Pain under Left Breast: Causes and Treatment

Pain in the chest area can be a concern not only for elderly people but also for healthy individuals alike. Depending on the possible cause of pain, there may be several interventions that can be implemented to alleviate the pain.

It is important to understand what caused the pain, and in order to do so; seeking medical attention or early diagnosis may be done. Here are some common medical conditions that are associated with pain under the left breast.

Heart Conditions

A common condition associated with chest pain is when a person has a cardiac problem. This type of pain can be characterized as sharp and recurrent, commonly occurs under the sternum, but could radiate to the neck, shoulder, jaw, or back. If a person feels that they are having this pain on a frequent basis, it will be best to see a medical doctor about it.

Heartburn or acid reflux

This is a common cause of pain in the left side of the thoracic cavity. This can be triggered by over-consumption of acidic food or drink. Bending over or lying down immediately after eating can also provoke heartburn or acid reflux. The pain can be described as sharp and sometimes can be mistaken as chest pain.

Rib Injuries

Pain around the thorax – specifically in the rib cage may be caused by the overstretching of the chest muscles or a blunt-force trauma to the chest, causing an inflammation of the intercostal muscles between the rib-area. Chest pain can also be caused by damage to the ribs and sternum brought about by crush-type injuries.


Pericarditis is the inflammation of the Pericardium – a thin sac-like membrane that surrounds the heart. Pericarditis may be acute, occurs shorter or chronic, which may have a longer duration. Symptoms may include but not be limited to the following:

  • sharp pain on the left or center of the chest
  • palpitations
  • body malaise
  • nausea or vomiting
  • hyperthermia
  • cough
  • swelling in the abdomen
  • shortness of breath

Patients with acute pericarditis may experience chest pain that radiate towards the left shoulder and neck. The pain can be aggravated by inhalation, coughing or lying down.

In most cases, doctors would recommend taking over-the-counter pain killers and rest as their patients’ primary interventions as strenuous activity can make the symptoms worse.


There can be instances when cysts may appear on the chest. Cysts can cause sharp pain. The duration and frequency of the pain that can be felt may increase as the cyst goes undetected. It is best to consult a physician once you encounter this condition.


Commonly referred to as chest wall pain, is a medical condition characterized inflamed costal cartilages on the ribs. It is caused by repeated trauma to the chest wall. Inflamed costal cartilages can also be due to bacterial, viral or fungal respiratory infections. This type of pain can also get worse when patients cough, sneeze or take deep breaths. Antibiotic treatment and rest may be advised by the physician to treat the underlying cause.


Although not a medical condition, stress can also contribute to pains brought about to the body. A healthy individual can suddenly experience an abrupt pain to the chest due to anxiety. Relaxation and having strong coping mechanisms can help a person manage stress and thus minimize these types of pain.

Treatment and Prevention

After proper diagnosis by the physician, several treatment methods may be administered. And depending on the condition that caused the pain, treatment should be based on the underlying symptom.

For pains caused by Digestive problems such as acid reflux/heart burn, diet modification may be necessary to relieve you of the symptoms. Low sodium and low caffeine intake may minimize the formation of acid reflux. Reducing portion sizes may also help in proper digestion, thus alleviating pain caused by too much acid formed in the stomach.

In cases wherein a cardiac problem is the underlying condition, pain management can be met in the form of medications as prescribed by your physician or over-the-counter drugs. Most common pain killers include acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin.

Treatment of suspected infections caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi may be treated by a wide range of antibiotics which should also be prescribed by the physician upon proper and careful diagnosis.

If cysts are the underlying condition, surgery may be necessary and should also be consulted with the physician as the cysts can be malignant or benign. Depending on the type of cyst present, the doctor will proceed on the best course of action.

Other pain management regimen would include administering hot or cold packs to the affected area. Vitamin E, in some instances would also relieve you of the pain.

For pain that arouse from stress and a hectic lifestyle, taking prolonged relaxing breaks may be necessary as treatment modalities. Engaging in some recreational activities can be beneficial to a person who likely is stressed.

In conclusion, there are several conditions that may predispose an individual to have pains under the left breast or chest. There are many research materials or studies that are readily available to us, but it is still very important to determine the symptom first through careful diagnosis before proceeding with the right intervention.