Chest Pain That Comes and Goes: Causes & Tips

This article explores the various reasons for chest pain that comes and goes, along with symptoms and advice on when to seek medical attention.


Introduction: Unraveling the Mystery of Chest Pain

Chest pain is a common complaint, but it can be puzzling when it comes and goes. It might signal a severe problem in some cases, while in others, it could be harmless.

So, what do you think causes chest pain that comes and goes, and when should you be concerned? This article will explore the answers to these questions, helping you understand the possible reasons for this type of pain and how to respond.


Common Causes of Chest Pain That Comes and Goes

1. Angina Pectoris

Angina pectoris, often called angina, is a type of chest pain that comes and goes, typically occurring during physical exertion or emotional stress.

This pain is caused by inadequate blood flow to the heart, usually due to narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Angina is considered a coronary artery disease (CAD) symptom and can be a warning sign of an impending heart attack.

According to the American Heart Association, there are two main types of angina: stable and unstable. Stable angina is predictable and manageable, while unstable angina is unpredictable and requires urgent medical attention.

2. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and irritation.

This condition can cause chest pain that comes and goes, often after eating or when lying down. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that GERD is a common cause of chest pain and may sometimes be confused with angina.

3. Costochondritis

Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone.

This condition can cause chest pain that comes and goes, usually upon movement or when taking a deep breath. According to the Cleveland Clinic, costochondritis is generally harmless and often resolves independently within a few weeks.


When to Seek Medical Help for Chest Pain

It’s essential to know when to seek medical help for chest pain that comes and goes.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Severe, sudden chest pain
  • Chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness, or fainting
  • Chest pain that radiates to the jaw, arm, or back
  • Chest pain lasting longer than a few minutes

These symptoms may indicate a heart attack or another severe cardiovascular event. Early intervention can save lives and prevent long-term damage.


How to Manage Chest Pain That Comes and Goes

1. Lifestyle Changes

Many causes of chest pain that come and go can be managed through lifestyle changes.

For instance, adopting a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking can help alleviate angina symptoms. Similarly, dietary changes and weight loss can help manage GERD-related chest pain.

2. Over-the-Counter Remedies

For some types of chest pain, over-the-counter remedies may provide relief.

For example, antacids and acid reducers can help alleviate GERD-related chest pain, while over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve pain caused by costochondritis. However, please always consult your healthcare provider before starting new drugs.

3. Medical Treatment

In some cases, medical treatment may be necessary to address the underlying cause of chest pain that comes and goes.

For example, people with severe angina may require medications, angioplasty, or even bypass surgery to improve blood flow to the heart. Similarly, those with persistent GERD may sometimes require prescription medications or surgery.


Prevention and Monitoring

While it’s not always possible to prevent chest pain that comes and goes, you can take steps to reduce your risk of developing certain conditions that cause this type of pain.

Some preventive measures include:

  • Eating a balanced, heart-healthy diet
  • Engaging in regular physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing stress
  • Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

Also, monitoring your symptoms and communicating with your healthcare provider is essential. Regular check-ups and discussing any changes in your chest pain can help ensure you receive appropriate care and treatment.


Conclusion: Understanding Chest Pain That Comes and Goes

In summary, chest pain that comes and goes can have various causes, ranging from angina pectoris and GERD to costochondritis.

Understanding the potential reasons for this type of pain is essential, as it can help you determine when to seek medical help and how to manage your symptoms effectively. Taking preventive measures and working closely with your healthcare provider can reduce your risk of developing serious complications and maintain your overall health.


  1. Askhan Forouzani / Unsplash



  1. American Heart Association
  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  3. Cleveland Clinic


Article Keywords:

chest pain that comes and goes, intermittent chest pain, angina pectoris, gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD, costochondritis, heart attack, coronary artery disease, CAD, medical help, lifestyle changes, prevention