Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Any feeling in the chest can raise an alarm in one's mind. Be it any pain or any type of sensation, one is sure to think about heart problem. But the fact is, every feeling in the chest is not a heart attack. There are many types of sensations and pains occurring in the chest area. If it is the electric shock feeling in the chest, which is bothering you, it is important to know what causes electric feeling in the chest.

What Causes Electric Shock Feeling in Chest?

What is an Electric Shock Feeling in Chest?

Electric shock like feeling in the chest can be momentary discomfort in the chest, which causes sudden, sharp pain. Such sharp pains in chest are often rapid and last for few seconds to minutes or sometimes more. Electric feeling in chest is a feeling of discomfort or a feeling of uneasiness with sudden shooting type of sensation in the chest.

While pain is an associated factor with electric feeling in the chest, one may be able to pin point a local area of discomfort or sometimes a sharp sensation may radiate along a particular course. It may be accompanied with movements of chest muscles and arms, while breathing or during changes in posture. Some may also feel pain and electric feeling in chest during change of weather and particularly when it is very cold.

Electric shock feeling in chest can be a result of many causes varying in severity. While most of the times, common conditions cause chest pain, sometimes, serious conditions may be present, requiring immediate medical care. Hence, it is essential to be aware of the causes of electric feeling in chest and take appropriate measures.

What Causes Electric Shock Feeling in Chest?

Chest pain commonly results from various causes and some of them can be experienced as electric shock feeling in chest, accompanied by pain and discomfort. Some of the common causes include:

Electric Shock Feeling in Chest Caused Due to Musculoskeletal Problems

Sudden sharp pains in the chest with electric feeling in chest are commonly a result of musculoskeletal problems. Such pains are usually associated with radiating pain from the affected joint or muscle. Lightning pain is felt when there is a muscle strain in the neck, arm or chest muscles or bone injury as in case of fractures, dislocations or trauma to structures of the head, neck, arms, ribs and sternum. Musculoskeletal pain often worsens on movement of the affected joint or muscle and changes in posture.

Electric Shock Feeling in Chest Caused Due to Gastric Disorders

Acid reflux is a common cause of chest pain, particularly felt in the middle, behind the breast bone. It may be present slightly towards the left, near the tummy region and may be associated with gastric complaints. Indigestion, burning sensation in the stomach or throat, nausea, vomiting or regurgitation of food, pain in abdomen, bloating or changes in bowel movements may be present. Other gastric troubles including disorders of the esophagus, stomach or digestive problems like peptic ulcers, etc. can cause irritation and pain in the food pipe, with electric feeling in the chest. Pain due to formation of gases or gallstones is commonly felt under the right lower ribs, but sharp pains can be felt in the chest area.

Electric Shock Feeling in Chest Caused Due to Nerve Problems

Nerves supplying the face, neck, chest, upper arm, are related to the chest area. Any compression or damage to these nerves can cause sudden, shooting pain and electric shock feeling in the chest. The discomfort is usually in the muscles and nerve region, but is felt as chest discomfort. A viral infection like shingles, in which the nerve course gets affected, too can cause burning type of electric shock feeling pain in chest, when the chest region is involved.

Respiratory Disorders That Can Cause Electric Shock Feeling in Chest

Disorders of the lung, which include asthma, infections like pneumonia, inflammation of the membranes of lung, pleurisy etc. can cause chest pain and discomfort. Sharp electric like pains in the chest can be experienced, which is influenced by breathing and when inhaling deeply.

Cardiac Causes of Electric Shock Feeling in Chest

Chest pain related to the heart can present as sudden discomfort in the chest, with an electric feeling in chest. It is often associated with pressing pain, discomfort and pain in arms, neck, jaw and back. Chest pain of this type is called angina and may be a result of momentary disturbance in blood flow to the heart. Other cardiac related conditions that affect blood circulation, heart muscles or valves of the heart can sometimes cause discomfort in the chest.

How is Electric Shock Feeling in Chest Treated?

How is Electric Shock Feeling in Chest Treated?

Treatment of electric shock feeling in chest depends on the underlying cause. Clinical history and necessary investigations performed help in making a diagnosis. Treatment usually involves rest, compression and physical therapy for the affected joint or muscle in case of musculoskeletal causes of electric shock feeling in chest. Other causes are treated with relevant medications and hospitalization is considered as required.

What to Watch Out For?

As causes of electric shock feeling in chest vary from mild to serious ones, it is important to know the warning signs to seek immediate medical care. When chest discomfort is associated with sweating, nausea, vomiting or difficulty in breathing, it needs immediate attention. Any weakness caused in arms, neck, changes in speech or jaw movements, etc. need to be evaluated. Any sudden changes that make one feel uncomfortable should be immediately reported.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 8, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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