weird tickling feeling in chest

Written by Dr.Bayat
Associate Professor of Orthopedic expert,Brigham Hostpital


The major reasons for “ weird tickling feeling in chest ” are further subdivided into two group:

  1. Tickling felt on chest skin
  2. Tickling felt inside chest

Causes for first group consist of:

Main reasons for the second group are:

If you have a feeling of irritation, tingling, tremors or unusual burning in the chest and these become a concern for you, we recommend that you read on.

Those who experience this strange and abnormal sensation may have a variety of conditions such as heart disorders, lung diseases, as well as gastrointestinal disorders such as stomach problems.

 It is believed that most of these problems are not very serious, but some of these wired feelings can be very important and serious, and ignoring them can even be life-threatening.

To find out the answers to your questions, we recommend that you read on.

In the following, we will inform you in detail more about the cause that such an unusual feeling in the chest may have. 



 What are the causes of this abnormal feeling in the chest?

As mentioned before, causes for tickling in chest fall into two categories:

  1. Causes for tickling on chest skin
  2. Causes for tickling inside chest


1.Causes for tickling on chest skin

  1. Allergy:

The most common allergens are grass, dust mite, animal dander, foods and insect bits.

Allergies can cause lots of different symptoms that may vary from tickling and itching to sever deadly shock. Asthma and dermatitis are also autoimmune disease that is caused mainly by allergies.

  1. Herpes zoster:

This condition is caused by herpes family viruses. Light tickling to unbearable pain can happen through the symptomatic period of disease.

  1. Psychological problems:

Stress and anxiety beside other psychological problems, can cause lots of feeling disorders throughout our body.

  1. Scabies:

Is a harbouring of insect in skin that may cause severe itching and tickling.

  1. Some medication’s adverse effects:

The tickling inside the chest is often felt and described as a tremor or swelling in the chest. Here are some of the most common possible causes of this sensation and we have explained them as detailed as possible.


2.Causes for tickling inside chest

  1. viral colds:

A tickling sensation in the chest is often a common symptom of a viral cold. When a person has a simple, mild viral illness or infection, they can also experience a range of symptoms, such as coughing, runny nose, general weakness, headaches, and loss of appetite.

All viral colds usually go away on their own in less than seven days. During the course of the illness, you can use regular OTC drugs to make this period be tolerable.

2. Hay fever and allergies:

Hay fever is a type of allergic rhinitis.

Hay fever is commonly known as allergic rhinitis. A person with allergic rhinitis may have hay fever and other allergies. A person with allergic rhinitis, hay fever and other allergies may feel a tickling sensation in the throat and chest.

Usually there is no allergy or even mild fever in hay fever. Some of the accompanying manifestations in hay fever and allergies are as follows:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Feeling full and pressure in case of sinus congestion,
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal discharge is usually watery and thin in these cases. 
  1. Inflammation of bronchi or Bronchitis:

Bronchitis can also be accompanied by a tickling sensation in the chest. Bronchitis is an inflammation of the small airways in the lungs called bronchi.

Bronchitis is usually caused by a common cold or a respiratory infection.

Commonly known as chest cold, bronchitis can cause tickling sensation in the chest.

Other symptoms of bronchitis are as follows:

  • Feeling tired
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sputum cough
  • Pain, discomfort, and burning in the chest, which sometimes last too long and become chronic. 
  1. Asthma:

Asthma is actually a chronic disorder of  lungs that causes spasms and narrowing of the airways.

During asthma attack, airways spasm suddenly result in breathlessness and unpleasant feeling.

Spasms and tightness in the airway usually make a person to feel tickling in the chest. If the asthma attack is very severe, wheezing in the lungs may occur, as well as shortness of breath and a feeling of suffocation.

Chronic cough, which gets worse at night, is another symptom of asthma. Asthma treatment should be started under the supervision of a specialist and according to special protocols. 

  1. Stress and anxiety:

The anxiety and stress can also be accompanied by some strange manifestations and sensations in the chest.

