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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Slight Chest "Pressure" in middle of chest

 tmternes - Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:13 am

Hi, I am a 37 year old male. I am currently on no medications and have been a lifetime non drinker/smoker. Today, I have noticed some pressure in the middle of my chest. I don't have any symptoms of a cold/flu. If I take in a very deep breath, the pressure seems to get a little more apparent, but not much more. The pressure is not painful, but I definitely would describe it as a slight "tightness" or "pressure". It has been like this for 10 hours or so. It just seems to sit there. I used to be very physically fit, but I have completely strayed from this way for the past 3 years for 500 different excuses. I would now consider myself overweight and sedentary. I went from 1 - 2 workouts a day and eating remarkably clean to no exercise and high fat meals and sugar drinks. Since this time I have managed to put on 50 pounds. I am currently 6'1 and weigh 250 pounds. Seeing as how I was active my entire life and I now feel so unhealthy and sluggish, everytime I feel something, I think the worst. This is no different. I am worried that this drastic turnaround could have caused me some serious potential harm like high blood pressure, possibly Type 2 Diabetes, and or heart problems. When I started searching the internet, the main diagnosis sounds like I am having a heart attack. My father did have a heart attack at the age of 57, but he was not active ever, drank alcohol regularly, smoked, and did not eat very well. 3 months ago, I went to have my blood pressure checked after I felt lightheaded after a heated argument and it seemed to be high. I don't remember the exact numbers but I think it was called borderline hypertension. 1 month after that, I had to get a tube inserted in my ear. Before the surgery and throughout the day, they took my blood pressure. All was OK. I never pursued it further. However, I do know if I get into a stressful situation and I end up getting very mad, I feel immediate pressure in my head. I do not know if this means elevated blood pressure or a headache, but I have never had a headache before, so I am unsure of what this sensation is. People tell me that it I must have high blood pressure. My question is, does the pressure in my chest sound like something I need to immediately take action on like driving to the emergency or is this something that could wait 3 weeks for my yearly physical?

Thanks for your support.
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:10 am

User avatar Hello,

The chest contains many organs, like the heart, lungs with its pleural covering, esophagus, muscles, ribs, tendons, and nerves. They all can be the source of the pain (tightness) felt in the chest.

It sounds like muscle spasm is the cause of your symptoms.

Muscle spasm alone can cause this pain which can be an unidentified cause but in many cases is the result of inappropriate posture for long time like traveling, driving, carrying heavy objects, and certain types of work.

Muscle spasm can also occur due overexertion of the chest wall muscles to maintain the chest in certain position to avoid pain of skeletal disorders like costochondritis or spinal problems or their inflammation (viral infection).

Self care and avoiding the precipitating cause will lead to a gradual but clear improvement in the pain. Home treatment includes the use of Analgesics, cold or hot therapy. Rest for maximum two days is also beneficial.

-Asthma, which is associated with either shortness of breath, wheezing, or dry cough.

- Pain due to rib or chest wall bone disease is also another cause of chest pain. They are also tenderness over the affected areas.

Other causes to be excluded:
-Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, which is a double-layered membrane covers the lungs separating it from the rib cage. Viral infections are commonest cause and dry cough is usually present which increase the severity of the pain.

-Evolving lung infection.

-Cardiac causes should be excluded in any case of Chest pain.

- Psychological or emotional stress and Anxiety, in these cases the diagnosis is made by exclusion of other causes.

Direct clinical examination is essential.
I advise you to follow up with your doctor.
Keep us updated.
Best regards.
 tmternes - Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:37 am

I went to the doctor and they did some blood work. They called me back to tell me that if was definitely not heart related (I think they checke the Troponin T), my blood sugar levels were normal, BUT, I did have a slight elevation in my most sensitive Liver enzyme. I can't recall if it was ALT or AST. The normal range I believe was between 0 & 60 and mine was 138. The doctor said that this can be normal and that I may have had this since early childhood but that it may have gone undetected. He was not concerned at all, but, he wants to do a second checkup in 2 months.

The doctor concluded that he feels that it is most likely Chest Wall Pain caused by lifting something heavy and that I should take Advil for the next 5 days to see if the inflammation goes down. My only concern is that after 7 days, I can still feel it. It seems to not be as bad, but nevertheless, it is still there. I will start taking Advil tomorrow. It is hard for me to be completely assured of this diagnosis seeing as how I never experienced anything like this before, including all my years of weightlifting. I always thought I was in tune with my bodies aches and pains. However, I will be ecstatic if this is the problem, and not something else.

However, I have another issue that may or may not be related to this. I have noticed that my underarms become alot smellier easier than ever before. I used to be able to put deodorant on in the morning, and never worry about it. Now, when I get home, I find myself putting more on as I can notice an odor. Around 3 months ago, I switched underarm deodorants. Not realizing the connection, I started to notice a discomfort in my armpits. Once again, not really painful nor rashy, but definitely unpleasant. After discussing with people and searching the internet, I was told that some people have issues with the ingredients of some of the brand of deodorants, that they contain titanium or something of that nature. So, I decided to go without anything for a couple of days. My discomfort went away! I have since gone back to my normal deodorant. However, during the last 4 weeks or so, I have been noticing the discomfort once again, and at times if I apply pressure deep into my right armpit, I can get it to actually cause slight pain. I do not have a rash, or any noticeable lumps that I can see or feel. When I searched the internet, it seems that chest pain and armpit lumps are often grouped together when diagnosing certain ailments. As you are most obviiously aware, these ailments include breast cancer and lymphnoma. Because I have no lumps, I try to tell myself that it is nothing serious, but I always think the worst. Any help would be appreciated. What kind of tests would I hope my doctor to perform on me that could put me at ease?

I am starting to feel like somebody who is constantly paranoid. I have never had so much stress in my life. First, I am dealing with an inguinal hernia that I need to have looked at, now I have this chest pain, and lastly, I have this annoying issue with my armpits (mostly the right one). Can all these be somehow linked and what kind of advice can you give me.

Thanks for taking the time to listen.

 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:31 am

User avatar Hello,

I do not think they are related and I agree with your doctor to go on for treatment assuming that it is probably a muscle spasm since there are no other signs or results suggest other sources for the pain.

I advise you to avoiding the precipitating cause (no heavy lifting or wrong postures) will lead to a gradual but clear improvement in the pain. Home treatment includes the use of Analgesics, cold or hot therapy. Rest for maximum two days is also beneficial.

Follow up with your Doctor is essential.
Best regards.
 tmternes - Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:54 am

Thanks for your replies. Regarding my pain in my armpit. Any ideas?
 tmternes - Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:17 am

I woke up this morning and my armpit is very sore. It may be because I was pushing on the area last night trying to feel around for any lumps. Do you think this is maybe a swollen gland or something more serious. It is only my right armpit.


 Woodman - Sat Jan 06, 2007 10:03 am

I am a 53 year old male previously diagnosed with MVP. I am not taking any medications but am a 1 1/2 pack a day smoker. My father had heart bypass surgery when he was in his late 50's.

This morning I was talking on the phone in a relaxed state when I felt a sudden sharp constriction in my chest and back. It passed after a minute or so but I am still experiencing some dull pain across my mid-back. If it weren't for the initial tightness in my back and chest, I would suspect a muscle pull focused on the region just below my left and right scapula.

I am inclined to wait and see but thought I should ask in the event some other action should be taken. Thank you.

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