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How do I Treat a Chest Cramp?

By Patti Kate
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The best way to treat a chest cramp is to identify the cause. For instance, if your cramp is due to a muscle tear, resting and refraining from over exertion is one way to treat the symptoms. Ice may also help. If the cramp is from heartburn, there are over-the-counter remedies you can try. If you are uncertain of the cause of your chest discomfort, or it is a recurring symptom, it is best to get a diagnosis from a physician.

A chest cramp may develop due to various causes. Some may be minor annoyances that are easily treated, while others can be caused by something more serious. One of the most serious causes of chest cramps is a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms may vary with each individual, although a common symptom is pain and pressure in the chest. A heart attack can be fatal if left untreated, which is why medical attention must be sought if this is believed to be the cause. A heart attack should never be self treated.

Acid indigestion is a common cause of chest discomfort. A cramp caused by over-eating or excess acid produced by certain foods can be treated with an over-the-counter antacid. Medications that contain sodium bicarbonate may relieve the symptoms. Calcium carbonate, as found in many common chewable tablets, may also help.

Treatment of a chest cramp caused by a broken rib will typically involve taking pain killers prescribed by a physician, or by using over-the-counter analgesics. A strap or belt made from elastic may be wrapped around the rib area. This will compress the area and help avoid movement that can lead to pain or delay in healing.

There are other ways to treat a chest cramp from indigestion. Many people prefer natural substances or homeopathic remedies. Drinking a cup of chamomile tea may help control symptoms of indigestion because chamomile is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Many people use chamomile for treating stomach-related issues known to cause bloating, pressure, and pain.

For a chest cramp and pain brought on by asthma or an asthma attack, a way to ease the discomfort is with steam, which can open the airways and relieve chest pressure. One way to do this by running a hot shower and closing the bathroom door. Sitting in the steam-filled room for 10 or 15 minutes may help. Alternately, inhaling steam from a pot or personal-sized steam inhaler or vaporizer may be beneficial as well.

Treating chest pain caused by pneumonia may involve a different type of treatment. For bacterial pneumonia, a doctor will often prescribe a course of antibiotics to treat the infection. Once the infection has cleared, fluid or mucus in the airways and lungs will gradually decrease, reducing chest discomfort or pain.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Ruggercat68 — On Aug 20, 2014

One time I had a chest cramp that felt just like a charlie horse spasm in my calf muscle. It wouldn't stop seizing up. I think I picked something heavy up the wrong way, and I pulled a muscle in my chest. I had to lie in bed until the spasms stopped. I think I may have put a heating pad on my chest after that.

I had a relative who actually suffered a heart attack and he said the chest pains were different that a muscle cramp or pull. He said it was more of a pressure in his chest, especially on the left side. A pulled chest muscle is more of a sharp pain and doesn't radiate all over the area.

By RocketLanch8 — On Aug 19, 2014

I've pulled a chest muscle a few times while working out with weights, and I have usually taken some analgesics to handle the pain. Sometimes I'll rub some of that heated sports cream if the pain is really bad. The one thing I've found that doesn't work for me is massage. For whatever reason, a pulled muscle in my chest is just too painful for that kind of hands-on treatment.

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