Mild chest pains

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Chris711
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Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/20/2007 4:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
 
This probably isn't strictly anxiety, but wondered if anyone here could shed some light on another problem that's cropped up.
 
I have an aching pain in the top left part of my chest. It's not severre and doesn't appear to be linked to excercise or anything. It's quite localised, usually appearing roughly where my ribs meet my breast bone (a couple of ribs down from the top) but occasionally feels like it turns up anywhere out to my armpit (any point along a line at the same height)
 
I first noticed it at the same time as a cough-like throat irritation recently and intially I thought this was just the pain associated with a chest infection - it does feel a bit like the pain you get after coughing hard, yet more localised. It comes and goes progressively (no sudden onset - it varies from undectable to mild discomfort) and doesn't seem to be associated with any chest pressure or anything.
 
Does anyone kow what it might be? -GERD? -chest infection? -psychosomatic?
 
I'm a relatively healthy 23 year old and I had an ECG about 18 months ago for a work medical which came up fine as did a couple of blood pressure checks when my anxiety kicked in recently.
 
Thanks,
 
Chris.

Post Edited (Chris711) : 3/20/2007 5:55:35 AM (GMT-6)


debaser
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   Posted 3/20/2007 8:42 AM (GMT -7)   
It could be any of those things, I guess. GERD can certainly do all kinds of things in your chest. I don't normally have it with my GERD but lots and lots of people do. After bronchitis I often have pains that are something sort of like you describe. I've always just thought it was inflammation from coughing and stuff. Psychosomatic? If you weren't anxious and felt the same thing, do you think you'd notice it?

If you really want to be sure you'd have to have a Dr. work it up, of course. If it's not severe I wouldn't think it's a heart problem, but then again I don't know anything.

Chris711
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Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/20/2007 10:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Those were my thoughts too. What I've heard before is largely "if you're having heart trouble, you'll know about it". If this wasn't so persistent even now I'd put it down to indigestion, but it's been on and off for the best part of a week. The whole of my torsode feels a bit uncomfortable one way or another (it's not just my chest!) and whilst driving back from work a second ago someone I had someone nearly crash into me and I could feel what seemed to be a sudden burst of acid in my stomach, which seems to suggest something like GERD. My chest feels a little tight now, but it's not the sort of thing I'd notice that much if I wasn't thinking about it - I'd just put it down to indigestion.
 
The feeling in the upper left part of my chest is still there and I can immagine it would be very similar to Bronchitus (having had minor chest infections in the past). It feels a little bit like a scratch and seems to be more noticable if I cough or take a sudden breath. Occasional seems to transfer to my armpit, but it's not as if the pain radiates there, just that it fades away in one place and then turns up seperately in another.
 
Will talk to my doctor, but unfortunately I live in a third world country (well, england...) with a state funded health service that's very reluctant to spend any money investigating people :) with a slight history of anxiety I think I'll be told to go away and "come back if it get's any worse"
 
Of course, I'm assuming that it's not anxiety itself and that's already 'given' me two brain tumors, MS and HIV so I presume it can do all sorts of things to your chest too. The first thing I learned on here was not to underestimate what your mind can do to your body. I had twinges all over my body when my anxiety was really bad a few weeks back. Just had one in my right elbow (I'm sure that's in the mind) and it's quite similar to what's going on in my chest, so who knows.

Chris711
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Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/20/2007 12:35 PM (GMT -7)   
....and now the pain is predominatly in the area of my left armpit. Not a good area for someone who's paranoid about a heart condition!

One suggestion I've heard is that it could even be a posture thing. I usually tend to sleep on my right side, but recently I've taken to sleeping on my left!!

The discomfort remains barely enough to detect, but it's driving me up the wall. After all the horrible diseases I convinced myself I was having at one stage or another I thought I was going back to a normal life :(

debaser
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   Posted 3/20/2007 1:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, man, I know you're only 23 so you probably haven't experienced much of this...but sometimes people just get aches and pains. There's no real reason for them. They just happen.

Before you think I'm being condescending, I'm basing what I said on "the discomfort remains barely enough to detect".

