Chest pain is a common occurrence, usually not dangerous for the health of your child. Read this article to find out the possible causes leading to chest pain in children.
Chest pain in children may not be something very serious, but it affects their normal activities and school attendance. It is a matter of anxiety for parents. If the chest pain is for some serious reason, it is accompanied by other symptoms. It could be acute or chronic, and the origin could be the ribs, breastbone, muscles of the chest walls, or the internal organs like lungs and heart.
Following are the main possible factors responsible for children suffering from chest pain.
This is the most common cause of acute pain in children’s chests. The origin of this kind of sharp pain is the chest wall. The ribs are attached to the breastbone present at the front of the chest, and form joints. When there is some inflammation in the rib joints, then the muscles of the ribs get stretched. This makes breathing painful. The rib joints and muscles often get hurt due to direct impact on the chest while playing a sport, or a bad fall. Exercise movements or lifting of heavy objects can badly strain the rib muscles, and put a lot of pressure on the chest wall.
The symptoms of chest pain from asthma are difficulty in breathing and severe cough. These worsen particularly at night and early morning after getting up from the bed. It tends to get intensified after crying or running. When the pain is due to lung infection, like pneumonia or bronchitis, then chills, fever, headache, cough, stomach pain, wheezing, and vomiting are its other symptoms.
There is a minute chance that a child can get a heart attack like adults. However, some heart conditions show symptoms of chest pain. Pericarditis is one such problem where the heart lining swells up due to some infection. Abnormalities in the coronary artery is an inherited heart condition that can give chest pain. Excessively thick heart muscles and rhythmic disturbances of heart rate are two other such problems. This type of chest pain often gets extended to neck, shoulder, arms, and jaws. If there is chest pain with exercise, and it is accompanied by irregular beating of the heart or fainting, then the cardiac condition is likely to be in a serious state.
This is a condition where the stomach acids rise up into the esophagus or food pipe, and cause a burning sensation and irritation in the area just below the breastbone. This causes chest pain after eating. The pain gets aggravated if the child is lying down after having food. Other symptoms of acid reflux disease are sore throat, acidic taste in mouth, and nausea or vomiting.
Sickle cell anemia and chest tumors like lymphomas could be responsible for this condition in children. A form of infection in the cartilage between the ribs and the breastbone can give chest pain to girls in the adolescent or pre-adolescent stage. Chest pain can be associated with anxiety or panic attacks as well. In such cases a dull pain in the chest is accompanied by headache.
The medical history as well as physical examination of the child is studied to diagnose the cause of the chest pain. Only in a few rare cases, laboratory tests like X-ray and EKG are conducted. If it is caused by injury, doctors suggest stretching exercises and heat compression on the injured area for pain management. To get rid of pain and inflammation of the muscles, pain-relievers are prescribed. Bacteria infections are treated with the help of antibiotics.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and not intended to replace the advice offered by a medical expert.