Introduction to Chest Pain in Teens
It is estimated that chest pain occurs frequently among teenagers. Each year this symptom leads approximately 650,000 teenagers between the age of 10 and 18 to their doctors. Chest pain tends to worry teenagers and can make them anxious. Fortunately, in majority of teenagers it is not related to heart conditions such as angina or heart attack. However, it is essential to identify the underlying cause and if necessary treat it accordingly.
Generally chest pain in this particular age group occurs due to physical activity of some kind. The child may become frightened and refuse to engage in any kind of strenuous activity. Consultation with a doctor and examination will help them understand the problem and how to behave in the future.
What are Causes of Chest Pain in Teens?
There are three major contributors to chest pain in teens and they include respiratory problems, muscle pull and certain gastrointestinal problems.
Respiratory disorders in teenagers include bronchitis, asthma and allergic cough. Each of them has specific symptoms and signs and all may cause chest pain. If a teenager suffers from any of the motioned conditions he/ she will additionally complain about cough, wheezing and breathing difficulties. These conditions are successfully treated and brought under control with specific medications.
Precordial catch syndrome and chostrochondritis are two types of pulled muscles in the chest which commonly cause chest pain in teenagers. In case of precordial catch syndrome the teen will typically complain about sharp chest pain that lasts no longer than 30 seconds. The pain makes a person feel restless and agitated. Even after the pain has subsided the person may feel discomfort. The condition is caused by poor posture and generally occurs if one has been sitting in the same position for a long time. Furthermore, the pain may be associated with a sudden stop after running at high speed. Chostrochondritis is a type of chest pain which predominantly affects girls. It features with swelling of the joints connecting the ribs with the sternum. The swelling is accompanied by pain and one may experience breathing difficulties. Additional symptom is numbness which tends to spread across the chest, back and abdomen. Chostrochondritis typically occurs after respiratory infections and it may also develop due to physical exercise.
And finally, one more common cause of chest pain in teens is associated with gastrointestinal problems such as hyperacidity and subsequent heartburn. The presence of gas in the intestine may in some cases be interpreted as chest pain.
It may happen that the actual cause of chest pain simply cannot be identified. This is why chest pain in teenagers may be associated with stress and anxiety. Fortunately, teenagers do not frequently experience chest pain which is connected to serious heart or lung conditions. In case of heart conditions there are additional symptoms such as palpitations and increased perspiration.