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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Left Side Chest Pain that radiates

 Czar1206 - Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:13 pm

Hello all.

I am a 21 year old white male, about 5'10 and 225lbs (used to be 260!). For the past three months or so, I have had chest pains on the left side of the chest, mainly above the nipple but sometimes i have discomfort all around it. On some occasions the pain travels to my shoulder and down the left arm, to the point where I get pains in my left hand. Also, the pain is sometimes present in my back, around the left shoulder and below near the blade. A few times the pain spreads to the right side of my chest. It doesn't feel like indigestion, and I don't have any problems with exotic foods. Sometimes it hurts to breathe, other times I feel like i am wheezing (I have asthma), with other times it is hard to get up in the morning due to the pain.

I have been to the doctor two times so far for this. The first time he sent me to get a CATscan (or CTscan, i forget the right term for it) which came up negative for anything but harmless bone tumors (osteocondroma) that have calcified near my joints, which the doctor said was the result of them just being there as I grew up. He then told me that it was chest wall syndrome, most likely a result of inflammation in the chest wall that takes a while to go away (though I don't remember injuring my chest, perhaps stretching wrong?). He also said that this was not heart related. I am going to see him again as the pain continues, but after another bad habit of looking up symptons online, I figured I would try this forum out as well.

I have mildly high blood pressure, which seems to be a reoccuring theme on both sides of the family, and for which I take metoprolol, which has helped keep it down to normal levels.. Also, I have Asthma, but have not had a serious attack for many years now, and I do not take any medication for it. Finally, I have migraines for which I take either Naproxen or 800mg Ibuprofen (high doses for those really powerful ones, I try not to take these unless it is like last resort.) As a college student, I am constantly facing stress and I could probably work on stress management, but anxiety is something that I find myself dealing with more often than not, which can make the pain even worst.

Thank you for your time.
 Shannon Morgan, CMA - Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:37 pm

User avatar Your doctor did do an ECG just to be sure, didn't he? A person your age isn't old enough to have coronary disease yet; it takes many many years for the plaque to build up enough to block arteries.

It does sound like "chest wall syndrome", it is very common and does take a while to heal. Your ibuprofen is the best thing you can take. If it hurts with taking a deep breath, it definitely isn't your heart.

Do you also have neck pain? Neck pain can cause pain in the arm(s) as well, the nerves for the upper body originate in the neck. This would also be relieved by ibuprofen.

You do sound like you have a stressful life at this point, with anxiety, and you are exactly right, it does tend to make the symptoms worse. Perhaps you can talk to your doctor about something to help you with that.
 Czar1206 - Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:06 pm

Dear Ilovepatients,

Just got back from my doctor's appointment. He has acknowledged the pain increase and says this is most likely due to physical exertion, as the inflammation takes a long time to go away.. He has not given me an ECG, but to cover all options and to "calm me down", he has requested that I have a stress test done. My blood pressure is lower than it was (a few points under the "high" classification) and I lost another 3 pounds. I told him that in my line of work (haha) I can't help but be stressed, which is why he decided upon having me get a stress test done, just to be sure. He told me to stop taking Ibuprofen for the time being and started me up on "Lidoderm", Lidocaine patches that, according to my resources, is used for musle related pains. I've had the patch on for about three hours already but I haven't really noticed any difference. Of course, it could take longer. This pain is almost ignorable if I really get myself involved in something, but it is there to greet me when I am done with whatever task I was doing. I have also noticed that the number of bowel movements that I have per day has increased to about 3-5 times instead of 1-2. Again, the doctor says that this is most likely stress related, that I am working myself up to it, resulting in the extra bloated feeling that, when combined with chest inflammation, makes me worry even more.

So, given the latest symptoms, it seems to be down to four things: Chest inflammation (doc bets on this), Heart related issues (doc seriously doubts it), a severe case of acid reflux (no nausea or heartburn sensation, belching, etc, so my doc doubts this as well)), and stress (doc says this is probably making the chest inflammation worst). I have been doing a lot of exercise (cycling is my favorite at the moment) but I have been wary of even doing such things with my chest feeling the way it is.

I am not sure if my family qualifies for true "heart disease" other than high blood pressure. My grandfather died of lung cancer due to smoking and working in a place with carciogenic materials. My grandmother had minor strokes, but they were not "heart related" and her death was not heart related (kidney failure, if I remember). On my mother's side, however, they seem to be qualified for heart disease. My grandfather had a heart attack, but he was a hardcore smoker and drinker. He beat lung cancer and recovered, however, only to die of a blockage that, from what I gathered, ruptured and his lungs filled up with blood. My grandmother also died of a heart attack; she was only like 53, but she was a compulsive gambler that resulted in diehard smoking and stress.
My dad has no heart related diseases. However, he had contrated some sort of virus about 8 years ago that enlarged his heart, and almost put him on the heart transplant list. He takes like 20 pills a day. My mom has high blood pressure as well, and Crohn's disease, but the latter is not heart related. However, it could be related to acid reflux disease from what I hear, which is also another possible cause of my pain (though not yet proven, as I don't have "heartburn" or diarrhea. However, the doctor said that the pain could be a form of heartburn as well.

