Tingling In The Region Of The Heart : Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Last Updated: 08/09/2022

Tingling in the region of the heart is often caused by non-cardiac causes - stress, neurosis, intercostal neuralgia, thoracic osteochondrosis. Cardiac etiological factors of stabbing pains are myocarditis, angina pectoris, arrhythmias. To establish the cause of the symptom, an instrumental examination is performed, which includes ECG, echocardiography, MRI and plain radiography. Diagnosis of non-cardiac conditions requires an assessment of neurological status, ENMG. Anti-inflammatory, sedative, antiarrhythmic drugs help to stop pain in the precordial region. Methods of physiotherapy and psychotherapy are applied.

Causes of tingling in the heart area

Physiological factors

Tingling in the precordial region is possible with strong excitement during acute stress. In such cases, it appears suddenly, mildly expressed and localized mainly in the left half of the chest. The symptom is often accompanied by a feeling of fading in the region of the heart, hyperhidrosis of the palms and feet, dizziness, and trembling of the hands. After resolving an unpleasant situation, a person’s well-being quickly returns to normal.


In most cases, tingling in the heart area is due to neurological disorders. With cardioneurosis, the patient is worried about periodic stabbing pain, not associated with physical exertion or time of day. Usually the symptom is provoked by mental strain, stress, conflict situation. The tingling is moderate, but it seems to a person that it is a sign of a serious heart disease.

Unlike organic cardiac diseases, with neurosis, patients tend to describe their feelings in detail: where exactly it hurts, how often the symptoms occur, what they are accompanied by. For cardioneurosis, a combination of tingling in the region of the heart with other autonomic symptoms is typical: sudden bradycardia or tachycardia, sweating, blanching or flushing of the skin.

Intercostal neuralgia

If the intercostal nerves are affected on the left side, many patients describe symptoms as tingling and pain in the heart. Discomfort is aggravated by touching the ribs, and especially by palpation of the intercostal spaces. Strong stabbing sensations appear with a deep breath, coughing and sneezing. To relieve symptoms, the person takes a still position, slightly bent over.

Tingling in the chest with intercostal neuralgia is observed constantly for several days, its occurrence does not depend on the time of day. Some patients try to stop the pain syndrome with nitroglycerin, but the drug does not give any effect. Paresthesias and numbness in the affected area of ​​the chest are also possible. Increased pain is sometimes accompanied by sweating, redness of the skin.


Extrasystole is often clinically manifested by tingling in the cardiac region. This type of arrhythmia is characterized by a combination of stabbing sensations with periodic fading of the heart. The difference from coronary cardiovascular diseases is the absence of pain irradiation to other parts of the body. Tingling with rhythm disturbances, as a rule, occurs without a visible provoking factor, does not last long.



With this disease, tingling usually develops a few weeks after a viral or bacterial infection. Discomfort in the region of the heart appears against the background of a deterioration in well-being - a person complains of weakness, shortness of breath, fever. Stitching sensations in myocarditis are not intense, prolonged, do not radiate to the arm or shoulder blade.

Cardiac ischemia

With stable angina pectoris, precordial tingling may be felt during the interictal period or at the very beginning of an anginal attack. With IHD, stabbing pains have a clear connection with physical activity (fast walking, climbing stairs) or with a traumatic situation. Pain sensations last about 5-1 minutes, they are given to the arm, left shoulder blade. A pathognomonic sign is relief of the condition after the use of nitrovasodilators.

Joint damage

Unpleasant sensations in the region of the heart can be caused by arthrosis of the rib-sternal joints, osteochondrosis. Tingling is provoked by physical exertion, sharp turns or tilts of the torso. When a person sits quietly or lies down, the intensity of the symptom decreases. Stinging pains occur not only in the region of the heart, but also at the center of the sternum, on the side of the chest.