I'm not a doctor. I have absolutely no way of knowing for sure, but unless you can really feel it I doubt it's much to worry about.

Are you drinking enough water? If you have a chest cold, you need to drink lots of water. It could just be mild muscle cramps...water may fix it. Posture may fix it. It could be that you just have an achy gland because you're fighting off the remains of an illness.

I'm one to talk, but find something to do so that you're distracted from it. I'm willing to bet it goes away. If you're genuinely distracted and it gets worse or just never goes away, then see your doctor.

Better yet...

Do you have health insurance? Look on your insurance card for the company's phone number. Most of them have an option to speak to a nurse. They'll go over your symptoms and will talk to you about it. Let them know you're an anxiety sufferer, too. If they say you need to get to a doctor immediately, then do that. If they say you need to be seen in 48 to 72 hours, I take that to mean if it persists then go to the doctor in 48 to 72 hours.

Howlyncat
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Date Joined Jan 2005
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   Posted 3/20/2007 4:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there
I am thinking it is prolly to do with the regular aches and pains we get with A/P as well as maybe Gerd
I know plenty of ppl that complain of same pain that suffer from a/p
I wish you all the best
You very well can call to make yourself feel better and to get an opinon as I am not a professional either
Please let us know what goes from here k
LYN
Someone else has a thread on armpit pain
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Chris711
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Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/21/2007 3:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Very true - if it felt like an impending heart attack I'd be off to hospital, not debating it here! It's just it seems to have been going for ages now and it's more or less constant and in that 'worrying' area of my chest/left arm. I did get a rather stronger pain in the same area last night which really shook me up for a bit, but after getting up to go to the bathroom it dissapeared, so I'm putting that one down to indigestion!!

Don't worry, I don't see it as condescending - as well as some advice, I come on here for a reality check! I know how unlikely it is to be a real heart problem, but it doesn't stop me worrying about it (and if I was to be negative for a second, I suppose it doesn't completely stop it being one)

Ironically, having had anxiety problems I'm no stranger to feeling light headed and getting pins'n'needles in my fingers, but these haven't actually happened recently that's got to be another good sign (heart wise)

The lingering pain in my chest doesn't feel like indigestion, it's hard to describe but it feels different and very specific, which is one of the things that makes me worry ("if not - what is it?") I suppose it could be muscular - I've more or less moved in with my girlfriend now, which means instead of sleeping on my right, I taking to sleeping on my left side either scrunched up or with an innevitable head/elbow/miscelaneous body part rested on my chest!! Perhaps it's a combination of that and GERD or something who knows.

Did have one slightly odd experience last night - I woke up and it felt like my windpipe had closed off. I had to sit up and take a gulp of air, then I was fine - no hyperventilation or anything associated with it, just a one off thing as if something was lodged in my throat and then it came out.

So.... all sorts of random stuff happening to me. Maybe it is a factor of life, but for the first 22 years or so, my body never missed a beat and it seems to have been falling apart for the past couple of months - I'm sure 90% of it is in the mind, but still....

jordaNZone
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Date Joined Sep 2006
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   Posted 3/21/2007 5:58 AM (GMT -7)   
It truly sounds like anxiety to me Chris..and from time to time I have suffered all your symptoms you mention..however I am no medical prof...so my advice would be to go to your doc. tell him of your symptoms..put your mind at ease - torturing yourself with what Might be wrong is not helpful..trust me I know from experience..health anxiety sux big time..But with the right meds, and a dose of counselling/therapy you will soon be on the right path towards feeling better soon I promise tongue
Maree
Forum Moderator - Depression
Forum Moderator - Anxiety-Panic Disorders
 
"In any moment of decision,
the best thing you can do is the right thing,
the next best thing is the wrong thing,
and the worst thing you can do is nothing."
Roosevelt.
 
Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. 
 


Chris711
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/21/2007 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Maree - all good to hear.
 
Getting a doctors appointment is easier said than done (it's about a 2 week waiting list right now!) but I'm gonna see what I can do.
 