I must say that my personal investigation of my symptoms has not left me feeling any better (I can't help doing research, what I am going to college for as a historian and a teacher haha). Currently the pain is as previously described, with a fatigued feeling in my left shoulder and arm. Hopefully the stress test will put my fears at ease, but with the multitude of pages that is my family medical history, I cannot help but wonder, you know?
Thank you for taking your time to read this. Your words, along with the doc's words, help calm me down a lot (though I am still stressed!). Thanks!
 houst69 - Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:54 pm

hey they czar1206, please e-mail me at I have the same symptons as you.
 FLYME15 - Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:05 pm

Facts: Am 85 yrs old. Retired military. Blew left lung 9 months ago and had major surgery. A piece of my lung was cut off. Recovery has been slow, with its ups and downs. MY QUESTION: Left side of rib cage gets very warm, but body temp is normal. This happens practically daily lately. It used to cool down when I went to bed and rested, but now it takes longer before it cools off.
Doctors have been or (refuse to) give me a reason for it. I put an ice pack on it to cool it off which works nominally. What could be causing it? and what can I do about it. (I KNOW I HAVE LIVED OVER THE NORMAL LIFE SPAN AND CAN TAKE IT IF ITS NOTHING THAT CAN BE CURED).... One of my graanddaughters gets married in September and I want to last long enough to make her wedding...(grin).
Have great genes and expected to live to 100 but smoking (seems as if everyone in my generation comes down with COPD) had its way.
So, what can I do about the warm left side. I may have aggravated something, as some doctors advised me to use my left arm and doing that may have been the cause.
I feel for all the young people on this FORUM that are having serious problems and I hope them all the best of luck.
 Tony1990 - Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:17 pm

Hello, I am an 18 year old male.. 10 stone, 6ft, I have had 'left chest pains' before,
honestly I thought i was having a heart attack or I was dying the pain was so bad, I was rushed to hospital, no test were taken, the doctors said i am too young to have heart problems and that it was most defiantly Cramps, this was about a year ago, and just tonight It happened again, this pain is unreal, so i Goggled 'pains in left side of my chest' and i discovered this site and many more like it,
I looked at some symptoms, I Do have cold feet always, tend to get alot of numness in my legs, and pains when i walk far, I really don't want to tell my family who i live with about it.. so anybody on here have any advice it would be great. this pain always comes at night.
 azz10000 - Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:13 am

Dear Czar1206
I am 27 year engineer working in south korea, After reading your article I found myself to be categorized with the same symptoms. In fact I am facing the pain since eight months now. I had anxiety attack almost an year ago and after getting the treatment I tried to change my life style to adjust with stress. I have muscular physique and I am a freak for gym. It’s been around 5 years to me since I am doing regular exercise however this pain has destroyed my schedule and I have been irregular since eight months.
I had been to many medical care centers. A famous heart specialist who did ECG, treadmill test and blood test and concluded that the pain isn’t due to heart disease. However I am not relieved. The pain is constant in my left hand and the heart area. I feel the heart muscles are being pulled. Also it radiates on the upper left side of the back. I also notice my left hand being colder than my right hand at times.
After being assured by the doctor, I thought the pain was because of my too much of exercise or some wrong exercise that I did or due to work stress that is troubling me a lot. I find myself stressed due to workload most of the time.
About three or four months ago I was too scared due to pain and was constantly thinking about it and slept in the same emotional condition in the late night. I felt as if I had an heart attack in the sleep and when it stopped I woke up after five to ten minutes due to hesitation. I am still not sure if it was a night mare or a serious attack. I ran to the hospital the next morning and the same kind of tests were done including the ecg and blood test which came out to be normal. The doctor then suggested me to see a psychologist and told me that this all because of your too much of thinking about it.
My life style is hectic and more over I watch movies, news etc. up to late night as late as 12 to 1 am. Almost every night (except few).
I am a Muslim by religion and hence have a habit of fasting for complete month of Ramadan. I did the same for the month of September. Luckily in Ramadan my daily schedule gets revised and I sleep early in night around 9 pm and get up early morning. That completes an 8 hour sleep. And more over there is regular praying etc. that keeps the stress out. Further during the fasting month I rarely do exercise. I found that when I followed this habit the pain slowly disappeared to nil. That really made me relieved.
However after Ramadan I had again started my regular late night lifestyle and the situation came back again.
I am now seriously thinking the reason for such pains is stress and sleeping late night make it worse. I feel if one sleeps early and gets up early those results in a perfect metabolism and health.
For your information I also take whey protein powder for exercise and muscle gain.
I am an emotional person and think s a lot about my health which sometimes makes the situation worse. I think the solution to your and my problem is as follows.
a. Sleep early and get up early (eight hours at least)
b. Acquire a life style which will make you feel stress free and try to help others or get involved in religious activities that will bring peace of mind.
c. If you do exercise check out each of your exercises if you do them correct. Especially the bench press machine (not the free rod and plates but the machine). Sometimes the machine is not correctly set or spacing of your left hand is lesser than your right hand (I have noticed this fault in our gym). Also use safe loads in gym.
I wish you and me find the easy solution to our problems Insha’Allah.
 emm2 - Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:23 pm

