Chest Pain

Disponible En Espanol

Care at Home

  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Chest pains in children lasting for a few minutes are usually harmless. The pain can be caused by muscle cramps. They need no treatment. * Chest pains can be from hard work or sports that use the upper body. Sore muscles can start soon after the event. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • PAIN MEDICINE: * To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table. * Continue this until 24 hours have passed without pain.
  • HEAT PACK: * If pain lasts over 2 days, put heat on the sore muscle. * Use a heat pack, heating pad or warm wet washcloth. * Do this for 10 minutes, then as needed. * Caution: Avoid burns. * A hot shower may also help.
  • STRETCHING THE MUSCLES: * Gentle stretching of the shoulders and chest wall may help. * Do sets of 10 twice daily. * This may prevent muscle cramps from coming back. * Stretching can be continued even during the chest pain. Do not do any that increase the pain.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * For sore muscles, the pain most often peaks on day 2. * It can last up to 6 or 7 days.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Pain becomes severe * Pain lasts over 7 days on treatment * Your child becomes worse
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Heartburn is common. * It's due to stomach acid going up into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube from the mouth to the stomach. * Heartburn causes a burning pain behind the lower part of the breastbone. It also causes a sour (acid) taste in the mouth and belching. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • ANTACIDS: * Heartburn is usually easily treated. Give 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 - 30 ml) of liquid antacid by mouth. You can use Mylanta or the store brand. No prescription is needed. * If you don't have an antacid, use 2 to 3 ounces (60 - 90 ml) of milk. * For heartburn that keeps coming back, give an antacid 1 hour before meals. Also, give a dose at bedtime. Do this for a few days.
  • HEARTBURN PREVENTION: * Do not eat too much at meals. This overfills the stomach. * Do not eat foods that make heartburn worse. Examples are chocolate, fatty foods, spicy foods, carbonated soda, and caffeine. * Do not bend over during the 3 hours after meals. * Do not wear tight clothing or belts around the waist.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Heartburn doesn't go away after 2 days of treatment * Your child becomes worse 
  • COLD PACK: * For the first 2 days, use a cold pack to help with the pain. * You can also use ice wrapped in a wet cloth. * Put it on the sore muscles for 20 minutes, then as needed. * Caution: Avoid frostbite. 
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * Most often, heartburn goes away with treatment. * But, heartburn also tends to come back. So, preventive measures are important. 


The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
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    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

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