Those who suffer from panic and anxiety attacks, may feel a variable sensation and problems in their chest.

There may be some problems that accompanied with psychological causes:

  • An increase in heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Feeling of pressure and heaviness in chest
  • Chest pain
  • Sweating and flashing

Distinguishing between anxiety attack and true heart attack needs lots of experiances. Electrocardiogram or ECG will play a great role in this matter.

  1. Cardiac arrhythmias:

Under normal circumstances, the human heart has a normal rhythm and rate. Arrhythmias are sets of disorder and problems in heart beat rhythm and rate that may cause variable manifestation and symptoms.

Tickling and palpitation may happen with some type of cardiac arrhythmias.

One with AF arrhythmia, an arrhythmia known for high and irregular heart beats, may feel an increase in heart rate in chest, as well as tremors, tickling, and a strange sensation in the chest.

Some other problems that may be seen with arrhythmia:

  • Faint or falling down
  • Chest pain
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness 
  1. Reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus:

Gastroesophageal reflux is a very common disorder that occurs due to relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and as a result of which, the contents of the stomach enter the esophagus.

Burning sensation and Heartburn are the classic symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux. Symptoms and manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease can sometimes include a sore throat, an uncomfortable feeling in the throat, a feeling of tightness in chest, a feeling of a foreign body, as well as disturbance in the vocal cords function.

Gastric reflux can also cause pain and a strange sensation in your chest. Symptoms usually occur after eating a heavy meal and while sleeping, and if you have the above conditions, it is better to see a doctor for tests and treatment. 

  1. Pneumonia:

Severe infection of the lung tissue and lung airways is called pneumonia. Infection can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that enter the lung parenchyma through respiration.

Here are some common manifestations of pneumonia:

  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Cough, which may be dry or accompanied by mucus
  • Sweating and chills
  • Shortness of breath

Pneumonias can usually be very dangerous for over the age of sixty-five. Apart from mentioned signs and symptoms, one may complain from tickling feeling in chest through the beginning of disease.

Therefore if you experience combination of these symptoms beside tickling, be sure to visit a physician.


What can be done to treat and improve the feeling of tickling in the chest?

As mentioned above, the main causes of this sensation in the chest are a viral cold and some problems and infections in the respiratory system. You can use the following methods to improve this annoying sensation:

  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of healthy, non-caffeinated fluids
  • Keep your body hydrated
  • Being hydrated thins the mucus and therefore facilitates coughing and facilitates the expulsion of mucus from the lungs.
  • Avoid smoking during the illness as well as exposure to passive smoke.
  • Take some deep breath

In certain cases, it is necessary to use the appropriate medication according to the doctor's prescription:

  • Antihistamines  
  • Anti-reflux drugs
  • Antibiotics  
  • Psychotic medications

If your condition, especially cough, persists for more than a week or your symptoms get worse, be sure to visit a doctor.


The final words

A tickling sensation in your chest can be due to problems with your lungs, heart, gastrointestinal tract, and especially your stomach.

 If you have any of the warning signs mentioned above, you should call the emergency room immediately. If other symptoms, which are not warning signs, persist for more than a week, or the severity of your symptoms increases, be careful to see a doctor as soon as possible.


Written by Dr.Bayat
Associate Professor of Orthopedic expert,Brigham Hostpital



  • Kocijancic I. - Vidmar K. - Ivanovi-Herceg Z.

Chest sonography versus lateral decubitus radiography in the diagnosis of small pleural effusions.

J Clin Ultrasound.

  • Lupien SJ, McEwen BS, Gunnar MR, et al. Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition.

  • Slater A. - Goodwin M. -Anderson K.E. - Gleeson F.V.

COPD can mimic the appearance of pneumothorax on thoracic ultrasound.

  • Idris A.H. - Guffey D. - Pepe P.E. - et al.

Chest compression rates and survival following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Crit Care Med.

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