Common Causes of Right Sided Chest Pain

Page content

According to sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health, chest pain may be one of the most common ailments in people of all ages. Although left-sided chest pain is often associated with heart attack and other life-threatening conditions, this is not the only chest pain that the individual should be worried about. Pain that occurs on the right side can also be a serious indication of disorder and/or disease in the patient. Angina, chest pain that orginates as a result of a heart disorder can cause pains in the right side of the chest. However, here we focus on causes of right sided chest pain that is unrelated to conditions of the heart.

As with pain that originates on the left side of the chest, pain on the right side can indicate disorders from serious to mild. One of the many organs that can cause this type of pain is the lung(s). Various disorders of the lungs, such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung), pneumonia, asthma, pleurisy, and pulmonary embolism (blood clot), can cause pain in the right side of the chest. Chest pain as a result of any of these conditions of the lung will often worsen when breathing deeply, coughing, or when the individual is moderately active. Chest pain associated with the lungs can be felt as sharp, stabbing pains, pressure, or as a squeezing/crushing sensation. It is important to remember that the pain will differ among individuals and by the condition. This type of pain may also radiate into other areas of the body, such as the arm, shoulder, neck, and jaw.

Other Causes of Chest Pain on the Right Side

There are numerous other bodily structures and disorders that can contribute to the causes of right sided chest pain. This can include inflammation or strain of muscles of the ribs and chest, an anxiety attack, shingles, and digestive disorders. During a gallbladder attack, many patients complain of chest and shoulder pain on the right side. Problems with the pancreas, liver, and certain types of cancer can also include this symptom. Stomach ulcers, those suffering from GERD, and/or other digestive conditions that affect the esophagus can also influence this type of chest pain.

Many individuals may not seek medical attention as a result of right sided chest pain. However, when the pain is severe, persistent, and other signs and symptoms are present, immediate medical attention may be necessary because as previously noted, some disorders associated with the symptom can be quite serious. In most cases though, making an appointment with your physician and following up is sufficient. This is only a brief overview of some of the causes of chest pain on the right side. The reader should keep in mind that this will vary by person and is not intended to substitute the care or advice of medical professionals.


Chest Pain. MedlinePlus. National Institute of Health. Updated 1, June 2009. Viewed 30, January 2010.

Chest Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment. Mayo Clinic. 13, November 2009. Viewed 30, January 2010.