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Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Chest Pain on Left side during exercise


 mjpeppin - Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:00 am

I am a 38 year old male that in April weighed 290 pounds. I started eating right (fish, salads, more vegetables, smaller servings, getting away from fried food, etc) and exercising. I started by walking around 5 days a week (about 20-30 mins) then move to an elliptical cycle for 30 mins everyday. Between April and September 1st I lost 45 pounds. I decided to change it up and start running. I bought a good pair of shoes and ran a mile at about a 11:30 pace. At .95 of a mile I got a sharp pain on the left side of my chest. The pain was about 1.5 inches below and 1 inch to the left of my left nipple. I walked back and the pain when away. Now when I do any type of exercise the pain comes back within about 3 or 4 minutes of starting my exercise, as I continue to exercise the pain goes completely away. The pain goes from 0 to 10 in about 10 seconds and as I continue the pain slowly goes back to zero in about 15 mins as I continue to exercise. Sometimes I notice it also if I lift something and other activities around the house. Any ideas???
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:28 pm

User avatar Hello -- The pain you describe is almost certainly musculoskeletal, for several reasons. I'll explain: first, cardiac pain is almost never sudden in onset, nor is it sharp, stabbing, nor fleeting. It's also almost never felt in the area you describe, and is almost never highly localized. As you describe the onset and nature of the pain, and because of your relatively new (and progressive) exercise program, especially having lost a good deal of weight already (and congratulations on a job well done! Keep up the great work) you are more susceptible to muscle and cartilege pulls. What you describe sounds like it may be Tietz's syndrome, a form of costochondritis, inflammation or irritation of the connective tissue between the ribs and and that seems to be where this is coming from.

If the pain is disruptive of your exercise program you might try preventive use of something such as Advil (ibuprofin) or Aleve (naproxyn sodium) which are both effective in managing this sort of inflammatory problem.

This also could be a simple nerve irritation, again something that will often happen in formerly sedentary people starting new exercise programs (and yours is still relatively new). You're doing a great job, keep at it, and the pain you've already demonstrated will stop before you're forced to, so it's not cardiac in nature. I think that's probably the most important consideration here. Controlling the pain is probably secondary unless it's actually disabling. Again, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) available over the counter are your best bet to prevent or at least reduce the intensity and frequency of this problem.

Best of luck to you. Please follow up with us as necessary. Good luck to you.

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