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Dr. Mark Hosko, MD, January 6 2023

Can I Go To Urgent Care For Chest Pain?

Learn More About Diagnosis & Treatment for Chest Pain at Urgent Care

Chest pain can occur anywhere on your chest. Your back, lungs, ribs, muscles, or the center of your chest may hurt. Sharp or mild chest pain can occur. In addition, you may have tightness, ache, or the sensation of your chest being crushed or squeezed. However, not all chest pain indicates a heart attack.

You may also feel chest tightness, discomfort, or a crushing sensation. Not all chest pain is heart-related. Any chest pain is concerning, and you may wonder if you need an ER or urgent treatment. Some chest pains are harmless, while others may indicate a dangerous problem. Learn about chest discomfort and its causes to make an informed health decision. If someone's in danger, call 911.

Can you go to urgent care for chest pain?

Chest pain can be frightening, especially if it is your first time experiencing this form of pain. Whatever the case may be, it is something that must be addressed as quickly as it could be serious. Contrary to popular opinion, chest pain may not always signify a heart attack or even a cardiovascular issue. In certain circumstances, going to the emergency room is the best option; in others, several 24-hour urgent care centers can provide considerably more economical treatment.

What are the symptoms of chest pain?

Depending on the body part causing chest pain, the symptoms can vary. However, if you have chest pain and any of the following symptoms, it's time to see a medical professional:

What are common causes of chest pain?

Although most people identify chest pain with heart attacks, it can be caused by several other things. Chest pain or discomfort is frequently caused by issues with the muscles, nerves, esophagus, lungs, or ribs. Unfortunately, because chest pain can indicate life-threatening health problems, it's critical to get medical help to pinpoint the source of the problem. 

Chest discomfort is typically described as a severe, aching, dull, stabbing, or burning sensation. If your symptoms are due to a cardiac condition, you may also experience a squeezing, tightening, or crushing sensation. Chest pain can be caused by a variety of factors, as quite a few internal organs are in your chest.

Here are a few things besides heart attacks that can cause chest pain:

Chest pain can be caused by esophageal spasms, gastrointestinal issues, lung diseases, rib joint inflammation, and other conditions. Your urgent care physician will assess your symptoms and, if required, order tests to make a diagnosis. Do not allow chest pain to go on for days before seeing a doctor as this puts your life in danger. 

When should you go to urgent care for chest pain?

If you are experiencing non-cardiac chest discomfort, you should visit one of your local 24-hour urgent care centers. Because most urgent care centers have a wait time of fewer than 15 minutes, you are more likely to get your urgent medical needs treated faster than you would in a hospital. 

Of course, it might be difficult to tell if your chest discomfort is life-threatening or not, which is why, regardless of whether you have cardiac disease, you should get medical help right once. If your chest discomfort is new or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, you should immediately go to the emergency department. If you have been treated for chest discomfort in the past but do not have some of the more significant symptoms listed, you might find that urgent care facilities can help.

Can chest pain resolve itself on its own?

Depending on the cause of chest pain, it can resolve independently. For example, chest pain from a gallstone will cause serious pain for an hour or two but will stop when the stone passes through. Likewise, gas and heartburn may eventually go away on their own, too, as your body works through the situation. 

If you have chest pain and do not know the cause, you need to seek medical attention immediately as it could be serious enough to cause harm to your life. For people who often experience heartburn or gas or other normal conditions for their body, then you may not need to go. However, make sure you know the symptoms of more severe heart problems and see a doctor when in doubt. 

What happens if chest pain doesn't go away?

A heart attack causes chest pain that lasts longer and is more intense than chest pain caused by stable angina. Angina's chest discomfort normally starts mild and steadily worsens over several minutes to a peak. After 5 to 10 minutes or after taking doctor-monitored medicine, stable angina usually goes away. 

It can be difficult to distinguish between unstable angina and a heart attack. Unstable angina occurs when the regular pattern of stable angina changes, such as chest pain occurring at rest or with less and less exercise, or chest pain becoming more intense or lasting longer. If you or someone else is experiencing chest pain that will not end, take them to an ER immediately. 

