Not so average chest pain? Or is it?

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/15/2014 7:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone, for about 2 years now I have had chest pain. It started as VERY mild discomfort and mostly would just bother me when I was trying to sleep. It first started when I was sitting at my computer and I got a slight sharp pain in my chest on the left side near the heart and then my heart started beating very fast and hard. I got up, told my mother, and we went to the ER just in case (this is still about 2 years ago). Got an EKG done and it was normal. Doctor came in and said that everything looked fine and not to worry. I also started having acid reflux around this time.

Then throughout the past couple of years I learned to just deal with the discomfort. It felt like slight pressure and I was always aware of my heartbeat, especially when trying to sleep. I also changed my diet pretty quickly after the first "attack." I ate no fast food and I drank only water while also avoiding foods that triggered my acid reflux. My lifestyle remained pretty sedentary (exercise rarely, walk to class and back from class).

This scenario lasted up until about a month and a half ago and it has gotten much worse, much faster. I was sitting in my apartment room and all day I felt odd. I had a slight tingling feeling in my arm and back (accompanied with a slight burn) and felt light headed that day. I called my mom and I was telling her about it and then suddenly - BOOM... I felt tingling (pins-and-needle) creep up my neck to my head and onto my face. My arm, back and chest were tingling too. I felt pressure on my chest and my heart was beating intensely. Felt very woozy and lightheaded. I looked in my mirror and my face was extremely pale. I told my mom I thought I was having a heart attack and that I'd call 911.

The ambulance showed up and they took vitals which seemed fine. I had an EKG done at the hospital, explained what happened, and then they released me. They said I had an anxiety attack. Ok. Fine.

Since then (about a month and a half ago), I've gotten worse and worse. I've been to my PCP and he did an EKG and lots of blood work. Everything returned normal. I'm 23 and he said that I was too young for heart problems and he really thinks anxiety is the cause. To "ease my mind," he got me to a cardiology appointment. He also got me X-Rays which returned normal.

At that appointment, I got ANOTHER EKG which also returned normal results. The doc came in and said that I was too young, the EKG was normal, and the symptoms I described to him sounded like anxiety or a pinched nerve and not related to cardiac problems. He didn't feel the need to do any additional testing.

A few days after that appointment I had another attack, similar to last one, and once again I went to the ER. Thought I was having a heart attack again so I went just in case. This time, they took it more seriously after I told them everything leading up to it. I was admitted into the hospital despite another normal EKG and vitals. During my stay, I got a stress test (I walked on a treadmill which sped up at intervals of 2 minutes) and that test was normal. After that test, I got an ECG which also returned normal. Then I stayed in the hospital for an entire day (24ish hours) hooked to a holster monitor which is like a mini-EKG that is checking on me constantly. During this entire stay at the hospital, I did have symptoms but they weren't as bad as normal.

I'll provide a list of my symptoms. I'm lost as to what is causing this. Anxiety seems to be the doctor's position and I've been prescribed Xanax for it (which doesn't eliminate the symptoms). I don't feel like anxiety is the primary cause of my discomfort. I know my body and this happens even when I'm not worried about anything. The only thing I ever even worry about is my health and after 2 years of living with this, I'm used to shutting it out as much as possible. It's simply getting to the point that I can't even focus on things I enjoy.

Here are my current symptoms:

Pressure in chest, on left side
- Sensation often feels like a bruise that is being pressed on constantly or someone jabbing their elbow into my chest (no additional or replicated pain by pressing on the area)
- Sometimes the pressure is accompanied by sharp, shooting pains
- Often feels like the inside of my chest is vibrating/tingling (the sensation you get when a limb falls asleep)

Burning and pinching feeling on my left shoulder blade
- Pain radiates to my left arm and around my ribcage to my heart area and across the bridge of my back
- I also get this feeling on the back of my head

Often have a cold/clammy feeling on left chest which can affect my left shoulder and left arm as well.
- Myself and others can physically feel the temperature decrease on this side which my right side remains normal

Head often feels like it has pressure on the back of it
- Often accompanied by tingling on back of head and across "chin strap."
- Makes me feel light headed and unfocused
- Occasional shooting pains in the head, which scare me because it feels like a blood vessel up there could burst or something

I occasionally get random "hot spots" on different parts of the body
- Golf ball sized hot spot that is usually located on either of my calves or on my arms (mostly left arm, but sometimes right)
- They don't last long and aren't hot to the touch

Acid Reflux
- Belching sometimes accompanied by vomit (which I don't actually vomit out)

Constipation for about a week recently
- Took a stool softener as recommended by my PCP
- Color of stool while constipated was pale and in hard balls
- Once stool softener worked and my bowel movements were more normal, my stools have been yellow since.

Well, those are my symptoms and the story of what I'm going through. If anyone has any idea or similar experience that can help me with this I would truly appreciate it. If you have any questions about it, then maybe I can elaborate and tell you more so you can help me.

Thanks for reading!

Post Edited (Vancizzle) : 10/15/2014 7:09:44 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2014
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/17/2014 1:12 PM (GMT -6)   
I am sorry you are having so much trouble. The encouraging thing is that no cardiac tests have yielded any heart problems. It sounds like they have done a good job of ruling out the most serious concern you have--that being your heart.

It is quite possible that you suffer from panic attacks. The symptoms you mention seem to coincide with the symptoms that happen when a panic attack occurs. I have suffered from panic attacks for almost 30 years, and have felt the same you that you are feeling many times. The great news is that your heart does not seem to be unhealthy. I went through the gambit of testing many times, and tried Effexor for the panic, which worked for me.

The most beneficial thing I did for myself, however, was learning how to stop letting the panic take over my life. I went through periods in my life when I could not go out of my house, and it is sad that I allowed myself to be affected in that way. Many years were lost worrying about dying, that I forgot to live.

The best thing I did for myself was to remind myself over and over that no matter what symptoms were happening, my doctor had given me a clean bill of health and that it wasn't real. If you have had a clean bill of health given to you, then that is your jumping off point. When we are under stress the sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive and sends all kinds of signals to the rest of our body to strange and bizarre things.

Have you considered talking to someone besides a physician? Sometimes just talking to others who have been there and done that can help. Even getting out there and just walking can help. I got myself a dog that I am responsible for and walk twice a day whether I feel like it or not. Usually the act of caring for her takes my mind off of what I am worrying about for at least a short time.

I hope that something I have said helps in some small way, and good luck to you! turn turn
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