What is chest pressure? Chest pressure is the sensation of a squeezing, tightening, crushing or pressing in the chest area, with or without pain. It is sometimes described as a feeling of a band tightening around your chest or of something heavy sitting on your chest. A pressure sensation can come from a condition occurring in any part of your chest, including your chest wall muscles, esophagus, heart, lungs, nerves, ribcage, or tendons. If you have pain with the pressure, it may radiate between your chest and your neck, abdomen or back. Chest pressure can be a symptom of disorders such as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Chest pressure accompanied by pain that changes with breathing or that radiates to your back may be pleuritic pain (usually caused by dryness or inflammation in the sac that surrounds the lungs) or muscle inflammation. Other causes of chest pressure include anxiety and more serious conditions such as anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction) or heart conditions ranging from rapid heart rate (tachycardia), to heart attack (myocardial infarction) and irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). Depending upon the cause, chest pressure can be accompanied by other symptoms, including fast heart rate, sweating, abdominal pain, or difficulty breathing. Unexplained pressure in the chest should always be investigated by a health care practitioner. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, experience chest pressure or pain; confusion or loss of consciousness, even for a brief moment; pounding or rapid heart rate (tachycardia); shortness of breath or difficulty breathing or swallowing; or sudden swelling of the throat, face or lips. Seek prompt medical care if you experience chest pain that gets worse with breathing or a change in position or a regurgitation of stomach contents up into the esophagus, throat or mouth.