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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: pain & pressure in chest (& hollow feeling)

 username101 - Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:48 pm

Hello. I am a 38 year old female, morbidly obese, non-smoker, non-drinker, non-drug user, not overly active. I'm a mother of two teenagers, and a substitute teacher, so I don't sit around all day, but I don't exercise. My weight has caused me to get out of breath when I do strenuous activities, but other than that I have been overall a healthy person. My blood pressure is always 120/80 on the nose, and my blood sugar and insulin levels have always been in the middle of the normal range. I have always had normal cholesterol levels, and last had it checked about 3 years ago, and the doctor said it was exactly what it should be, and my triglycerides were on the money. I've never been hospitalized or had a surgery, or been on any types of medications other than antibiotics and such. Diabetes and heart disease have been diagnosed in my family, along with breast cancer, but my last check-up 3 years ago showed no signs of any of these.

About a month ago I started having bad chest pains. Not when I'm active, but more when I'm sitting or laying down. It's a constant pressure (like something is laying on my chest), with some pains (not always shooting, more like a long pinch, sometimes dull, sometimes sharp), that come and go, but in the past week have gotten more constant. Right now it's just a constant pain in my chest, and has been for about two days. The pains are almost always located either in the very center of my chest, or just to the left, toward the top of my left breast. I can push directly over the pain it is so centralized, usually, but pushing on it does not make it worse or better. The pain is not in my shoulder, neck, jaw, or upper back. It's not interfering with my breathing. I've always tended to be a shallow breather, and breathing deep does not cause it to hurt more or less. Sometimes shifting my shoulders a certain way can affect how much it hurts. I have had a pinched feeling in my left arm a couple of times, but that could have been because I was so worried it was a heart attack that my mind ran away with me. I don't have a cough or sore throat or chest congestion. Sometimes it feels like my heart is fluttering, or running away with me, a few beats that seem to be really forced, but when I check my resting heart rate it is always around 70-72. Sometimes when it feels pressure, it begins to feel like my chest is hollow, and when I talk it's like I can feel my voice vibrating deeply in my chest. I've had a couple of dizzy spells also. I have not been to see a doctor yet, but plan on going next Tuesday, Jan. 2, if I can. I'm not blowing this off and it really does scare me, it's just that I don't have insurance, so I had to wait until after getting Christmas gifts for my children.

As for what I've done differently in the past month, I did sit for long periods of time back before Christmas, making Christmas presents, and some of the crafts involved pulling strenuously. But that's been at least 2 weeks ago, so if it was sore muscles, shouldn't it have been better by now? I sleep on a very uncomfortable couch, (and after one area breaking down a few weeks ago, for a couple of nights my head was slightly lower than the rest of me, but I've fixed that and now the end where I put my head is slightly elevated, but it's still very uncomfortable) so I deal with a lot of back pain. I'm not on any medications, over the counter or prescription, though I did take two aspirins a couple of times when I worried it was a heart attack. It was just never bad enough for me to actually go to the emergency room. I've looked up info on panic attacks, and don't think that's it, but I do worry that my stress over the situation is causing me to feel exaggerated symptoms. Any info, advice, anything to help me understand some of what's going on would be greatly appreciated. I'm sorry if I rambled too much, but I wanted to cover everything.
Thank you very much,
 username101 - Sat Dec 30, 2006 6:49 pm

It still doesn't hurt when breathing deeply, but I've noticed it does seem to flare up slightly when breathing out all the way, and I forgot to mention, it hurts more after eating or drinking. I've had heartburn before though, and my ex-husband had reflux, so I know it's not either of those or an acid in my stomach problem. It also hurts if I go all day without eating. But this isn't in my stomach and it's not a burning sensation. It's became more of a stationary pain (this evening makes three days it's hurt continuously), directly in the center of my chest and sometimes just left of center. Again, I'm sorry to go on so much, but this has me terribly worried and I figured the more info you have the more accurate the ideas of what could be wrong, and it looks like I'm not going to make it to the doctor next week, but will have to wait till the week after or the week after that, unless it gets bad enough to send me to the emergency room. Thank you again,

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