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Thoracic Pain


Thoracic pain

is discomfort in any area between your neck and your abdomen. Thoracic pain may be caused by health conditions that affect your gastrointestinal system, lungs, bones, or muscles. It can also be caused by trauma, panic attacks, or anxiety related to stress.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a period of thoracic pain that lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • Your thoracic pain gets worse.
  • You have a history of angina (pressure or squeezing chest pain) and your usual medicine does not work.
  • You have thoracic pain with shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, vomiting, or nausea.
  • You have thoracic pain that spreads to your arm, neck, back, jaw, or stomach.

Contact your healthcare provider or specialist if:

  • Your thoracic pain is not relieved by resting, heat, or medicines.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for thoracic pain

may include any of the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain. It is available without a prescription. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Apply heat to the area. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms. Apply heat on the area for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed.
  • Limit physical activity that causes pain. Rest as needed. Ask your healthcare provider how long you should limit activity.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Thoracic Pain (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.