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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: 26 year old with pain in ribs and left side of chest

 jmh14 - Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:47 pm

I am a 26 year old male healthy not overweight do not smoke and work out reaguarly. I am haveing pain in my left side. The pain is in the bottom section of my ribs, I would say rib 4 down and also pain develps in my chest. With this pain I experience a pain in my left arm that extends down to my hand sometimes cause a tingling in my fingers. Also I experience a tightness in the left side of my neck extending to my jaw. The pain seems to me the worst when I am sitting down relaxing or leaning toward my left side. I've been to the doctor and have had and EKG done and also X-rays and everything was normal. Just looking for a little help to what might be going on.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:53 pm

User avatar Hello -

This is one of those really bothersome presentations that can take some doing to unravel. While the description of the focus of the pain would seem to be too far to the left and too low to be heart-related, it is odd that it sometimes radiates down the left arm and that you get tingling in the fingers on that side. There is also that pain and/or tightness n the jaw and neck. Now if all this is not aggravated by exertion, that would argue against a heart-related problem (as does your young age and the normal EKG). Since the discomfort tends to come on at rest I am suspecting this is caused by occasional trapped gas in the splenic flexure of your large intestine, which can refer pain all the way up into your chest, shoulder, arm, neck and jaw, especially when seated or bent at the waist. If, however, this pain is aggravated by exertion (walking, running, lifting, etc.) then there would be a need to rule out some more obscure heart-related problems such as a thickened left ventricle, which is uncommon but is seen sometimes in young people, especially those especially athletic. This can be ruled out usually by echocardiogram.

The most likely explanation is gastrointestinal bloating causing pressure on the nerves in the diaphragm which, as I mentioned earlier, can refer pain all the way up to the neck, jaw and left arm at times.

I hope this helps. If you have any further information or if there is any related family history we should know about, please let us know.

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