5 Types of Chest Pain

What are the common types of chest pain?

  1. Angina
  2. Heart attack
  3. Pericarditis
  4. Pleurisy
  5. Pneumonia


  • Chest pain is a condition that demands attention, as it serves as a warning sign of a potentially serious health concern.
  • Common types of chest pain include angina, heart attack, pericarditis, pleurisy, and pneumonia.
  • While medications are available to alleviate symptoms, consulting a physician before taking any medication remains essential.

Chest pain refers to sensations of discomfort or pain experienced anywhere—from the area spanning the neck to the upper abdomen. While many immediately think of a heart attack, it can come from various places, including the heart, lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, tendons, and nerves.

This article explores the different types of chest pain, its symptoms, and the drugs used to treat them.


Angina, also known as angina pectoris, occurs when the heart muscle doesn't receive enough oxygen-rich blood. This is typically due to blockages in the heart's arteries—a common characteristic of coronary heart disease. This condition manifests as chest pain or discomfort, often described as pressure, squeezing, tightness, or burning sensations. 

Similar to a heart attack, angina pain can extend to the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back, and it may even evoke sensations resembling an upset stomach. The symptoms may differ between women and men.

Heart Attack

Heart Attack

According to a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority, heart disease, including heart attacks, remained the leading cause of death in the country in 2023, with a reported total of 85,192 cases.

During a heart attack, blood flow to a section of the heart is either severely reduced or completely blocked, leading to injury or death of the affected heart muscle. As a result, the compromised heart muscle's ability to pump blood is impaired, which can disrupt the overall pumping function of the organ.

Common symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, alongside other indicators such as pain in the jaw, neck, or back, feelings of lightheadedness or weakness, pain in the arms or shoulders, and shortness of breath. In females, there may be additional manifestations like sudden tiredness, nausea, or vomiting.


Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardium, a delicate, two-layered sac containing fluid that envelops the heart's outer surface. This condition typically arises abruptly and can last for weeks to months. 

It may lead to the accumulation of excess fluid between the pericardial layers, termed pericardial effusion. Its symptoms usually involve sharp chest pain aggravated by breathing but eased by sitting upright. 

This pain often accompanies an irregular heartbeat, known as a pericardial friction rub. Shortness of breath is common, along with neck or shoulder discomfort ranging from mild to severe. Fever may also occur.



Pleurisy, also known as pleuritis, occurs when the lining around your lungs or the lining on the inside wall of your chest becomes inflamed and swollen. This inflammation causes the two layers to rub against each other, resulting in sharp pains.

The main symptom of pleurisy is a sharp, stabbing, or knife-like chest pain localized to a specific area. This pain worsens with deep breathing or coughing and may extend to the shoulder or back. Individuals often adjust their breathing to ease discomfort. 

Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, coughing, fever, and extreme fatigue.


Pneumonia, an infection affecting the lungs, can stem from bacteria, viruses, or fungi. This illness triggers inflammation and swelling in lung tissue, often resulting in the accumulation of fluid or pus. It may target one or both lungs, with bilateral or double pneumonia affecting both lungs simultaneously.

Symptoms of pneumonia, such as sharp chest pain during breathing, coughing, fever, shortness of breath, and increased sweating, require immediate attention from a medical professional—regardless of whether it is classified as bacterial, viral, or fungal, as all forms can be equally life-threatening.

Key Takeaway

Chest pain is a symptom that can indicate various health issues, some of which may necessitate urgent medical attention. Understanding the different types of chest pain enables you to grasp potential underlying causes and assess the urgency of seeking medical treatment.

The Generics Pharmacy (TGP) maintains its position as a leading retailer of quality, cost-effective generic medicines, offering a broad range of affordable options. With a commitment to serving every Filipino, we aim to provide accessible and high-quality generic medicines and healthcare products, fostering a healthier and more productive life for all. Find a TGP branch near you today!

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