I agree entirely that focusing on what might happen given a small probability is a bad thing, but even though my symptoms have always been relatively minor (and don't stop me physically doing anything) I've always found that I can't enjoy other stuff until theres some relief from whatever symptoms I'm having. I find it very difficult to ignore it and focus on other things, as the only time my mind seems to let the other things in is when the anxiety fades for a while.
 
I know medication works very well for a lot of people, but I don't really think it's for me. Assuming everything I've experienced so far is anxiety related, I'm not too worried about the physical symptoms. Thankfully it's not anything like as physically debilitating for me as it is for some people and for this reason I don't want to risk any side effects or addictive tendancies that might come from drugs. I suppose the flipped side of the coin is I'll continue getting all sorts of apparently physical symptoms until I've exhausted the list of unpleasant diseases! But still, it's something I'd rather over come psychologically.
 
Can I just ask again if anyone here has had personal experience of chest pains based purely on anxiety? As with my previous "diseases" I know I'm at a low risk of them, but a high risk of health anxiety, but never quite sinks in when I say it sad

Howlyncat
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Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/21/2007 9:12 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes Chris I have and I am 53 so it was pretty scary for me at 52 to have thoughts of a heart attack when it is also a problem in our Family medical history
I ahve talked extensively with my doc and was told it is from my severe anxiety
I have not had for a couple of months but next time I will try and work thry them by what I have learned onmy CBT and relaxing and breathing techniques
I wish you all the best
LYN
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Chris711
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/21/2007 10:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Lyn - do you ever find the pain extending to your arm? I stupidly googled it and one site claimed this was the key symptom of heart based chest pain. Sure I've heard that GERD related chest pain can go off to one side? Suppose the mind can make it go anywhere too....

grangerlou
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
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   Posted 3/21/2007 4:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Chris - to answer your last question....that's exactly where my "uncofmortable feelings in my chest" as i like to call them come from.  i even get sore in some areas near my armpit.  i've talked to many doctors and rushed myself to the ER a few times and even after two EKGs nothing was found wrong.  it's amazing what anxiety can do to a person phsyically.  most importantly though, talk to your doctor and make sure you rule out all other things and you might get some relief!

jordaNZone
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Date Joined Sep 2006
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   Posted 3/21/2007 11:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Chest pains for me now are a warning bell that I better start breathing properly and calm down..I don't get pains down my arms to go with it..yet..lol.
I have ended up at the doctors surgery on more than one occasion totally convinced that I having some sort of cardiac event...but all tests have proven that all is well..phew! Very scarey experience!
Looking symptoms up on the net is a big 'no no' nono for me..I have a vivid imagination and can dream up all sorts of diseases..sounds funny..but Not!
Maree
Forum Moderator - Depression
Forum Moderator - Anxiety-Panic Disorders
 
"In any moment of decision,
the best thing you can do is the right thing,
the next best thing is the wrong thing,
and the worst thing you can do is nothing."
Roosevelt.
 
Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. 
 


Chris711
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/22/2007 3:16 AM (GMT -7)   
I know - it's not something I should do either. The thing is I always go out looking for something which says "xxxxx, a perfectly harmless condition, can also mimic hear disease/HIV/MS/cancer" I'm never looking for what I might have, always trying to prove that I don't have something. This of course rarely works and I find something that convinces me I do have it.

I think it all comes back to a fundamental thing - I've finnally got my life pretty much how I want it to be. I don't really want for a great deal and it almost seems innevitable that something will come and spoil it. The pain is very real (whatever causes it) and that makes it difficult to dismiss. As I'm sure I've said before, this wouldn't be the first disease I've been dying of this year, but the symptoms seem disturbingly convincing and when they come on I just can't think about anything else. It's strange, because I've always been an extremely logical, pragmatic person before and normally I'd be able to say I'm young, fit and have relatively recent blood and ECG test results, therefore the chances of a heart problem are minimal. I know that's true, but unfortunately it's one of those occasions where morbid belief takes over from logical thought!!

jordaNZone
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Date Joined Sep 2006
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   Posted 3/24/2007 6:56 PM (GMT -7)   

Chris - even if you have to wait two weeks to see your doc - it doesn't matter - make the appt. and put your self torturing to rest..maybe he could set up some counselling for you - so you can learn some new skills to cope and possibly meds ~ I know they are not for everyone, but I can assure you they really do help.

