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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Cardiology Symptoms

Question: Constant Random Chest Pains.

 Louisejane24 - Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:00 am

This problem has been ruling my life now for the last 4 months and is driving me mad. I am a 29 year old female from the UK. I have smoked for the last 12 years and quit earlier this year due to chest pain.

The pains appear anywhere within my chest. It can be on either side of my chest at the front, down the centre or under my armpit and side of the rib cage. The pain feels like its deep and is not a sharp pain but a dull ache as though someone is poking a finger really hard inside my chest. Sometimes if its at the front of my chest it radiates into my breast or centre of my chest. I also get the pain in what feels like my lungs. It can be either side of my back.

I have had an ECG which came out normal, I have had a chest X-Ray, which came out normal. I have had full blood works too which also showed as normal.

The pain is not worse with exercise but does tend to worsen throughout the day. I do not do regular exercise though. Very occasionally, I can feel my chest creaking down the centre which is strange but this does not happen often.

My doctors have related my problem to muscular pain and I have been taking ibuprofen and painkillers for the last 3 months which I was told would help. It hasn't.

Its becoming so worrying now that 2 weeks ago I was taken to A&E as the chest pain induced my first ever panic attack.

I would really like some reassurance on this as it is ruining my life. It is constantly on my mind and I worry that something has been missed. The worry has turned me into a completely different person who is now miserable and constantly on edge.

Many thanks in advance.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue May 05, 2009 9:35 pm

User avatar Hello --

There is certainly something going on that needs to be addressed. It doesn't sound cardiac and tests you've had so far seem to bear that out. However, there are a few other things that could be ruled out with a more thorough exam that should include at least an echocardiogram to make certain there isn't any structural heart problem. I'd bet against that, but it's still worthy of attention, since no one knows for sure without looking first.

Assuming there's no structural heart disease, I'd put my money not on a muscular problem so much as an inflammatory process involving the cartilege between the ribs, costochondritis by name. While this usually will respond to anti-inflammatories, sometimes it requires steriods to do the job right. Again, though, the echo should be done first, since we wouldn't want you on a stronger pain med or steroids if you actually do have some (possibly quite innocent) structural problem such as mitral valve prolapse which can, sometimes, cause this sort of symptom, although why is unclear.

I hope this is helpful. Please follow up with us here as needed. Good luck to you.
 Louisejane24 - Wed May 06, 2009 11:20 am

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, it is reassuring to get some advice and a professional opinion.

I have been back to my doctors today as things are no better and she has prescribed me a low dose of Amitriptyline to rule out muscle problems. It's only 10mg a day and I'm not 100% they are the right thing but it rules another possibility out. If these fail to produce an improvement then I will ask for an echocardiagram as you suggested.

Fingers crossed and thank you once again.
 Louisejane24 - Tue May 19, 2009 5:56 am

Just a quick update.

The Amitriptyline has failed to do anything really so I'm not so sure its nerve or muscle pain. They have increased the dose to 20mg each night.

The good news is that my doctor has now referred me to the Chest Clinic for further tests, hopefully for an echocardiogram as you suggested earlier. The pain has now settled on the left hand side and just to the right of my left breast. It radiates into my arm too and it has been feeling very achey for the last few days.

Fingers crossed I am a step closer to knowing whats going on and finally getting some reassurance.
 dcm8299 - Tue May 26, 2009 11:43 am

Please keep us informed if you hear anything from your results. Mr. Kenyon, we've communicated back and forth on this site before although it has been a while. My symptoms are very similar to hers. I, also, have had most of the same tests within the past 8 months or so including nuclear stress test, blood work including cholesterol, CXR, CT scan w/ contrast of the thoracic cavity, endoscopy for possible GERD, echocardiogram in December and they have all come back negative yet I still keep getting deep chest pains. It has been ongoing for just about a year, early June 2008. They (meaning the GP and the cardiologist) keep telling me it is costochondritis or muscular in nature. Just recently, I was told to try Ibuprofen 800 mgs. per day x 3 times/day and it has been 2 weeks now and the pain has not improved. The pain is felt in both sides of my chest, in my back, rib cage, occasionally migrating down the inside or outside of my left arm. It does not seem to worsen during physical exertion as I try and run 3-5 miles a day usually 3-4 times a week. I will say that often times I can reproduce the pain or at least something similar by pressing in between the ribs in my chest. It almost seems as if the pain originates from there. Also, more often than not, I can press on the xyphoid bone in the middle of my chest and it is generally sore. I'm at a total loss. If you have any suggestions, I would be very appreciative. Sincerely, Rene'.
 Louisejane24 - Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:10 am

Another quick update. I'm sorry to hear your experiencing similar problems dcm8299, although its quite amazing how many of us there is out there!

