Chest

Be-Your-Own Therapist Home Treatment

Treatments for Chest Pain

Home treatment is not appropriate for chest pain if the pain occurs with symptoms of a heart attack. If you think a heart attack might be the cause of your symptoms, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.

Home treatment for people who have been diagnosed with chest pain (angina):

Most people who have been diagnosed with angina have a pattern to their angina attacks that they can recognize. If you and your doctor have made a home treatment plan for your angina attacks, follow that plan. If the pain gets worse or does not go away or if you are unsure how to use your plan, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.

You may be able to control how much your angina bothers you by making changes in your lifestyle. You may find it helpful to:

  • Avoid strenuous activity that bring on angina.
  • Eat balanced, nutritious meals. Try to limit the amount of fats and fatty foods you eat.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Safe amounts are less than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. One drink is 12fl oz of beer, 5fl ozof wine, or 1.5fl ozof hard liquor. 
  • Do not drink every day.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products.
  • Reduce stress. 
  • Control your blood pressure with diet and medicine.
  • Avoid extremely cold or hot environments.
  • Take all medicines as instructed by your doctor.
  •  Follow the exercise or activity program you and your doctor developed.

If you do not need 911 emergency medical treatment for your chest pain or angina, take your pulse before reporting your symptoms to your doctor. Your heart rate and rhythm at the time of your chest pain may help your doctor evaluate your symptoms.

Home treatment for minor pain in the chest

Home treatment for minor chest pain depends on the cause of the pain. Minor chest pain often improves with home treatment. A visit to your health professional may not be needed.

Chest wall pain

For chest wall pain caused by strained muscles or ligaments or a fractured rib:

Rest. Rest and protect an injured or sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing your pain or soreness.

Ice. Cold will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an ice or cold pack immediately to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply warmth to the area that hurts.

Do not wrap or tape your ribs for support. This may cause you to take smaller breaths, which could increase your risk for developing pneumonia or partial lung collapse (atelectasis).

Medicated creams that you put on the skin (topical) may soothe sore muscles.

Gentle stretching and massage may help you get better faster. Stretch slowly to the point just before discomfort begins, then hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. Do this 3 to 4 times a day. It is really helpful after the use of heat.

As your pain gets better, slowly return to your normal activities. Any increased pain may mean that you need to rest a while longer.

Symptoms to Watch For During Home Treatment

Call 911 or go to nearest hospital if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • You have increased difficulty breathing.
  • Chest pain is not relieved by home treatment.
  • Chest pain lasts longer than 1 week.
  • Chronic pain has become worse or other symptoms have developed with the pain.
  • Symptoms become more severe or frequent.

Massage Techniques for the Chest

A chest massage should include strokes that pull up through the ribcage and over the pectoral muscles. Give a chest massage with tips from a massage instructor in this free video on massage therapy and techniques. 

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This website does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See additional information.
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