Maree


Forum Moderator - Depression
Forum Moderator - Anxiety-Panic Disorders
 
"In any moment of decision,
the best thing you can do is the right thing,
the next best thing is the wrong thing,
and the worst thing you can do is nothing."
Roosevelt.
 
Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. 
 


Chris711
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/25/2007 6:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Saw the doctor on Friday - he did a very quick check with a stethoscope and immediately concluded it wasn't cardiac. He thought it was probably acid reflux.

The hypochondriac in me was slightly sceptical about how quickly he concluded this, but logically it makes far more sense (even to me!!) so I've just been ignoring it. It's a bit uncomfortable, but I'm not especially worried as long as I know it's relatively harmless.

We'll see how it goes....

jordaNZone
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Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 752
   Posted 3/27/2007 1:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Excellent Chris...good news..so now you really have to do some bigtime 'self-talk' and convince yourself that the doc is right..and you have Nothing to worry about..easier said than done I know lol.
Focus on something else other than You..distraction and diversion...any kind of project that will stop you dwelling on bad stuff..it could be as big as planning a holiday, or as easy as doing a jigsaw..
You are only 23 yrs old and have so many adventures ahead of you - wow, I would love to be that age again..
Keep posting with your progress.
Maree
Forum Moderator - Depression
Forum Moderator - Anxiety-Panic Disorders
 
"In any moment of decision,
the best thing you can do is the right thing,
the next best thing is the wrong thing,
and the worst thing you can do is nothing."
Roosevelt.
 
Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. 
 


Chris711
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 3/27/2007 3:46 AM (GMT -7)   
I know. And ironically this has come at a time when I've got more than ever before to live for - no shortage of good stuff going on that should distract me. Ever so occasionally though the anxiety makes me obsess about something (can be comparatively minor - got pins'n'needles in my arm last night and I knew I'd probably been sleeping on it, but still set me off) and then I find it difficult to concentrate on the good stuff. The anxiety, even if it's over something small seems to take over.

...only occasionally though, most of the time I'm completely normal.

Your last comment is kind of ironic. Despite things going well for me at the moment, I'd love to be (say) 19 again, lol. This whole experience is still a new thing to me and hopefully only a temporary one.

jordaNZone
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Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 752
   Posted 3/28/2007 6:38 AM (GMT -7)   
There are lots of us that understand the 'health anxiety ' thing believe me - I am an expert lol. A couple of days ago I pulled a muscle right in the area where I have convinced myself that I get chestpain happening..that set me off too - sheesh..it took me a little while to realise that if I twisted in a certain way it really hurt lol..and that No I was not having a heart attack... eyes
Maree
Forum Moderator - Depression
Forum Moderator - Anxiety-Panic Disorders
 
"In any moment of decision,
the best thing you can do is the right thing,
the next best thing is the wrong thing,
and the worst thing you can do is nothing."
Roosevelt.
 
Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. 
 


SarahP
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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1185
   Posted 3/28/2007 7:37 AM (GMT -7)   
I've had severe chest pains associated with anxiety. Granted, it was a major event going on... (hit by a tornado, trees down everywhere, more coming at us)... but man, I could not breathe it hurt so bad. Luckily I had Klonopin and I ate three of them in 4 hours, not my dosage.. but at a moment like that my doc said I was definately in the right for using that much.
It is strange how anxiety can manifest in cardiac-like symptoms. A lot of times, my mild chest pains are from my chest muscles tensing. It pulls on everything and I can even feel my ribs shifting around and *crackling*.
Of course, GERD also gives them to me. So it's such a toss up. I usually just take my pulse for a couple seconds, if my heart is beating then I figure I'm fine and toss down a Tums and go on. I used to totally flip out at any *chest* symptoms, after NOT DYING from them for a couple years, figured I wasn't likely to another time. ;)
I'm not procrastinating----I'm still doing yesterday!!!! 
I have no medical training, any medical opinions expressed in my posts are just that....opinions.

Co-Moderator for : Chronic Pain, Fibro

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