Chest | Pulmonology | Chest Tightness (Symptom)
The pressure in the chest is the sensation of feeling a weight on the chest area, with or without pain. It is sometimes described as a feeling of a band tightening around the chest or something heavy sitting on the chest.
The source of tightness may arise from a variety of potential sources: the chest wall including the ribs, the muscles, and the skin; the back including the spine, the nerves, and the back muscles; the lung, the pleura or the trachea; the heart including the pericardium; the aorta; the esophagus; the diaphragm, the flat muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities; referred pain from abdominal organs like the stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas.
The pressure in the chest can be a symptom of disorders such as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease. This may be accompanied by changes in respiration, respiratory pain radiating to the back may be pleuritic pain (usually caused by dryness or inflammation of the sac surrounding the lungs) or muscle soreness.
Other causes of chest tightness are anxiety and more serious conditions such as anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction) or heart disease which includes increased heart rate (tachycardia), heart attack (myocardial infarction) and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).