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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: ache/pain upper side of left chest

 luke - Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:02 pm

i am a 33 year old white male, non smoker, occasional/ rare beer drinker, 200lbs, 6 ft tall, very physically fit. my family history of cardiac problems/stroke would be other immediate family has no health problems. this problem with me has been going on for over 2 months. it started with an ache from the tip of my toes to the top of my head. i hurt all over all the time for 2 weeks. then it went to feeling worse in my stomach area. i then started having pain in my right chest area. went to the doctor had an xray and blood work done both ok. ordered a stress test. the next day pain in chest moved to left side. severe pain and then left arm started going numb that day/evening. next day still had pain in left chest. wife took me to the e.r. they started running cardiac tests. blood work, xray, and ultrasound done on heart. came back and said no blood clots, and they didn't believe it was cardiac....they wanted to keep me overnight and do the bloodtest to be sure....after the second blood draw that night they sent me home and said there was no reason to have the third blood didn't look to be cardiac....but still wanted to do stress test. they treated me in the hospital with nitro and a pain shot, then sent me home to take prilosec otc and told me i could take up to 9 ibuprofen a day....which i did for 2 weeks and it didn't help at all...took the stress test it came back great. i have had an upper gi scope which was fine, i have had a second ultrasound which was ok, 2 rounds of prednizone the first round started out with 6 pills for 5 days...then decreased 1 pill a day until gone...i felt great while on 6 prednizone but pain came back as dosage decreased....i am currently on prednizone 3 pills daily for 5 days, 2 pills daily for 5 days, then 1 pill for 5 days and then 1/2 a pill for 5 days....i am currently on the second week and i have no relieffrom pain /pressure on the left side of chest...i will even take up to 8 tylenol a day with no i had a cat scan done on my chest and they found nothing...i have not worked for 2 months and i am at my wits end to try and figure this out....the doctor said the only thing he could think of was plursey and doesn't know what else it could be....i questioned lyme disease...but he said no and has not given me any antibiotics...i am supposed to start physical therapy at the end of this week and doctor thought he might try to get me in to an orthopedic doctor, for what, i don't know. please if anyone has a suggestion i would love to hear it.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:06 pm

User avatar Hello -

The good news is that you seem to have had any possible cardiac problem ruled out. The serious stuff out of the way, the challenge now is to find the cause of the pain and correct it so you don't have to be uncomfortable. There are a number of possible orthopedic causes of this sort of thing, and one that may be uncovered by physical therapy (PT) if it is present, is a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). This is a somewhat controversial condition and not every doctor has accepted it as legitimate, but I'm quite convinced, based on discussions with neurosurgeons, that it's not only real, but that it can cause some pretty disturbing symptoms and can be difficult to discover. PT therapists are often the link in the chain where it's actually uncovered, and sometimes it will respond to PT, if, in fact, it is the problem.

This is my best guess given the little I know -- which is mostly what it is not. Hopefully PT will yield not only some relief, but some diagnostic clues as well. You might want to mention TOS to the physical therapist if it isn't brought up first.

Please let us know things go. Best of luck to you.
 csudom - Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:01 pm

i too have been having similar symptoms, for about 4 months, like you, i was sent through all the cardiac tests, all negative. seen so many doctors and all say different things, neurosurgeon#1=surgery, neurosurgeon#2=multiple sclerosis, neurologists=nerves are normal, orthopedic=inflamed nerves, i have heard everything from acid reflux, to hernia, etc. i have tried many things including prednisone along with steroid injections, pepcid a/c, various pain meds, have not found anything that helps. i had mri on complete spine, there were about 8 different disc issues, including bulging discs,stenosis, and some other things. i'm not a doctor, but after researching this thing for 4 months, the one thing i am convinced this is, is thoracic outlet syndrome. i'm going to pain management next week, hopefully we can get to the bottom of this, it's a disgusting feeling not knowing whats going on, and even though they rule out the cardiac, your mind always resorts to that, especially mine as most of mine has been on the left side, sure feels good though doesn't it when it moves to the right side. good luck, and try for a few opinions, pt therapists seem to be a fairly good bet, they are extremely knowledgable and will spend more time with you than doctors, no offense doctors.

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