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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Chest and back pain for 3 months

 Erick89 - Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:56 am

Hi, my name is Erick Im 19yrs old about three months ago I was driving home from the airport after picking up my grandmother when I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my middle upper back. I paid no attention to it until I got home, the pain ached both sides of my back and when I put my shoulders down It made itself present in my chest. The pain feels like my chest and back are ripping specially when Iput my shoulders down. I got very anxious when I started to think about the pain, the fallowing morning I woke up to palpitations and shortness of breath. I had no idea what it was so I didn't go to the doctor to get checked I just thought it would go away on its own. Even though the pain didn't get any worse I had other symptoms that were hunting me, head aches, aching eyes, weakness in my knees, anxiety and disassociation. After having the problem for two months I went to my doctor and the ER fearing that It was a heart attack. Both doctors gave me EKG's, X-rays, and blood work everything came out fine. The ER doctor prescribed naproxen 375mg which did nothing to ease my pain. I have no idea of what this pain could be or what's causing me to get all the other symptoms the only thing I can think of is stress I took care of my aunt for five years until she passed away from cancer, the entire process was very stressful since at the same time I had school and responsabilities of my own. Although I have experienced stress before, I never had these symptoms. Can stress cause all these problems? Its been three months now and im not any better, i don't get rest in my sleep and im always tired. Im hoping that its stress and not a major problem, should I worry about the pain?

Thank you,
Erick Ramirez
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:19 pm

User avatar Hi Erick -

The pain does sound as though it's musculoskeletal in nature, and it's especially good to know any cardiac involvement has been ruled out. Because of your description of the character of the pain and how it shifts to the chest when you drop your shoulders, I suspect this may be due to prolonged tension (perhaps related to maintaining certain faulty postures such as being bent at the waist with the upper body curved forward, as in leaning over a patient for long periods of time often can cause in healthcare workers and other caregivers).

Stress can also lead to physical tension and can cause these things to happen. The fact that you woke up with palpitations and a sense of shortness of breath suggests anxiety or stress as well. The stress you experienced recently due to the illness and passing of your aunt was both prolonged and possibly quite intense at times, and often the physical symptoms of stress don't manifest themselves until the pressure is off.

If naproxyn wasn't effective you might need to see an orthopedist, and you may wind up finding that muscle relaxants combined with naproxyn may be more helpful. This could be a slow process of elimination and, as usual, I'm happy to know the more serious things have been ruled out. With that done, you can relax some, and know that nothing life-threatening is going on, and work on finding the underlying cause of the pain so that can be resolved.

I hope this is helpful to you. Best of luck, and please follow up with us here as needed.

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