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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: 24/7 chest discomfort

 JJJ - Fri Jan 07, 2005 5:43 am

Background... I'm a 29 year old male, non-smoker, social drinker. I had been running regularly on a treadmill for 15-20 minutes/day 3-4 times a week prior to symptoms. I've never used medication or other drugs. My father died of lymphoma in his early 50's, his younger twin brothers are now in their 50's and both have heart blockage problems (one having recent bypass surgery)... no other close family history of heart problems.

In May 2004, I went running outside for the first time that year, and finished with a sprint. Upon completion I felt as though I had over-exerted myself, and felt left shoulder pain and a band of strong tightness across my chest. Being stubborn and not a fan of hospitals, I decided to wait to see if my symptoms got worse, rather than seek medical attention. Fortunately they did not get worse. (I reasoned that I was too young to have any serious problems).

The shoulder pain and band of tighness subsided after 1-2 days; however, I still had a less severe central tightness/discomfort in my chest and malaise. I again decided I would just leave it in the hopes it would disipate. After 6 months of this discomfort on an ongoing 24 hours a day 7 days a week basis, I decided to get it checked out. The doctor I saw took chest x-Rays and sent me for a stress test... both of which came back without problems. My blood pressure was high during the initial check, but normal at the time of the stress test a week later. No other tests were conducted, and the doctor said it was likely acid reflux/heartburn. (I have never had problems with these, and eating/lack of food do not effect the ongoing sensation of tightness. I also find it difficult to believe this could be the problem considering the onset occurred immediately after the outdoor run in May).

It has now been 8 months, and there has been no real change in the symptoms; every morning I wake up feeling this discomfort and it remains through the day. Some days the discomfort is more irritating/more pronounced than other days. (I've recently helped in a move of heavy furniture which may/may not be responsible for my most recent perceived increase in discomfort) Other than this discomfort and the occasional malaise/anxiety thinking about this discomfort, I have no other symptoms (ie, no loss of appetite, no fatigue, no shortness of breath... etc.) I have jogged on the treadmill sporadically; however, am concerned about making things worse. I have just started taking Ibuprofen under the assumption that perhaps I have some form of chest inflamation.

Any suggestions on what the problem may be, or other actions I should take would be greatly appreciated. As well, should I actually be taking Ibuprofen, and if so for how long/ in what dose. Is it possible this is a form of Dressler's syndrome? I have not been able to find any other information that could explain the symptoms.

Thank you,
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:46 am

User avatar Dear jjj,

Obviously, I cannot rule out something as dangerous as a cardiac cause for your chest pain over the internet, but according to your description what you are suffering from is probably not secondary to coronary disease.

First of all, you don't have any risk factors for coronary disease, second your chest pain is the most atypical and you had a stress test while having this discomfort and the test was normal.

i don't think that this is an emergency, you can talk to your primary care provider about it during your next visit or schedule an early appointment.

Besides coronary disease, chest pain has lots of other cardiac and non-cardiac causes.

This does not sound like reflux to me but i can not really tell you what is this pain except that it might be related to muscles. If inflammation is suspected, there are two blood tests that could be done, they are non-specific but helpful. If they are high, this means that there is some sort of inflammation going on but it does not tell where or what is the cause. These are the c-reactive protein and the erythocyte sedimentation rate.

i think you can take ibuprofen if it helps the pain but you have to be aware of its potential side effects including stomach ulcers and kidney failure if used for prolonged periods of time and if taken on an empty stomach. And even though it does not sound like reflux to me or you, sometimes reflux comes in very atypical ways, so i think it is not such a bad idea if you try an over the counter antiacid.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.

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