Our expert says:
Chest pain is a common complaint and there are many possible causes, as you are aware. The most common causes being of muscle, and joint origin.
A common gastrointestinal symptom, dyspepsia, may also explain chest pain. The nerves innervating you stomach are similar in origin to the ones supplying the heart. Non-steroidal antiinflammatories are linked to gastritis and peptic ulcer disease. Pain in the chest or above the upper abdomen with meals, when laying flat or associated with flatulence may indicate a gastric cause. When associated with sinister signs like loss of weight or bleeding, then lease consult your Doctor.
If the area of your chest (you have specified over the left side next to your sternum) is tender and painful to pressure and touch, you may have costochondritis, inflammation of the cartilage in the region of your ribs. This may also be experienced as a sharp pain, as you have described.
If there is pain on breathing, then this suggests, lung or a pleural cause and may even indicate a muscular cause.
If the pain is associated with other features like shortness of breath and coughing, then you should also consult your GP (lung clots, infection ect)
Angina is a symptom of ischeamic heart disease. The pain is central, crushing and constrictive, relieved by rest and worsened with exertion. In the presence of cardiac risk factors, coronary artery disease should also be excluded.
Your pain, in summary, sounds very atypical and likely to be of a superficial nature, such as a muscle or joint related cause.
Should the pain be persistent despite routine analgesia, or entail one or more of the sinister features that I have noted above, then consult you GP ASAP.
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