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Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Spasms below left breast and underneath ribs


 KVF - Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:39 pm

Hi, I have had this "spasms" since I was a teenager, now I am 31 years old. I have occasionally this awful pain below left breast and underneath ribs (very close to the heart). It makes me stop doing anything the pain is horrible I can't even move or talk. I does not last long, is just like 30 to 45 second it depends what I am doing and how I handle it. I have found that moving very carefully and exhale the air from the lungs help to reduce the pain (I guess I am reducing the pressure inside) It happens some times in a while. Some times I don't have one in two or three months and then is back. It is very painful and I am getting tired of it. I am sending this because I had one a few minutes ago. I still have a little pain like is there ready to happen again. I told to my doctor but he does not say much just that is a spasms but I want it to stop. Any help I will really appreciate it.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:39 am

User avatar Hi there -- What you describe doesn't sound at all like heart pain, but does, indeed, sound like voluntary muscle spasms. The heart, oddly enough, is not on the left side as commonly thought, but is in the center of the chest, beneath the breast bone. Pains in the left chest, especially in or below the breast, are almost never heart related. They also would last a good bit longer than what you describe. This sounds very much like muscle spasm, though it also could be constochondritis (inflammation of the cartilege between the ribs). This complaint is more often seen in women for some reason, whether muscular or due to inflamed connective tissue. If it can be determined which it is it can be treated medically, with antispasmodics or muscle relaxants if it is spasm (and also possibly some postural adjustment); if it is costochondritis (also known as Tietz's syndrome) it is treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Advil or Aleve. Since it is of such brief duration it does sound more like spasm, and in either case the fact that repositioning or changing posture helps relieve it strongly suggests a musculoskeletal origin. You might ask your doctor if you can be given any stretching exercises for the upper body, which sometimes can help relieve this sort of problem. If not, medication to relieve the inflammation or spasm would be appropriate.

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

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