Best Treatment Options for Chest Pain

The best treatment option for chest pain depends on the underlying cause of the pain. It’s crucial to visit a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Some common treatment options for chest pain include:

  • Medications
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • lifestyle changes

These are discussed below.


Drugs used to treat some of the most common causes of chest pain include:

  • Artery relaxers. Nitroglycerin — usually taken as a tablet under the tongue — relaxes heart arteries, so blood can flow more easily through the narrowed spaces. Some blood pressure medicines also relax and widen blood vessels.
  • Aspirin. If health care providers think that your chest pain is related to your heart, you’ll likely be given aspirin.
  • Thrombolytic drugs. If you are having a heart attack, you may receive these clot-busting drugs. These work to dissolve the clot that is blocking blood from reaching the heart muscle.
  • Blood thinners. If you have a clot in an artery feeding your heart or lungs, you’ll likely be given drugs that interfere with blood clotting to prevent more clots from forming.
  • Acid-suppressing medications. If chest pain is caused by stomach acid splashing into the esophagus, a health care provider may suggest medications that reduce the amount of acid in the stomach.
  • Antidepressants. If you’re having panic attacks, your health care provider may prescribe antidepressants to help control symptoms. Talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, also might be recommended.

Surgical and other procedures

Procedures to treat some of the most dangerous causes of chest pain include:

  • Angioplasty and stent placement. Chest pain that is caused by a blockage in an artery feeding the heart is typically treated with angioplasty. The doctor inserts a catheter with a balloon on the end into a large blood vessel, usually in the groin, and guides the catheter to the blockage. The doctor inflates the balloon to widen the artery, then deflates it and removes the catheter. A small wire mesh tube (stent) is often placed on the outside of the balloon tip of the catheter. When expanded, the stent locks into place to keep the artery open.
  • Bypass surgery. During this procedure, surgeons take a blood vessel from another part of the body and use it to create an alternative route for blood to go around the blocked artery.
  • Emergency dissection repair. You may need emergency surgery to repair an aortic dissection — a life-threatening condition in which the artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body ruptures.
  • Lung reinflation. If you have a collapsed lung, a health care provider may insert a tube in the chest to reinflate the lung.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can be a beneficial treatment option for chest pain caused by musculoskeletal problems such as muscle strain, costochondritis, and rib fractures. It is non-invasive and can help alleviate pain, improve function, and prevent recurrence. Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to help manage chest pain, such as:

  • Exercise: Physical therapists will design an exercise program that is specific to the individual’s needs and goals. This can include stretching and strengthening exercises to improve flexibility and muscle strength, as well as cardiovascular exercises to improve heart health.
  • Manual therapy: Techniques such as massage and mobilization can help to reduce pain and improve mobility in the chest area.
  • Education: Physical therapists will educate patients on proper body mechanics and postures, to help prevent recurrence of chest pain.
  • Breathing exercises: Physical therapists can teach patients techniques to improve breathing patterns and reduce muscle tension in the chest area.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes can be an effective treatment option for chest pain, particularly for those with chest pain caused by conditions such as angina and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some common lifestyle changes that can help alleviate chest pain include:

  • Quitting smoking: Smoking can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease, which can lead to chest pain. Quitting smoking can help to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Eating a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is low in saturated fats and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Engaging in regular exercise: Regular exercise can help to improve cardiovascular fitness and reduce the risk of heart disease. Physical activity can also help to alleviate stress, which can contribute to chest pain.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight can increase the risk of heart disease and GERD, both of which can cause chest pain.
  • Reducing stress: Stress can contribute to chest pain and other symptoms related to heart disease. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation, can help to reduce stress and alleviate chest pain.
  • Avoiding triggers: Some people with GERD may experience chest pain as a result of certain foods or beverages. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can help to prevent chest pain.

Note that chest pain can have multiple causes and lifestyle changes alone may not be enough to alleviate the pain.

It is important to seek medical attention if you experience chest pain, as it could be a symptom of a serious underlying condition. A healthcare professional will be able to perform diagnostic tests and provide the most appropriate treatment for your specific condition.