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What a Sharp Pain in the Chest Means

Edited By: Krista Mc'Farlene
 Have you ever experienced a sharp and sudden pain in the chest? This may have been a condition called precordial catch syndrome (PCS). But, unlike a heart attack, it isn't harmful or life-threatening. Unlike a heart attack, the pain doesn't radiate or spread to other areas of the body. And unlike a heart attack, PCS won't cause other symptoms, including drenching or vomiting, for example. Rather, the pain is localized to an area to the front or side of the chest, usually no bigger than one to two fingertips wide. This is why it is referred to a 'precordial', meaning, 'in front of the heart'. 
 
chest pain

Breathing can make the pain more intense, and some people find that shallow breaths can help blunt symptoms. Others believe that one deep inhalation can provoke a 'popping sensation' that helps resolve the issue. Therefore, PCS disappears just as quickly and suddenly as it arises. 

Sessions can typically last between 30 seconds and three minutes. There are no other symptoms, and there are no lasting signs. Yet while it is very rarely harmful, and goes away of its own accord, it may trigger anxiety and repetitive shallow breathing, causing a person to feel dizzy and light-headed. 

The sensation, which is also called a Texidor's Twitch, may be confused for a heart attack, but it is an extremely common condition that tends to occur during adolescence and early adulthood. It has also been reported in young children - even kids as young as kids, as well as in adults. 

chest pain

But, what exactly is causing the pain? The truth is, we don't know what sparks an attack, though most experts think the pain is caused by the irritation or pinching of nerves in the chest cavity's inner lining (the pleura). Nevertheless, it does not cause any damage to the heart or the lungs. Ultimately, it is benign provided there is no underlying heart condition - what a healthcare practitioner should be able to rule out. Still, it can be extremely uncomfortable. 

Unfortunately, for now, there is no cure or treatment, but there are certain situations that may cause an attack, which can be avoided. In fact, PCS usually occurs while resting - though never while sleeping, and often when the person is slouched or changes their posture abruptly. This means that the risk of an attack may be reduced somewhat by sitting up straight. 

Nevertheless, the good thing in all of this is that, just like braces and teenage acne, it is something that most people grow out of, and episodes become less frequent as you get older, and usually stop completely by the time we reach our early to mid-twenties.

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