Let’s face it, at this time and day, our diets are not healthy. A considerable part is dedicated to processed foods which are incredibly unhealthy. In such circumstances, chest pain after eating is common, but is it heartburn or a heart attack? How can we distinguish between the two, and what are non-cardiac chest pains? Give this piece a read for your answers.

Heartburn, heart attack, and angina feel very similar to one another. It is fairly difficult, sometimes even for experienced doctors, to quickly tell them apart. For this this reason, when you are in the emergency room for chest pain after eating or random, a heart attack is ruled out first.

Non-cardiac Chest Pain After Eating – Heartburn

Non-cardiac chest pain is the discomfort in your chest area which is not because of a heart attack. Many times people who make bad dietary choices suffer from GI conditions that mimic heart attacks.

What Does It Feel Like?

Non-cardiac pains are much like angina pain as per patients; they feel squeezing pain or more like pressure on the side of the breast bone. Some say that this discomfort may spread over to the left arm, neck, or even the back.

Symptoms of a Heartburn / Chest Pain after Eating

You must wonder why heartburn causes chest pain only after eating. Well, this condition results from digestive acids moving into the esophagus towards the upper portion of the body. The esophagus or stomach tube carries the chewed and partially digested food towards your stomach.

Typically, if you are suffering from chest pain and it is indeed heartburn, you will have these symptoms:

  • Sudden burning sensation in the chest that makes use of the upper abdominal area.
  • Chest pain usually occurs after eating or when bending down.
  • Sour or salty taste in your mouth during the day and more so while lying down.
  • Acidic content rises towards the throat.

Other Reasons for Having Chest Pain after Eating

Some lesser relatable or rare reasons for chest pain are:

  • Muscle troubles – or otherwise known as esophageal motility disorders. Sufferers have abnormal activity of the muscles that prevents your food from entering the esophagus. They often spasm, and high-pressure squeezing or contractions are seen.
  • Esophageal or visceral hypersensitivity – people are in constant pain since any small change in the esophagus leads to stomach acid coming up inside.

Symptoms of A Heart Attack

As per the textbooks, a heart attack constitutes sudden, crushing pain in the chest, with shortness of breath and exertion. However, we must understand that not all episodes will present the symptoms. Here are some typical signs for your ease:

  • Tightness in the chest, pain, squeezing, or pressure in the arms radiating towards the jaw and/or back.
  • Cold sweats
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness


Chest pain under any condition should not be taken lightly. Always reach out to your cardiologist. Our team at Epic Heart and Vascular Center houses many competent doctors for you; call at (832) 432-1951