Open Accessibility Menu

Chest Pain? Here’s When Urgent Care is the Best Option

  • Category: General
  • Posted On:
Chest Pain? Here’s When Urgent Care is the Best Option

To anyone who has experienced chest pain, you know it's not something to take lightly. It can feel like a tightness, burning or pressure in your chest that can radiate to your arms, neck, jaw or back. It can come on suddenly or gradually — both of which can be equally frightening. That's because the chest is home to our most vital organ — our heart. So, when something feels off, it's only natural to panic.

But here's an important thing to remember: not all chest pain is a sign of a heart attack. There are many possible causes of chest pain, some of which are harmless and others require urgent medical attention.

Sometimes, a call to 911 or a trip to the emergency room is needed. But, an urgent care center is a much more affordable and convenient option in less severe cases.

When to Go to Urgent Care for Chest Pain

Certain factors will help you determine whether you need to go to an urgent care facility for your chest pain.

1. You Feel a Discomfort or Pressure in Your Chest

Sometimes, the pain in your chest will have nothing to do with your heart. It could be caused by heartburn or GERD (extreme acid reflux), a pulled muscle or anxiety. If the pain is mild but persistent, an urgent care physician will be able to help you determine the cause and provide relief.

The physician will ask about how you feel and other symptoms you may be experiencing. You may even need a physical examination. They may also order medical tests, such as an EKG or blood work, to rule out severe conditions.

2. You Feel Pain Accompanied By a Burning Sensation

If you feel a burning sensation with your chest pain, it's likely caused by heartburn or GERD. That happens when stomach acid moves up your esophagus, causing a burning sensation.

Over-the-counter antacids can provide relief for mild heartburn. But you must see a doctor if you're experiencing more severe symptoms, such as chest pain that doesn't go away, even with antacids. You may receive a stronger medication to control the symptoms.

3. The Pain Varies in Severity When You Move

Non-cardiac chest pain usually worsens when you move around or take deep breaths. So, if your chest pain changes when you move, it's likely due to a muscle strain or other non-serious condition.

While not usually cause for concern, it's still a good idea to see a doctor to rule out anything more serious. They may recommend over-the-counter pain medication or physical therapy to help relieve the pain.

When to Go to the Emergency Room

There are some cases where you should go to the emergency room immediately. If you're experiencing any of the following, call 911 or go to the nearest ER:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain that radiates to your arm, neck, jaw or back
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden, severe chest pain that comes on quickly and doesn't go away

Find the Right Care for You at UF Health

Whether you're experiencing chest pain or any other medical concern, UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center is here to provide the care you need.

UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center

In the past, the decision on where to go for your illnesses and injuries was up to you. Now, let us be the expert to diagnose and treat you anytime you need us, all at one location.

At UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Centers, our primary goal is to provide the residents of Northeast Florida with exceptional service and the proper billing for the care they need. Our combined emergency room and urgent care is fully equipped to handle everything from allergies to chest pain with on-site labs, X-ray, ultrasound and CT, all under one roof.

The ER and urgent care centers are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No appointment is necessary — just walk in!

Find the UF Health Emergency & Urgent Care Center in Jacksonville near you at