Hey Czar,

I'm an 18 year old female, and I have the same issues. I have had the pains in my chest for about 7 years. I recently had a EKG scan and Chest x-ray due to what I felt like was a heart attack. The lab test I went through said I was clear and I was just really stressed out. After 7 years of listening to the same thing said to me over and over again I do and do not believe that its just stress I feel that there is something more that is causing pain to radiate through my chest, arms, and back. I grew up with a dad as a doctor and a mom as a professor of oncology and they suggested stress but with a little more family history of heart attacks and high cholesterol was involved as well. If you find an answer let me know because I've lost pretty much all hope in what medical reports and hospitals tell me.
 fulcrum - Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:02 pm

I think you just described my symptoms perfectly.
What was your final diagnosis? Did the pain go away?
 CSD83 - Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:16 pm

Hello Everyone,
I am 27 male and I am glade I have come across this post. As I was reading through these post each one has the same symptoms that I am having. Recently my wife and I went to the movies to watch the new Iron Man 2 movie and I began to have similar things happen to me. When the movie started I felt a little dizzy, then about 20 min. later my left arm and chest started radiating heat, felt like it was getting hotter and hotter. Then my left hand felt cooler than my right hand. It also felt like I was having muscle cramps/twitches in my chest and my left shoulder, and the back of my arm. At the same time my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, but I think that was A little panic setting in because I seriously thought I was having a heart attack or a stroke. We left about 1/4ths through the movie and went to the ER. The Doctor did an EKG, Blood Test, Urinary Test, and a Chest X-Ray. They said everything was clear nothing showed up. I told them I was trying to cut out sodas and drinking more water. The Doc Assistant said there was no real reason that the soda would cause this. They asked if I was stressed about anything and I told them If I was I don't know about it. He said it could be stress and that caffeine may have had an effect but more than likely it didn't. After Visiting the ER I went to my Family Doc. and he looked at my medical record from the ER visit and he said everything checked out good and asked me the same question, "Are you stressed about anything?" The only thing I was stressed about at this point is trying to figure out whats going on, because this just recently started about a month ago. He recommended me trying a 2 Week Event Monitor that way when/if I had these symptoms again I can record whatever is going on. I am still waiting to hear back from him about any of the result and I also had a Echo-cardiogram (not sure if that is the right name for it, it's where they did a sonar of my heart) done too. Still waiting for the results from that. My Doc. didn't seemed to concerned about this situation. Praying about this and keeping in mind that the Doc didn't seemed to worried about it has helped me not think about what is going on, but it still comes and goes. I like to think it's just heart burn or maybe a pinched nerve causing the random radiating sensation, muscles twitching, and pains. The only thing I haven't seen any say that I have experienced while having this is sometimes the left side of my head feels that hair raising feeling like I just got goose bumps. I try to watch what I eat and Do when these random attacks happen that way I can try to pinpoint anything that could be triggering but so far nothing. Maybe one of you have heard or figured something out. I am also drinking 100% juice drinks and water and every once in a while I'll have a soft drink.
 artngo - Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:11 am

