Cause of Left Side Chest Pain

Getting pain in the left side of your chest can be alarming, this is because often we suspect the cause of left side chest pain to be related to our hearts and dare we say it… potentially indicative of a heart attack. This is logical as the hard is kept in the left side of the chest but fortunately it’s not correct. While the heart is in the left side of the chest you see, the nerve connected to the heart (which is where you would feel the pain) is in the centre of the chest.

So what else could be the cause of left side chest pain? There are several possibilities. One is that the pain could be coming from the muscles between the ribs known as the intercostals. If this is the case you could be suffering from intercostals myalgia, which is far more a nuisance than a serious condition (I’d take it over a heart attack any day). This can be cause by an infection of the muscles, strain, repetitive activity, muscle spasm or even cramp – the nature and duration of the pain should help you to identify which the correct culprit is.

Another cause of left side chest pain could be pain in the pectoral muscle. The pectorals are the two large sheets of muscle that cover our chest (under the breasts if you’re a woman). These muscles are involved in all sorts of pulling and pushing movements and if they’re torn, cramping, or spasmodic then they’re large enough that it can really hurt. Try massaging the muscle and refraining from using your left arm for heavy movements until it subsides. There is many a cause of left side chest pain then, but chances are it’s nothing serious. Obviously if the pain does not stop then it’s worth seeking advice from a doctor to be safe.

Just to put your mind to rest, if you are having a heart attack you will probably experience rather different symptoms. Not only is the pain in a different place (the centre of the chest), but it also feels like a more squeezing, heavy feeling rather than a sharp pain. Heart attack feels much like indigestion with potential other side effects such as sweat and breathlessness and even vomiting. Pain may also travel to the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. If these are your symptoms, now you can start worrying…


  1. I have been having chest pain and numbness down my left side of my face, neck, shoulder, arm and hand. I just have a vagus nerve stimulator removed but I do have anxiety and mood disorder too. Could you tell me what might be the problem? Honeslty, it feels like it is coming from the scar tissue left in my chest from the VNS removal. Not sure what to do and my doctors think I'm crazy. Can you help?

  2. I think I find this article very useful. I started working in a company where I am performing repetitive activity everyday and begin to feel little pain on my left chest after using my left arm repeatedly lifting heavy objects, so I need to adjust and subsides, I really find it useful and take to the information provided. Thanks !

  3. I was look at this article hand hoping my father won't get a heart attack, and I'm only 15 years old and I'm am desperately trying to find out what is causing the pain in his chest and how to get rid of the pain, I'm so scared that this might happen to him and I don't ever want to lose him this way.

  4. Thanks for this article. It answered my question very well. Very helpful.

    I think the reason of my chest pain is because of my driving. I used to drive using my left hand most of the time and resting the right hand. I will try to rest my left hand now and use it less often.

    Thank you so much.

  5. This is a good internet website

  6. Clear and simple information regarding the symptom. It was very helpful.

  7. This article has given a very close description of what I am going through. I couldn't call it pain. It didn't fit into the description of angina. It subsides after I do some exercise or massage my breast muscles or give taps with my hand. It has been there since I was a teenager. Now am 40 and on bp drug with reading around 140/90. I have done all manner of test and everything else was said to be Ok. But now I suspect it's this nuisance. Someone has advices me to go for a full body massage. Maybe I will try. Anyone else feels same way?

  8. Sort of good and humorous enough to lighten the mood. Certainly makes me feel better, however, the problem is not resolved. Over 10 years the hospitals and doctors have not been able to either!

  9. My pain is on the left front around the pectoral muscle area into my left upper arm muscle and over my both shoulders into my back two shoulder blades.

    I had all kinds of test (x-rays, blood work, ekg, stress test) all doctors tell me that nothing is wrong with me. I didn't do any kind of heavy work (age 64) but it starts mostly when I am sitting watch tv… I don't smoke or drink and most of the time walking outside.

    Any help out there.

    Thx U

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Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. As well as writing for websites and magazines, he also runs his own sites and has published several books and apps on these topics.

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