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Forum Name: Miscellaneous Cardiology Topics

Question: Light, aching pains in chest corners, sides


 nathomas28 - Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:28 am

Hi there! Not sure if I should have put this question in this section instead:

I'm a 28 male, I don't smoke and I work out often. Since May 2009, I've been feeling a dull, aching feeling at the corners of my pectorals. It's not painful, just very annoying. Since then, I've been feeling these symptoms more often, and they come and go throughout the day (I notice caffeine makes them worse). There are places on my pecs that sting when I press on it, as well as the upper part of my ribcage, before it hits the armpits. Some parts are tender to the touch.

I've gone to three doctors. The first doctor said it was GERD, but the over-the-counter heart burn medicine didn't do anything. The aching feel occurs whether I'm eating/drinking or not. I took blood tests for diabetes, heart disease, hepatitis, et al and everything came back normal, except my liver enzymes and cholesterol were up a little. A liver sonogram showed no irregularities, so the doctor said to improve my lifestyle. Since May, I've lost 14 pounds. The dull pains continued, though.

I went to an Urgent Care to get a second opinion, and the doctor said it was definitely acid reflux, but to make sure, I should get some work done. I took a urine test (came back normal) and another EKG, which showed I had a incomplete right bundle branch block. The doctor said tons of people have this, but we should make sure it's not an indicator of something bigger. I took a Holter Monitor Test and a Nuclear Stress Test, and everything was normal. Still, the aches were there.

Finally, I recently came back from my family doctor, and he said that my tests were pretty exhaustive, and that since I'm young, pretty healthy and the test results came back OK, there's nothing to worry about. I told him where it hurt, how I have a bad posture and he pressed on several areas of my chest, which didn't produce pain. He said it's musculoskeletal and that if I stand up straight and ease my back, I should be OK.

I believe it's musculoskeletal, but I don't see how standing up straight can fix this dull aching problem I've been having for months. Also, I've noticed that my stomach's been upset a lot more lately (often after I eat, and especially when I wake up in the morning), and I sometimes feel some pressure near my "love handles." It doesn't hurt when I breathe, I don't have sputum with discoloration and there's no tingling or sharp, shooting pains. Do you think it's musculoskeletal, and what can I take to make it better? I starting taking Allieve every day, and it's cutting the pain/soreness down by 50 percent.

I appreciate what you guys do for people like me! Thanks very much for your time.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:49 am

User avatar Hello -- While in some patients pain in this area might send up a red flag, you've already had pretty exhaustive workups ruling out heart disease. I don't believe this sounds much like GERD, either, and the really suggestive part (in a good way) is that tenderness can be elicited by manual pressure, which strongly suggests an orthopedic problem. Your doctor suggests this might be due to faulty posture, and it may well be, since this is one possible cause of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), which may also cause the sort of symptom you describe and can often be aggravated by weight training, especially if the patient is already prone to TOS (due to the presence of an extra, cervical, rib). This is worth a look. It is, of course, also possible to have more than one thing going on at the same time, so whatever innocent cause underlies the primary symptom, you still could have GERD, and if treating it helps reduce symptoms then this is an effect-cause proof of at least part of the possible diagnosis, and won't likely hurt anything to try it. That and posture correction may well eliminate all the complaints.

Hope this is helpful to you. Good luck with this and please follow up with us here as needed

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