Waking up with chest pain might seem alarming, but before you start writing your will in a frenzy, it is not always serious. Yes, chest pain is related to your heart. But not always, as minor problems like stress or indigestion might be behind your aching chest. However, this is no reason to play it off as a minor problem; always consult your doctor when your chest hurts. We will list some possible causes of chest pain.
Reasons Why You Are Waking Up with Chest Pain
1. Heart-Related Reasons
Pain in the center or left side of your chest might indicate a heart issue like inflammation or a heart attack. Waking up with chest pain along with tightness or heaviness in your chest and upper back can be due to:
- Angina: chest pain that occurs due to insufficient blood flow to the heart and might become worse when you breathe or lie down.
- Myocarditis: rapid or abnormal heart rhythm due to inflammation in the heart muscle.
- Pericarditis: inflammation in the sac around the heart that causes chest pain which increases when you lie down or breathe.
- Aortic dissection or rupture: the main artery leading from the heart (aorta) tears when its inner layers separate, a life-threatening condition that causes chest pain.
- Heart attack: a medical emergency when there is a blockage in the artery providing blood to the heart muscle, typically due to a blood clot.
2. Digestion-Related Reasons
Digestive issues are also possible reasons you might wake up with chest pain. Furthermore, additional symptoms like bloating, nausea, and an upset stomach might also occur. Some digestive issues that make your chest hurt when you wake up are:
- Heartburn: pain with a burning sensation is most likely due to acid reflux or GERD. It occurs when corrosive stomach acids back up into the esophagus.
- Dysphagia: painful and difficult swallowing due to swallowing disorders. This symptom occurs due to an issue at the top of the throat or down the esophagus.
- Pancreatitis: inflammation in the pancreas can cause upper abdominal pain that often extends to the chest, sometimes waking up the affected individual.
- Gallstones: stones and inflammation in the gallbladder can result in abdominal pain that spreads to the chest.
- Peptic Ulcer: an open sore that appears on the stomach’s lining or the small intestine. These stomach ulcers can cause stomach pain that radiates to the chest.
3. Respiratory-Related Reasons
Chest pain is a primary symptom of respiratory issues. Sharp, stabbing, or burning pain on either side of the chest and the diaphragm usually occurs due to respiratory diseases. Changes in breathing or movements can hurt your chest and might be the reason you are waking up in pain. These causes include:
- Pleurisy: inflammation in the membrane around your lungs and the inner wall of the chest cavity can result in chest pain that is aggravated with breathing or coughing.
- Pulmonary Hypertension: a tight feeling in the chest due to high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries can increase the heartbeat and cause pain.
- Pulmonary embolism: chest tightness and pain similar to a heart attack that occurs when one of the lung arteries gets blocked by a blood clot, stopping blood flow to the lung tissue.
What to do Next?
Waking up with chest pain is not always serious, but it always calls for a visit to the doctor. Multiple issues, like indigestion, heart problems, or respiratory conditions, can contribute to chest pain after sleeping. See the doctor as soon as you can when your chest hurts. You can also pick up the phone to dial 281-252-8600 and schedule an appointment with our Internal Medicine and Diagnostic Center.