Burning in Chest

You have just finished a large meal from your favorite takeout place, or you have just eaten dinner with your family and you decide to lie down. All of a sudden you feel a burning pain in your chest. This pain is one of the common acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), symptoms. When acid from your stomach rises into the esophagus, there can be a burning sensation that radiates just behind your breastbone, and this can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours.

Normally, the muscle found at the bottom of your esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow down into your stomach and then closes again to keep acid and food from flowing back into your esophagus. When you overeat or lie down after a meal, the pressure on the esophageal sphincter can cause it to open slightly allowing acid to back up into your esophagus, producing a burning sensation.

Occasional heartburn is not a cause for alarm and can be managed with lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding foods high in fat. You can also treat this pain with over-the-counter medications such as antacids, PPIs, also known as proton pump inhibitors, and H2 blockers. If 4 to 8 weeks of twice-daily PPI therapy is unsuccessful, further investigation with endoscopy is recommended.