Precordial Pain


Precordium is the portion of body that is over the heart and on lower part of chest. Precordial chest pain may indicate a variety of illnesses such as costochondritis and viral pericarditis. Precordial pain may be described as sharp intense pain that is often sudden in onset and occurs in short duration. The pain arises on the left side of chest especially near the nipple area. Unlike pain associated with heart attack, the precordial pain tends to be fairly localized and doesn’t radiate. It worsens with movement or when one is taking a deeper breath-in or breath-out. This pain can distract a person from their normal activity; however, this is only temporarily.

People who experience this pain tend to have shallow breathing in order to reduce the pain. The intensity of pain can vary in individuals— with some people experiencing dull persistent pain and others feeling highly intense and stabbing pain in chest. Although the pain may be intense, it most cases, it is temporary and short lived.

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The pain usually lasts for about 30 seconds but at times can last up to 30 minutes and rarely does it persist for longer. In some cases, a kind of lingering ache can continue after the initial pain fades off. Generally, precordial pain is subsides quickly and resolves completely in people.

Most of the episodes of this pain will occur when a person is resting or in an inactive state. People may experience the pain when lying down, sitting, or resting. It may also occur in people after they have a sudden change in their posture. This pain is thought to arise due to localized cramping of muscle tissue within the chest area. However, the exact cause is not clearly understood.

Doctors and scientists suggest that the pain arises due to slight compression of nerve and the corresponding spasm of the intercostal muscle fibers in the chest wall. Sometimes, precordial pain may be associated with things like anxiety and stress. The frequency of the pain will vary from one individual to another and at times, some people may experience it a few times a day or infrequently over months.

It is not considered a life threatening condition and it may not be a cause for alarm. There may be no need for treatment nor is there cure for it. This pain can be experienced in healthy individuals and it is mostly in young people. And, by adulthood, it will mostly resolve and disappear.

Precordial pain is also known as precordial catch syndrome or stitch in the side. It is not threatening, but it causes pain in back and chest, which resemble that of heart attack. In fact, the chest pain may be similar to that experienced during a heart attack and some people may actually panic and seek emergency medical care.

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Sometimes, the condition may cause a feeling of popping or cracking in chest when an individual inhales or exhales. It is often localized in precordium or the external surface of body that covers the heart and lower chest. When an individual breathes in deeply for a couple of minutes, relief may occur.

The condition was first introduced by Miller and Texidor in 1955. These were reportedly the first patients who reported experiencing the syndrome.

Precordial Pain

Symptoms of precordial pain

Individuals with precordial chest pain will experience a number of symptoms, which include pain upon taking some deep breath, pain with movement, chest pain that is sudden and localized or sharp and stabbing. They also experience tearing sensation when they breathe deeply.

Popping and cracking sounds are experienced when breathing deeply. A person may have muscle cramps and spasms. The pain lasts anywhere from some few seconds to about 30 minutes though it is usually a few minutes. The pain may feel like some needle pricks. Other symptoms may include pain that occurs with some little or no movement, temporary vision loss, blurry vision, and a dull ache when the pain eventually subsides.

The pain may worsen with deep breathing. People with precordial catch syndrome may also experience paleness, facial flushing, dizziness, prickly and tingling sensation in skin, temporary loss of consciousness, and difficult breathing or heart palpitations.

Treatment of precordial chest pain

The symptoms only persist for a short duration and therefore, medications may tend to be ineffective in relieving the pain. This condition rarely interferes with day-to-day life. It however can be treated by lying down on bed with the face down, breathing lightly, and taking some several rapid deep breaths especially if the pain is being caused by muscle spasms.

You may want to seek medical help when you experience pain in chest. Chest pain can be caused by many things and it may be a sign of heart attack or angina. However, precordial chest pain will fade away within a few minutes and disappear. Mostly, you will not need any treatment.

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