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Pictures: Surprising Causes of Chest Pain

Find out more about some of the things your doctor does at your annual physical.

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Pictures: Knee Pain Dos and Don’ts

Costochondritis This is when the tissue in your rib cage gets inflamed because of arthritis, an injury, or infection. You may feel a sharp, aching pain or pressure in your sides. It could get worse after you work out or move your torso a lot. There’s no cure, and it can last up to a year. Over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen can help. A warm compress or heating pad at the site of the pain will give relief, too.

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Pleurisy If taking a deep breath, coughing, or sneezing brings on chest pain, the lining of your lungs may be inflamed. Called pleurisy, this can be caused by a virus, bacterial infection, or certain drugs you take. Lots of fluids and over-the-counter ibuprofen, like Advil or Motrin, can help. But if you also have a fever or your pain lasts more than a few days, check in with your doctor.

locked Spleen This organ lives behind your left ribcage and helps protect your body from infection. It’s rare, but blood flow to your spleen can get blocked because of a blood clot, infection, or disease. If that happens, the tissue there can start to die. This is called a splenic infarction. Some people have no symptoms, but others have chest pain, often on their left side. It can get better with medication but can become serious if it’s not treated.

Pinched Nerve If you’ve pinched a nerve in your neck or collarbone, you may feel pain in your chest or back. Too much pressure on a nerve can keep it from working the way it should. You could have a tingling “pins and needles” feeling, and your skin could become very tender. This usually can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief and steroid shots. If that doesn’t help, surgery may be needed to ease the pressure.

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