What to do if your heart hurts: 5 ways to help quickly

When to call an ambulance immediately

Here are the main signs that you need urgent medical attention:

  • You experience severe, burning, pressing, almost unbearable pain that does not go away for 5-10 minutes or more.
  • Chest pain is accompanied by shortness of breath, difficulty breathing.
  • The pain radiates to the left shoulder and arm.
  • The pain is accompanied by cold sweat, dizziness, severe weakness.
  • You’re pretty sure it’s a heart attack. You are very scared.

The above symptoms may indicate serious problems. For example, the development of a heart attack , inflammatory diseases of the heart (myocarditis and pericarditis), diseases of the aorta that supplies the heart with blood, or pulmonary embolism.

Each of these conditions is deadly, so you should not experiment with home remedies.

So call an ambulance on 112.

How to understand that pain in the heart is not dangerous

In most cases, it only seems to us that the heart hurts. In fact, the malaise has other reasons, albeit unpleasant, but much less dangerous:

  • gastroenterological problems;
  • disorders in the work of the lungs;
  • intercostal neuralgia;
  • chest osteochondrosis;
  • various musculoskeletal disorders;
  • neurosis and other disorders of the central nervous system.

It is possible to assume this particular, relatively safe option by three signs :

1. Pain is like a flash, instant

If the heart is affected, the pain will be long (at least a few minutes), relentless and equally strong. But the discomfort, which fades rather quickly, is most likely a symptom of physical injury, overexertion or neuralgia.

2. You feel better when you move.

The real pain in the heart is aggravated by even minimal physical exertion.

3. It hurts to breathe

With heart pain, shortness of breath and a feeling of lack of air may occur. But if instead there is a cough, pain when inhaling, then we are most likely talking about problems with the respiratory system. For example, pleurisy, pneumonia , asthma.

What to do if the pain in the heart seems harmless

Only a qualified doctor can find out what exactly is the cause of discomfort behind the sternum.

Therefore, be sure to contact your therapist or cardiologist if pain in the heart without the deadly symptoms described above pesters you regularly or is accompanied by vomiting, coughing, and fever.

The doctor will examine you, evaluate your history, conduct additional studies, including an ECG and, possibly, an ultrasound of the heart, and prescribe treatment or send you to other specialized specialists: a gastroenterologist, pulmonologist, orthopedist, neurologist.

How to relieve heart pain

We emphasize once again: real heart problems should be treated only with medications prescribed by your doctor. Selfishness is not allowed here.

But it is quite possible to alleviate pseudo-heart pain with home methods. Here are ways to help you quickly relieve chest discomfort.

1. Take nitroglycerin

This tip is for when you’re worried that the pain may be related to a heart attack and your doctor has previously prescribed this drug for you.

Nitroglycerin will help with angina. But if the pain is associated with other, non-cardiac causes, such as osteochondrosis, the medicine will not work. On the one hand, this is bad, because relief will not come. On the other hand, it’s good: this is a sign that the cause of discomfort is not related to the cardiovascular system.

Just remember: nitroglycerin lowers blood pressure. So you can’t take it at rates below 100 mmHg.

2. Take an aspirin

First, it relieves. Secondly, the drug thins the blood (reduces its clotting). This improves blood flow and can alleviate the condition in cases where chest pain is still associated with problems in the cardiovascular system.

Never take aspirin if you have not been prescribed it before by a doctor, you are allergic to it, or you suffer from a disease associated with low blood clotting.

3. Apply a cold compress

Or apply an ice pack (frozen vegetables) wrapped in a thin towel to your chest.

Often the cause of chest pain is overexertion or stretching of the muscles. For example, because you lifted something heavy, turned around badly, or worked out too hard in the gym.

Apply a cold compress for 3-5 minutes several times a day. This will help reduce discomfort.

4. Drink warm tea

Or another warm drink, but not herbal: it is not known how it will interact with drugs. This recommendation may work if chest pain occurs shortly after eating.

The fact is that the esophagus and the heart are located nearby and are connected by common nerve endings, which is why problems with the gastrointestinal tract can be confused with manifestations of coronary heart disease.

If you do not observe the dangerous symptoms listed at the beginning of the article, but, in addition to discomfort in the sternum, there are belching, heartburn, bloating, most likely this is your option.

5. Take a warm soda solution

Dilute ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water. Such a drink will improve the condition if pain in the chest is caused by heartburn and increased acidity of the stomach.

Please note: this method should be used only in extreme cases. And only if you feel discomfort after eating, are away from civilization and do not suffer from diagnosed heart disorders. The fact is that baking soda, which copes well with acid, can harm the heart.


We repeat: the heart is not to be trifled with. Serious cardiac disorders do not develop instantly. At first, they make themselves felt with slight pain, a slight burning sensation in the chest, a feeling of pressure, which quickly passes. Before the first real attack, you may feel unwell for several days, or even weeks.

It is important not to ignore these signs. If chest discomfort occurs regularly, see a doctor as soon as possible. It’s better to be safe here.

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