positive thinking, etc. With such a sense of control comes a feeling of no longer being entirely at the mercy of the pain process. And symptoms go away for most patients, with the right treatment.
Mustard seed is well to soothe coughs, colds, flu and bronchitis. This is because mustard seed acts as an expectorant, which means it encourages the hairs that line the respiratory tract to bring up mucous from the lungs, so that it becomes easy to cough out. If your chest pain results from cough, combine lemon and mustard flour. You can also infuse a few mustard seeds in a tea cup of boiling water for 15 minutes, strain and take two times daily; 1 tsp of the powdered mustard seed added to warm water will serve the same purpose. I also prescribe oil of mustard applied on chest region, up to four times daily.
Thunbergia erecta (bush cock vine, kings mantle) – infusion or decoction of leaves is taken – one tea cup 2 x daily. The leaves are mixed with shea butter and applied as embrocation 2 x daily.
Hibiscus tea- an infusion made from it supports digestion and heart health. Research shows hibiscus helps lower blood pressure and reduces cholesterol and triglycerides. Enjoy it warm 3 x daily.
Cassia tora (asuwon-Yoruba, nsigbu muo-Igbo) – the anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and analgesic properties of this plant enhance its medicinal use for chest pain significantly. The leaves are decocted and drunk as an analgesic and blood purifier. Poultices of the leaves can also be applied topically to relieve chest pain from strained muscle.
Basil is mainly used to battle stress and prevent stress-related illnesses. It is also used to reduce cholesterol. Chronic stress may increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Take the fresh extract once or twice daily.
Curcumin – the compound that gives turmeric its golden color, may alleviate pain symptoms in the chest and also reduce the inflammation that leads to heart disease. Add a tsp of turmeric, preferably along with a pinch of black pepper to your meals 2 x daily. When juiced with tiger nuts, it makes a superb golden milk! Enjoy this mixture before bed to help alleviate pain.
Pepper – capsaicin, which comes from red peppers, may reduce inflammation and soothe pain when applied topically. Mixed with shea butter or olive oil is beneficial for all sorts of pain. Before applying, test it on a small area of skin to make sure that it’s okay before using it on the chest. If it seems to irritate your skin, discontinue use. Internally, about 20mg of capsaicin capsules daily may reduce the risk of heart muscle thickening. Keep in mind that for some people, eating “hot” foods may cause digestive problems.
Garlic – both fresh and garlic supplements have been used for years to battle heart problems. Garlic extract may help prevent plaque build-up in the arteries and even reverse heart disease. Take up to 4 cloves daily for its antibiotic properties to combat infection of the lung and chest-wall lining.
Ginger – is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities. It may help lower blood pressure and prevent blood clotting. Ginger tea is known for soothing your tummy and reducing gas. You can also apply ginger as compress. To do this, grate a finger of fresh ginger, wrap in a cloth then place in hot water, let it cool and apply on the chest region. Allow to stay for 15-30 minutes, and apply olive oil afterwards.
Chamomile – make a cup of chamomile tea to help with digestion and have a soothing effect on your stomach. Drink up 2-3 x daily, till pain subsides.
Apple cider vinegar – drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of warm water before meals or when chest pain strikes is a powerful remedy for acid reflux. It is said to ease heartburn.
Several supplements- can also help keep your heart healthy and strong: examples include Omega-3 fatty acids and CoQ10.
Heating pad- you can use a heating pad on the lowest setting (warm) to relieve chest discomfort. Put the pad on the painful area a few times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time and be sure not to place it directly on the skin, to prevent burn.
Talk therapy – if your pain is due to stress, anxiety, or depression, talking to a psychologist can help you work through these problems so they do not cause chest pain. Talk therapy teaches the patient how to change or eliminate thought patterns that cause stress and ultimately reduce the frequency of chest pain episodes.
Lifestyle changes – combining some of the above remedies with a heart-healthy lifestyle (healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, mild-regular exercise, good moods, not smoking etc) will help bring pain relief and maintain heart health.
DO NOT forget to get proper diagnosis first.