Right Side Chest Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Effective Treatment Options
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Jun, 2024

Right Side Chest Pain

Right side chest pain can be concerning, as it may indicate a variety of underlying conditions, ranging from benign causes to potentially life-threatening ones.

Symptoms of Right Side Chest Pain

Right-sided chest pain can be alarming and may indicate various underlying conditions. Symptoms associated with right side chest pain may include:
  • Sharp or Dull Pain: The pain may vary from sharp and stabbing to dull and achy in nature.
  • Localized Pain: Pain may be confined to the right side of the chest or may radiate to the back, abdomen, shoulder or arm.
  • Breathing Difficulties: Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing may accompany right side chest pain.
  • Tenderness: The area of pain may feel tender to touch or may worsen with certain movements.
  • Other Symptoms: Depending on the underlying cause, other symptoms such as fever, cough, nausea, vomiting, sweating, or palpitations may be present.

Causes of Right Side Chest Pain

Several conditions can cause right side chest pain, including:
  • Musculoskeletal Issues: Muscle strain, rib injury, or inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone (costochondritis) can cause localized pain on the right side of the chest.
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders: Acid reflux, gastritis, gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis), or gallstones can lead to right side chest pain, often accompanied by symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion, or abdominal discomfort.
  • Respiratory Conditions: Pneumonia, pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lungs), pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung), or pneumothorax (collapsed lung) may cause sharp right-sided chest pain, particularly worsened by breathing or coughing.
  • Cardiac Issues: While left-sided chest pain is more commonly associated with heart-related problems like a heart attack, certain cardiac conditions such as pericarditis (inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart) or angina (chest pain due to reduced blood flow to the heart) can cause right side chest pain.


Diagnosing the cause of right side chest pain involves a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional. Diagnostic tests may include:
  • Physical Examination: The healthcare provider will assess the location, nature, and severity of the pain, as well as other associated symptoms.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays, CT scans, or ultrasound imaging may be performed to visualize the structures within the chest and identify any abnormalities.
  • Laboratory Tests: Blood tests may be ordered to check for signs of infection, inflammation, or cardiac markers.


Treatment for right side chest pain depends on the underlying cause and may include:
  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort.
  • Addressing Underlying Conditions: Treatment may involve medications, lifestyle modifications, or surgical intervention to manage conditions such as acid reflux, pneumonia, or gallbladder inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy: For musculoskeletal causes, physical therapy exercises and techniques may help relieve pain and improve mobility.
  • Emergency Care: If chest pain is severe or accompanied by symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, or sweating, immediate medical attention is necessary to rule out life-threatening conditions such as a heart attack or pulmonary embolism.


Right side chest pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, ranging from musculoskeletal issues to cardiac or respiratory problems. It is essential not to ignore chest pain, especially if it is severe, persistent, or associated with other concerning symptoms. Seeking prompt medical evaluation and diagnosis is crucial for determining the underlying cause and initiating appropriate treatment.


1. What could be causing pain on the right side of my chest?

Right side chest pain can be caused by various reasons, including muscle strains, rib injuries, gastrointestinal issues like acid reflux or gallbladder problems, lung conditions like pneumonia or pleurisy, and even heart-related issues like angina.

2. When should I be concerned about right side chest pain?

You should be concerned if the chest pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, or radiating pain to the arm or jaw. It's crucial to seek medical attention promptly in such cases.

3. How can I differentiate between a heart attack and other causes of right side chest pain?

While both heart-related and non-heart-related chest pain can occur on the right side, heart attack pain is often described as pressure, tightness, or squeezing sensation in the chest that may radiate to the arm, jaw, or back. It's typically accompanied by other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, or sweating.

4. What lifestyle changes can help alleviate right side chest pain?

Making dietary adjustments, avoiding triggers like spicy foods or alcohol, managing stress levels, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking can all contribute to reducing the frequency and severity of chest pain.

5. Can anxiety or panic attacks cause right side chest pain?

Yes, anxiety or panic attacks can cause chest pain, including on the right side. The chest pain associated with anxiety or panic attacks is often described as sharp or stabbing and may be accompanied by palpitations, sweating, dizziness, or a sense of impending doom.

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