Pressure pain is one of the most common types of pain. There can be many things behind pressure pain in the chest or stomach area, from a life-threatening illness to a harmless bruise. Depending on where in the abdomen or where in the chest the pain is located, conclusions can be drawn about the underlying disease.
How does pressure pain feel?
Pressure pain means both pressing pain and pain that can be triggered by pressure, for example by pressing in the abdominal wall with your hand.
Life-threatening pressure pain in the chest
In the worst case, sudden chest pain is an expression of a heart attack, which is why the emergency services must be called immediately.
Typical of a heart attack are pain radiating to the left or right shoulder, jaw, back or upper abdomen. They are often felt as oppressive, like a feeling of tightness behind the breastbone or like a weight on the chest.
Another life-threatening, albeit rare, cause is a tear in the main artery (“aorta”). The pain is described as “devastating” and often radiates between the shoulder blades.
If the tear extends into the abdominal aorta, the pain travels from the chest or back to the abdomen.
The thoracic spine as a cause of pain
But not every pressure pain in the chest is a life-threatening clinical picture. Diseases of the thoracic spine, such as muscle tension and signs of wear and tear, are also very often the trigger.
If the chest pain was gradual and worsened with movement, there may be an orthopedic problem .
Chest pain in the woman
Especially in connection with menstruation, many women suffer from breast pain in the sense of tension and heaviness in the period before their period.
Mainly breastfeeding women can also develop a painful breast inflammation (“mastitis”): The breasts are swollen and red, the nipples are very sensitive to touch, and there is also a fever and general weakness.
Chest pain in the man
Men can also experience nipple inflammation caused by bacteria, which sometimes develops into larger melts (“abscesses”).
If breast tissue pain persists and there are visible changes in the nipple, breast cancer must also be considered – in both women and men.
Pressure pain in the upper abdomen
The stomach is located in the upper abdomen. Pressure pain, which occurs in connection with food intake and is often accompanied by nausea, flatulence or vomiting, is often caused by an inflammation of the lining of the stomach (“gastritis”) or a stomach ulcer (“gastric ulcer”).
If the pain gets better after eating, it is typically a duodenal ulcer (“duodenal ulcer”).
Sour belching after eating
Also common are pressing upper abdominal pain in connection with heartburn (“reflux”), ie a belching of stomach acid. The symptoms mainly occur after eating and worsen when lying down, as the stomach acid runs back into the esophagus.
Belt-shaped upper abdominal pain
The pancreas is located behind the stomach and small intestine in the upper abdomen. This can become inflamed, which then causes the strongest, belt-shaped pain that radiates to the back.
Inflammation of the pancreas can be triggered, among other things, by excessive alcohol consumption or a passage obstruction by a gallstone.
Pain in the right upper abdomen from the gallbladder
The gallbladder is located in the right upper abdomen, below the costal arch . Spasmodic pain in the upper right abdomen, typically radiating to the right shoulder and sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of fullness, may indicate biliary colic from gallstones. When palpating the abdomen, pressure pain can classically be triggered in the right upper to middle abdomen.
Gallstones in the gallbladder sometimes clog the downstream bile ducts. If there is a long-term problem with the drainage of the bile, yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes (“jaundice”), discoloration of the stool or an intense yellowing of urine can be observed.
If there is a fever or chills in addition to the pressure pain in the right upper abdomen , there may be an inflammation of the gallbladder (“cholecystitis”). This is often the result of gallstone disease.