A person may experience chest pain and dizziness separately or simultaneously. Triggers can include anxiety, panic attacks, and overexertion during exercise. However, it may also occur due to a heart condition. Speak with a doctor a person experiences any form of chest pain.

There are many different causes of chest pain and dizziness, and in many cases, chest pain is not due to a heart problem. However, a doctor should evaluate any new form of chest pain.

A person can call a healthcare professional to find out if they need to visit the emergency room or wait for a regular doctor’s appointment.

People can experience dizziness in several possible ways. One reason could be vertigo, where they feel as if they are spinning or have the sensation of being off-balance. Another cause could be presyncope, which is when a person feels faint or lightheaded.

In this article, we discuss some potential causes of chest pain and dizziness. We also look at when to seek medical help.

A woman with her hand to her chest while experiencing chest pain and dizziness.Share on Pinterest
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While chest pain and dizziness might not always indicate something serious, a person should seek medical help if they experience sudden chest pain lasting longer than 15 minutes.

They should also seek help if they also experience chest pain along with other symptoms, including:

  • shortness of breath that can occur with or without chest discomfort
  • feeling sick
  • pain that spreads to the arms, neck, jaw, or back
  • chest tightness

This is because the combination of these symptoms may indicate a heart attack.

However, a person should still seek advice from a medical professional if they have concerns about recurring chest pain.

Additionally, medical emergencies can occur with the heart, lung, and gastrointestinal tract, including:

  • problems with the aorta, such as aortic dissection or aneurysm
  • myocarditis, which refers to inflammation of the heart
  • arrhythmia
  • pulmonary embolism, when a blood vessel in the lungs becomes blocked
  • tension pneumothorax, which occurs when air becomes trapped in the pleural cavity
  • esophageal rupture, when a tear occurs in the tube that connects the throat to the stomach
  • peptic ulcer perforation, when the stomach lining splits open

In some cases, chest pain and dizziness can occur during exercise, especially when a person pushes themselves too hard during a workout. This can result in sprains or strains.

Other than chest pain and dizziness, some people may experience:

  • shortness of breath
  • joint pain
  • muscle spasms
  • pain while breathing

Learn more about dizziness after a workout here.


If a person experiences chest pain or dizziness during a workout, the best thing to do is stop immediately and see if the symptoms subside.

People may need to rest and ice the affected area for up to 20 minutes at a time, three times a day. It may also help keep the chest elevated during sleep.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, anemia occurs when a person does not have enough iron in their body. Those with mild and moderate anemia may not show any symptoms.

However, those with more severe anemia may experience:

  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • fatigue
  • irregular heartbeat
  • shortness of breath
  • weakness
  • restless legs syndrome
  • headache
  • cold hands and feet
  • brittle nails
  • cracks at the side of the mouth
  • pale skin
  • swelling of the tongue


Treatment typically depends on the type of anemia a person has. Options include iron supplements, dietary changes, and other medical procedures.

Learn more about the treatment options for anemia here.

The following conditions that affect the lungs may cause chest pain and dizziness.

Chest infections

A chest infection occurs when the lungs or airways acquire an infection. Two common chest infections include pneumonia and bronchitis.

Symptoms can include

  • chest pain or tightness
  • cough
  • fever
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • coughing up yellow or green mucus
  • aching muscles
  • fatigue

A person may also experience a loss of appetite, which can result in dizziness or lightheadedness.


If the cause is bacterial, a healthcare professional may prescribe antibiotics. Viral infections usually resolve in a few weeks.

A person can also:

  • get plenty of rest
  • drink lots of water
  • take over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen
  • raise the head when sleeping


Pleurisy is the inflammation of the pleura, the sheet of tissue lining the outside of the lungs and inside the chest cavity.

The most common cause of this condition is a chest infection.

Symptoms include:

  • stabbing or sharp chest pain that worsens with deep breaths
  • shortness of breath
  • cough
  • fever
  • chills
  • unexplained weight loss
  • sore throat
  • swelling in the joints

The pain can also spread to the back or shoulder. Similarly to a chest infection, a person may experience dizziness if they are unable to eat.


Treatment involves a healthcare professional performing a procedure known as thoracentesis, which removes the fluid from the pleural space.

A person can also take OTC painkillers and cough syrups containing codeine.

Lying on the painful side can help make a person more comfortable. In addition, breathing deeply and coughing can help clear the mucus when the pain is easing.

Pulmonary hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension occurs when there is an abnormal increase in blood pressure in the lung arteries. This means the heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body.