I find it relieving to see that I am not alone... I am a 21 year old male. I have been having Chest pains since late April 2010. My signs and symptoms are similar to what I have heard. It is the worst in the mornings when my muscles are the tightest. Initially, when I experienced these symptoms, I felt it on my left side of the chest close to the sternum, but it later migrated to the right upper side of the chest, near the sternum and has been there ever since. The pain surfaces when I retract my shoulder blades and stand/sit up straight. If i take a deep breath in that position, the pain intensifies. The pain radiated to my mid-back a few times which really made it difficult to breath even in a relaxed posture. Although I have a history of untreated back pain, the pain is moderate and is mainly lower back pain. I find that my upper back pain correlates with stress.
However, I do not find the chest pain correlating with stress, but I will pay more attention to that. I do not believe it is caused by any heart diseases since I am a health and workout freak. My EKG turned out great. I still need my blood work done, but I am expecting that I am also fine in that area. I meet the RDA values in the fruit pyramid. Though on average my salt intake is 500-1000 mg over, I believe I sweat everything out due to the intense exercise I put myself through, or used to put myself through... I have listened to medical doctors to stop exercising for the time being. I am thinking the pain originating from my muscularskeletal system. I know the X-ray did not pick up anything. Though I would like another opinion of those slides. I am hoping to get a MRI and CAT scan done soon.
Though I am tempted to workout, I do not... and it is killing me. My family doctor suggested me to see a rheumatologist. I hope that she will help me fix this problem. It is inhibiting my performance at work and school. It is only a matter of time before I lose my mental and emotional stability to withstand this lifestyle change. I do not want to give up, but reading these forums is not giving me much hope. Especially, the idea of these symptoms lingering for several years. I am prepared to exercise through this pain even though that is not the smartest idea... Nevertheless, I am trying to remain strong to fight this, but it difficult when doctors do not know the cause of these symptoms and their treatments yield little positive results.
One doctor, assured me that my pain was caused by my long term untreated back pain and the multiple knots in my entire back. It did seem like a logical diagnosis and she recommended me to see a chiropractor to relax my muscles and realign me. However, I am wary of her diagnosis though it may be on the right track. Her thought process may have been biased since I later found out that she, herself was a Chiropractor assigned in the ER. Her diagnosis would be accurate for my friend who has constant back pain with occasional intervals of chest pain occurring a few times a week. However, symptomatically, my case is nearly the opposite. I have moderate back pain with constant chest pain causing occasional mid-back pain. If my Rheumatologist is not successful in her treatment, then I will consider seeing a Chiropractor. Although, the idea of seeing a chiropractor is turning me away since the general thought accompanies the idea that "once you see a chiropractor, you will always see a chiropractor", I will do what it takes to get rid of this pain.
I also have a habit of researching my symptoms, I ran across costalchrondritis, which is an inflammation of the rib cartilages. However, I have every symptom except a major one which is tenderness with touch.
I have taken muscle relaxers with ibuprofen which has made the pain better, but it is still present. I ice it after any type of activity that I think might have put stress on that area. I also try to stretch 2x/day usually in the morning and before bedtime. Though my pains have gradually improved after its initial onset, It seems like my symptoms are not going to dissipate any more than it already has. If anyone discovers how to get rid themselves of this pain, please take the time to email me at
 venukgopal - Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:32 pm

Hello CSD83

Your incidence at the Iron Man 2 in theatre reminded me of my personal incidence. You may be wondering what could go wrong you felt you were almost a heart attack, when doctors team said every test result is normal. You may need to consider your emotional setting. Narrating my incident is not to belittle your experience or psychology, but just a perspect what our psychology can do what we assume phisiology should the source for. I almost thought I woule be mad man in next moment, and continued a period of 2 -4 years of life suffering from that one-minute incident.

Symptoms different, in 2000 ( I was having some anxiety certainly about my job performance and what-if I lose job, then family scenarios - to briefly summarize my anxiety), I woke in my bed one night, my wife was sleeping soundly by my side. Thoughts were running through my mind, and suddenly I got a thought I may lose my mind and would become mad. (I have had a 3o min episode of past in 1999 - when I stressed out on bench waiting for job assignment - when I felt like I would be mad in next few minutes. I declared that to my wife and kids, went to bed and woke next day normally. But apparently this incident seeded in my brain). This time night, I got this thought again came over me rapidly that 'in next moment, I switch..switch..', body became hot, I could not rest. I felt like waking up my wife, my neighbour about my becoming mad. Part of my mind knows, it is psychological, but I could not control. That psychological attach lasted for 3 - 4 years, to regain my past mental balance. All through those years, I would have spells of times, when I would hallucinating my lonliness, going to be mad next minutes, body becomes warm / worry!! It will be unbelievable until one experiences. Regaining normalcy, I stamped that out of many human emotions, I have the emotion - FEAR is very dominant in me that caused me such mental trauma. There is no physical evidence to my worry, but all psychological.
 randomglitter - Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:08 pm

after reading your posts and looking up on the net i am amazed soo many of us all seem to be suffering..But with no proper diagnoses!
I am 24 yrs old and have been in igony for the past week with this pain. The pain started just under my left armpit and across my breast, the best way i can describe it is like a heavy weight with shocks every few min. Unlike sum people my pain has yet to go away or ease up.. It Is Constant, at times it gets very hot (burning sensation) and i constantly have my left arm stuck to my side (i have even resulted to putting it in a sling) as i fell this sum how helps...Today for the first it feels like it is spreading down my ridcage.

Now my problem is that i went to my doctors today as i am now starting to worry..Was with her for all of 5 min she examined my breasts says there is no lumps or anything and that my pain could be Shingles..huh..Told her there was no rash or fever or anything only to here "Give it a few days"...
I was just wondering if any of you guy can help me..Have you heard of this? been diagnosed

Any info at all helps

Thank you

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