Some types of chest pain should be taken to the ER, especially if they linger longer than five minutes. 

New or unexplained chest pain may be accompanied by shortness of breath, a cold sweat, nausea, exhaustion, or lightheadedness. The pain, pressure, or discomfort may radiate from your chest to your arms, back, jaw, neck, and upper abdomen. These could indicate a heart attack or myocardial infarction, which may be indicated by persistent and severe discomfort in these regions.

How long is prolonged chest pain?

Imagine you are sipping coffee at the kitchen table when chest pain strikes like a flash of lightning. It's abrupt, quick, and stabbing. The sensation, which many people compare to receiving an electrical shock, lasts only a few seconds. Quick zaps like this are rarely suggestive of a heart attack characterized by excruciating agony that lasts several minutes. 

Heart attack or angina symptoms differ widely from person to person. Some folks show no signs or symptoms at all. Others have excruciating chest pain. Others may only have arm, throat, or jaw pain. However, the soreness is usually persistent, lasting five minutes or longer.

Most often, prolonged chest pain indicates an issue with the lungs. Every breath or cough causes chest agony. Moving and changing positions makes the pain worse. Causes include lung infections like pneumonia, lung inflammation (pleurisy), lung clots, and anaphylaxis. All of these issues can cause, nonetheless cause, concern and extended pain and discomfort. 

Call or see a doctor immediately if you suspect a lung problem for you or someone else. 

How do you know if chest pain is muscle or lung?

Muscle pain usually stems from exercise, trauma, or lifting heavy weights. Symptoms of chest wall pain include pain that gets worse when you move your chest or upper spine, pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply, sneeze, or cough, and an area of soreness or tenderness within the chest wall and upper back pain. However, muscles on the lungs can make it difficult to determine if the pain is lung-related or muscle-related. 

While some causes of left-sided lung pain are minor, some can be considered serious. Look for symptoms such as pain spreading down the left arm, coughing blood, pale lips or fingernails, difficulty breathing, or a high temperature. If a person has these or other symptoms, they should dial 911 or arrange for someone to drive them to the nearest emergency room.

How does urgent care treat chest pain?

First, urgent care will determine the cause, and if it's serious, they will redirect or arrange transport via an ambulance to the closest emergency room. If the pain does not need an emergency room, the doctor will run tests and create a comprehensive plan. They will rule out different types of issues to ensure the right diagnosis. 

You can expect a full exam, labs, and tests before leaving. Thankfully, urgent cares usually have much shorter waiting times, and you can expect pain relief quickly. Tell the doctor all of your symptoms and activities to help them better diagnose you and get you feeling well again. 

Why choose Portland Urgent Care for chest pain treatment?

Portland Urgent Care provides a comprehensive range of healthcare treatments so patients can live their lives. We also use a combination of western and eastern medical methods and practices to give you the best care possible. If you have chest pain, visit a doctor immediately.. A heart attack requires an ER or ambulance, almost everything else is treatable at our clinic.

We treat chest discomfort. We have a lab, diagnostic tools, and more to help you recover from discomfort. You do not need to suffer and self-treat when we can help you right away. 


For patients experiencing chest discomfort in Portland, the expert team of physicians and medical professionals at Portland Urgent Care is ready to provide rapid diagnosis, effective treatment, and potentially life-saving care. Use this resource to learn more about what's causing your symptoms and when visiting an emergency room for chest discomfort is necessary or when you can utilize urgent care. Call and schedule an appointment today or simply walk in and get the help you need for chest pain.

Looking To Solve or Relieve Pain? Visit Portland Urgent Care for the Following Services:

Stomach Pain

Headaches & Migraines

Back Pain

Neck Pain

Knee Pain

Sprains & Strains

Sore Throat

Earaches & Ear Infections

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Written by

Dr. Mark Hosko, MD

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