In addition to tingling, there is numbness and a feeling of "goosebumps in the chest." Symptoms worsen with deep inhalations and exhalations. Sometimes with osteochondrosis, the above symptoms are combined with pain in the upper abdomen. Also, patients complain of difficulty in raising their hands, impaired fine motor skills of the fingers, decreased skin sensitivity.

Rare Causes

  • Acute coronary syndrome: unstable angina, myocardial infarction.
  • Cardiomyopathy: hypertrophic, restrictive, dilated.
  • Inflammatory processes : pericarditis, endocarditis.
  • Congenital and acquired heart defects.


Examination of the patient begins with a standard examination by a cardiologist. The doctor conducts auscultation of the heart to identify signs of organic pathology - coarse noises, deafness, splitting or accentuation of tones. Since it is quite difficult to find out the cause of tingling during a clinical examination, laboratory and instrumental diagnostic methods are used:

  • Electrocardiography. According to the results of the study, the doctor accurately determines the presence of arrhythmia and its type. Violation of repolarization and a decrease in the voltage of the teeth indicates myocarditis or coronary diseases of the myocardium. In case of difficulties in diagnosis, 24-hour ECG monitoring is recommended.
  • Ultrasound of the heart. Echocardiography is effective in detecting organic cardiopathology that causes tingling in the heart. According to EchoCG, the thickness and uniformity of contraction of the heart wall, ejection fraction, and the state of the pericardial cavity are evaluated. Blood flow is measured using dopplerography.
  • Radiography. A standard chest radiograph is necessary for a preliminary assessment of the size and shape of the heart, visualization of the contours of the main vessels. For a more detailed study of the anatomical structures, an MRI is performed.
  • Blood tests. Inflammatory lesions of the heart tissues are manifested by leukocytosis and an increase in ESR in the hemogram. An increase in acute phase proteins is characteristic. In coronary diseases, an increase in the levels of total cholesterol and LDL fraction is typical. If necessary, measure myocardial markers.

If cardioneurosis or damage to the peripheral nerves is suspected, the patient is referred to a neurologist. In addition to assessing the neurological status, a specialist may prescribe an EEG, electroneuromyography, CT and MRI. With psychogenic neuroses, a psychiatrist should participate in the diagnostic search. Signs of articular pathology - an indication for a consultation with a rheumatologist.



Help before diagnosis

Tingling in the heart is usually provoked by psycho-emotional factors, so it is advisable to use light herbal sedatives. To get rid of the signs of neurosis, it is necessary to normalize the daily routine and diet, increase physical activity and time spent outdoors. If a person is diagnosed with coronary artery disease, fast-acting vasodilators prescribed by a doctor should be taken to eliminate stabbing pain.

Conservative therapy

The tingling rarely reaches such intensity when there is a threat of pain shock and urgent measures are required. The main treatment is the elimination of the etiological factor. After successful therapy of the existing disease, the tingling in the heart disappears. The drug treatment regimen is selected individually according to the type of pathological process. Use the following drugs:

  • Sedatives . Drugs acting on the central nervous system are effective in cardioneurosis. They quickly stabilize the psycho-emotional background, eliminate increased anxiety. To eliminate neurotic disorders, their long-term use is required.
  • Muscle relaxants . The drugs are widely recommended to combat pain in neuralgia, osteochondrosis. They affect the peripheral nerve endings, reduce painful muscle tension.
  • Antiarrhythmic drugs . To normalize the heart rhythm, specialists in the field of cardiology use 4 classes of drugs. Medications are selected taking into account the nature and severity of the arrhythmia, the presence of concomitant diseases of the cardiovascular system.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs . Medicines from the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are indicated for myocarditis and other infectious processes, joint diseases. With insufficient effectiveness of therapy, glucocorticoids are prescribed.

For the purposeful action of medications for neuralgia and joint damage, the electrophoresis technique is effective. To reduce tingling and pain of neurological origin, physiotherapy is carried out - laser therapy, UHF, magnetotherapy. With neurosis, individual and group sessions with a psychotherapist are required.

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