Early symptoms include:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath during activities such as climbing stairs
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • decreased appetite
  • a fast heartbeat

Later symptoms can include:

  • fainting
  • feeling lightheaded, particularly during physical activity
  • swelling in the legs and ankles
  • bluish skin and lips


There is no cure for pulmonary hypertension, but a person can manage the condition with certain treatments, depending on the underlying cause.

Depending on the type of this condition, treatment options may include:

  • anticoagulants
  • diuretics
  • oxygen supplement
  • digoxin

Some people with pulmonary hypertension may require specialist surgery.

The following mental health conditions can cause a person to experience chest pain and dizziness.

Learn more about mental health resources available here.


While many people may experience a varying amount of anxiety throughout their lifetime, sometimes it can cause a person to experience physical symptoms such as chest pain and dizziness.

Other accompanying symptoms can include:

  • irritability
  • muscle tension
  • sleep problems
  • fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating
  • a fast heartbeat
  • restlessness


If a person is experiencing anxiety regularly, they should seek medical help.

A doctor may prescribe the following medication:

There are also a variety of psychotherapy options available for people with anxiety. One common form of psychotherapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy.

This treatment involves the patient identifying unhelpful thoughts that increase anxiety while finding practical solutions to help them manage their anxious thoughts on a day-to-day basis.

A person should discuss the best course of treatment with their doctor to consider the side effects and benefits of each treatment option.

Learn more about how to access therapy without insurance here.

Panic disorder

According to Mind, a charity based in the United Kingdom, a panic attack occurs when physical anxiety symptoms build up very quickly and last for a short period, often between 5­–20 minutes.

Panic attacks can be sudden and unexpected, and symptoms often peak after 10 minutes.

They also have similar symptoms to anxiety, including:

  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • sweating
  • feeling out of control
  • feeling a sense of impending doom
  • shortness of breath
  • a choking sensation
  • a fast heartbeat


The treatment for panic attacks is similar to that for anxiety. A doctor may prescribe medication, such as antianxiety medication, or recommend psychotherapy.

It is especially important to seek medical advice if a person is experiencing frequent panic attacks, as this could indicate a panic disorder.


Hyperventilation is deep or rapid breathing that typically occurs due to anxiety or panic.

People may refer to this as overbreathing. Excessive breathing can lead to low levels of carbon dioxide in a person’s blood, resulting in the following symptoms:

  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • chest pain
  • palpitations
  • muscle spasms in the feet and hands
  • dry mouth
  • belching
  • bloating
  • shortness of breath

It is important to note that hyperventilation may have other causes.

Learn more about other potential causes of hyperventilation here.


Treatment typically aims to increase carbon dioxide levels. To do this, a person can purse their lips and breathe. Alternatively, they can cover their mouth and one nostril while breathing through the other nostril.

If the cause is anxiety or depression, a person can seek help from a psychologist or psychiatrist.

If a person has a heart condition, they may experience dizziness, chest pain, and other accompanying symptoms.

Some of these conditions include:

  • Arrhythmia: Occurs when the heart beats too fast, too slowly, or unpredictably.
  • Cardiomyopathy: A disease of the heart muscles that can result in the muscles becoming larger, thick, or even rigid. In some cases, scar tissue may replace the muscles.
  • Heart valve problems: The heart has four valves that aid in the flow of blood. When these become compromised, it can result in symptoms such as chest pain and dizziness.
  • Pericarditis: Refers to inflammation of the pericardium, the layer of tissue that surrounds and protects the heart.

The treatment for these heart issues will depend on the condition.

A doctor can examine a person to determine the underlying cause. This will normally involve running a number of tests.

Healthcare professionals will gather information, such as medical history or if there is a family history of heart conditions. They will also carry out a physical examination of the person, including listening and examining the chest and neck, checking the heartbeat, and measuring blood pressure.

Other tests may include:

  • Blood tests: These tests might indicate certain markers that may present in some conditions.
  • Imaging: Can consist of X-rays of a person’s chest or a CT scan.
  • Electrocardiogram: Determines the electrical activity of the heart, which will help the doctor determine if it is regular or irregular.

A person should contact a doctor if they regularly experience symptoms and if the pain spreads to other parts of the body.

Other symptoms to look out for include shortness of breath and feeling nauseous. If they occur together and last for longer than 15 minutes, a person should seek medical assistance.

The causes of chest pain and dizziness are not always serious, while symptoms may resolve on their own.

However, if a person has concerns about their symptoms or is finding it hard to manage them, they should consult with a healthcare professional.