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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: sharp stabing chest pains

 Sindergreycloak - Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:23 pm

Hi I have been having some chest pains been having them for 15+ years. They are very sporadic. I am now 30 year old male not overweight. They are happening right under my ribs on my right side. The pain feels like sharp stabbing pain. Hurts when I take deep breaths but only lasts a short time. Sometimes I don't have them for months. In fact I just had one today and is why I am writing this now. Since I have been having them for so long I am not too worried. But it would be nice to know what is causing them.

 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:50 pm

User avatar Hello -

An excellent observation regarding the fact that the pains have been going on for a long time and so are probably not serious. As to what they may be caused by, there are several possibilities: sharp pains that are provoked by deep breaths are ofthen due to pleurisy (an irritation of the chest wall lining). They also can be caused by chronic or intermittent irritation of the cartilage between the ribs. Both things respond well to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds such as Advil (ibuprofin) or Aleve (naproxyn), available over the counter.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please follow up with us as needed.
 laurenspeak - Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:40 am

I am 38 years old, S/P delivery of healthy 6 month old twin girls. Twice in the last month I have had a stabbing-like, sharp pain in the same area just below my right breast. It seemed to worsen when I breathed in and upon touching, I could have sworn I felt a little bubble that slightly moved. Though, I am prone to anxiety and fear the idea of a Heart Attack. Strangely enough, the pain has subsided within 20 -40 minutes after taking Tylenol (not an NSAID). It happened in the same area each time and is a localized pain. I do recall having pain in the upper right rib when I was pregnant but it was constant and not a stabbing, shooting pain as this is. Note: My left arm also hurts often on and off, but It is a gnawing pain that radiates from my wrist to generally around my elbow area to the inner arm 1 /12 inches above the elbow where I tend to hold my 12 lb babies so I think it could be related to stress of the bearing weight and cocking my wrist to hold the bottle???
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:18 pm

User avatar For laurenspeak:

Hello -

The left-sided pain you describe is almost certainly not heart related, even as aytpical pain goes. It is retrograde (runs backward from an extremity to your chest) and your description strongly suggests you may have developed a neuromuscular or orthopedic/neurological injury due to the unbalanced strain on your right side by holding baby. This could be as simple as simple strain or could be more complex, such as thoracic outlet syndrome (nothing life-threatening, but something which can cause this sort of symptomology and is many times due to postural change -- like holdng baby -- when it's not due to trauma). A neurologist would probably be your best bet as a specialty consult, as the pain sounds like it is distributed along a nerve pathway running from your right extremity back up to just about where the thoracic outlet is located. This makes sense and is often treatable by changes in postural habits, physical therapy and/or home exercises. Rarely, it is corrected by surgery. It's worth looking into.

Your right-sided pain also sounds unlike even atypical heart pain, but more like possible reciprocal (compensatory) pain possibly from the strain on the left side. You may have had some inflammation of the cartilage between your ribs on that side prior to this and it may have become irritated again.

I hope this is helpful to you. Good luck with this and follow up with us here as needed.

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