I have continued to have these chest pains although the panic attacks are now pretty much under control, perhaps I have the Amitriptyline to thank for that. My GP raised the dosage to 20mg which brought on palpitations so I am now back to 10mg.

I am no longer obessing over the chest pains or waiting for them to happen but they are still an every day occurence in my life.

I saw a doctor at the hospital last week who ordered another ECG and has booked me an appointment for a CT Scan and a 24 hour event monitor. I have to say that she was the first doctor who I have seen that didn't dismiss my symptoms as stress or muscular which was a refreshing change! She did say she had no idea though what I was experiencing so after the CT scan and monitor, she will consider an echocardiagram.

dcm8299 - I too have been able to produce a pain (only on 2 occasions) by pressing on the area above the pain. The pain wasn't replicated but it was more of a shooting pain into my left arm and back. I haven't been able to do this again though.

I am still hoping my problems are muscular but it will be reassuring to have the tests done and know that I am in no immediate danger!

I will update when I have had the tests and results back!
 scalettsgirl - Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:37 pm

your problem sounds exactly like mine. Constant pains felt all over my chest and upper back and shoulders. I've had numerous test....2 EKG's an echo at rest and after stress test which all came back normal which is always a relief...but I'm still battling this pain after 2 months now. My dr. still seems to think it's anxiety related. Maybe it is maybe I've not been breathing right. I've read people w/ anxiety tend to sigh more or not breath properly I've heard to take deep breaths thru your nose and it does seem to help for the first day in 2 months my chest has hardly hurt at all. They say the breathing can make your muscles sore and tense up if your not doing it properly. Try that and maybe that will help you!
 Louisejane24 - Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:49 am

Thanks for the tip, my breathing has become erratic lately as I'm constantly worrying!

I have a CT scan on Friday so fingers crossed that comes back okay too. I am pretty certain my problem is muscular/inflammatory related but....
Can muscular/inflammatory pains last 7 months plus?
 Louisejane24 - Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:47 am

Okay, it's been a while so I thought I would update and ask another question or 2.

I received my CT scan resluts on Tuesday along with the results for my 24 hour heart monitor. ALL CLEAR!! This is great news to me and I want to be happy but I'm still a little disappointed that I'm no further forward than I was 9 months ago.

The doctor is certain that my problem is muscluar but has refused any steriod treatment as he says the side effects far outway any benefits. (Try living in my shoes for a few months).

So, I have a healthy heart and a healthy lungs but must now face facts that I have to live with chest pains everyday for the forseeable future.

I am hitting an exercise regime to see if I can beat the muscular problem but just wish there was something that could be done.

Is it usual for muscular pain to last this long?
 Louisejane24 - Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:17 am

I'm in month 11 now of these awful chest pains and still no better.

I just wanted to ask advice. Yesterday, I suddenly became very dizzy along with a ringing in my ear (Like my head was in a tin can)! This cleared overnight but since last night I get a short dull pain just below my left breast whenever I swallow. I can feel it if I swallow food, liquid or just air!! It lasts for about a second at the exact moment when I swallow and then is gone. I can feel it anywhere under my left breast.

Could it be muscular? The action of swallowing aggravating my muscles or something like GERD? I've never experienced heartburn or acid reflux.

Any help would be hugely appreciated.

 freedomofspeech - Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:27 am

Hi Dr, I just want to address my father`s problem. My father is 53 years old. He served 20 years in Royal Army of Oman. He had a heart attack in the year 2004. After heart attack , all the necessary things like, ECG etc... done. Results were fine and he backs to his normal routin work and activities.

However, Over the last 3 months he is noticing a pain constantly in his chest & all over the body. Sometime right side, some time left side and whenever he sleeps at night it seemed to him that, belch stuck in middle of his chest and creates discomfort and pain. As I result , he unable to sleep throughout the night. Moreover, He describes that, this problem always occurs at night and gently starts increasing and make him sleepless . He has a constipitaion problem as well.

Therefore, what would you suggest us.

Thank you,

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