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Quick, sharp pain in chest
fatherpaul77 posted:
Hi guys, I'm new to this board so posted it on another board here - sorry if it shows up twice, I'm just getting the hang of it. Thanks!)

I'm a 31-year old male, with no history in the family of heart trouble. About a year and a half ago, I awoke with some chest discomfort when breathing; I went down to the bathroom and got light headed, fell and got up; but was sweating a bit. I went into the clinic, and wore a monitor for a month and I'd press a button anytime I had the slightest bit of discomfort. I did this and the cardiologist concluded there was no condition related to the heart.

Since then however I've had some minor pains come and go. Often it is a sharp, quick burst of pain in the left part of the chest near the heart; it lasts a second, or might be a series of these quick bursts lasting a minute. It's usually when I'm at rest; though today while jogging it came after I had been jogging for 50 minutes. I do exercise daily, and can typically run about 5 to 6 miles or spend an hour on an eliptical machine with no problems. My cholesterol when last checked last year was good; my doctor said it was better than his; and my resting BP is around 120 over 70 to 80. So all in all the things look fine, but then these pains come and I get very nervous. I've been in twice, had EKGs and it's all normal - my GP says it's likely nerve endings firing off in the chest area, nothing more. I do also talk to a therapist for anxiety, and the bottom line is these pains still come every so often and I sometimes have a panic attack when they do, thinking it's a heart attack or something. I don't want to keep dropping co-pays and being the nutjob who shows up every week in the doctor's office, but I guess is this something I should just ignore or will likely live with for the rest of my life? Any thoughts?
husker6923 responded:
Hello, you are not a nutjob and sound perfectly healthy except for the chest pain.

I am a 28 year old male with no heart problem history. I have constant chest/shoulder/neck/back/left arm discomfort. The left arm is tingling. I have had to stop playing basketball and lifting weights. I'm not sure what to do?

I wonder if it's because I'm on the computer the entire time? I can't even fall asleep because of the discomfort.

I've had an EKG, chest x-ray, chest mri, shoulder mri, and nerve conduction test with no carpal tunnel, etc. The EKG and chest x-ray was done back in January 2009, so I wonder if I need another EKG? Or should I do a stress test with a cardiologist?
fatherpaul77 responded:
Hi husker,

Well glad to know I'm not the only one out there who has this kind of thing. I'm on the computer a lot too; it could be stress; hard to say. My doc seemed to think it's simply nerve endings firing off. My EKG was last year and heart monitor thing was in April of 08, but basically they aren't too concerned. It happens to me every so often where I get these sudden bursts of pain, and just freaks me out - think of "Tweak" from South Park - and think the worst might be happening. I'm guessing if you had it back in January you should just stay in touch with your doc and listen to what he or she tells you; but I don't think the heart would change that much in a short amount of time. He tells me the key is if you are exercising and feel it all of a sudden that's your stress test; for me it's almost always at rest; I did notice it today at the end of a run but I think it wasn't related to the workout.

Thanks for the feedback though - sure causes me a lot of anxiety! Paul
JACKIECHAN84 responded:
hi "fatherpaul77", I am also new to this message board. I can relate to your chest pain. I am a athletic 25 year old female who also expieriances theese severe chest pains that come and go in seconds that occur mostly at rest. It is a sharp stabbing pain. I would get a second opinion if I were you, sugest having a echo done. I have had many ekg's that came out normal, but that did'nt mean for me that I did'nt have something wrong with my heart. I finally had a dr listen to me and believe me when I told him all my symptoms which include high pulse,chest pain, etc.. He reffered me to a cardioligist who did a echo, and the results were suprising even to my dr. My right atrium is enlaged and I have regurgitation of the aorta. Now they tell me the only cure is open heart surgery.
fatherpaul77 responded:
That's rough - sorry to hear about what the echo found but hopefully you can avoid the surgery. I made an appointment and am talking to another doc tomorrow for his take.
husker6923 responded:
Hello guys,

When I play basketball or do another cardio workout, I am fine but always tightens up when I'm done. Ice helps it for a while but then once not numb, the pain comes back.

Have you guys ever heard of TOS, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome? I wonder if it could be that?

When visiting a cardiologist, should I ask for a stress test or a Echo? I already had an EKG back in January 2009, so do I really need an Echo? What's the difference? What does the stress test measure by the way?

What are some ways I can check at home to ensure it's NOT my heart? Are their stretches, positions, etc. that I can try? Also, will food or alchohol affect the area?

Best of luck and let's keep talking on here!
husker6923 responded:

I'm on the laptop all day. Are there certain stretches I can do,etc.?

Also, I went to a neurologist and they said no carpal tunnel? Are there other things he should've been looking at?

Thanks and take care!
fatherpaul77 responded:
Hi Husker,

As far as tests, I have no idea what to recommend - I'm not a doctor, though I have watched "ER." As my handle suggests I'm a Catholic priest.

My doc said to me your workout is your stress test, meaning if I'm running and all of a sudden have chest pressure, that's a sign of a blockage or something. He seems unconcerned, and in my case thinks it's just nerves firing off in the chest area. Could be; I'm visiting with another one later this morning as I called and left a message with a question and they wanted to see me for an evaluation.

It's difficult because I get so concerned about it and am a little, I think, overly fearful. One thing though I think we all have to do is put trust in other people - docs have studied up, know the body well, and while it might not be their body and they are making a best guess, at a certain point you just have to trust them. The morning run went well today but I did have tingling in my left arm, probably non-heart related though as there was no chest discomfort and I've been running or doing something else daily for years (but my diet is less than ideal so I have to work on that).

As far as stretches, etc., what he did in the office was press on the chest a little but there was no discomfort. He also did an EKG. Last year I wore the heart monitor for a month and must have pressed it 50 or so times in that month and they found I'm not sure what more they can or would do for me. This discussion does help though.

Take care, Paul
husker6923 responded:
Hello Fr. Paul,

I've been born and raised Catholic and still practicing my faith to this day. I am glad to hear you are a Catholic Priest!

If my issue was heart related, would my neck ache and would my shoulder ache? Also, when I put my arms straight up in the air towards the heavens, I can feel strain in my upper chest/armpit area.

One doctor said if I cut out alcohol for a few weeks, he said you can rule out alcohol as a cause. I do not eat fatty foods but do drink diet soda and quite a bit of citric acid ie: salsa, limes, etc. I wonder what that will do?

I am going to try and run this afternoon to check to see if I have the chest pain while running. I am glad to hear your problem could be nerves firing off. I did go to the neurologist and he said things look good.

Regarding sleeping at night, what position, etc. do you find works the best? I sleep on my back with about 4 pillows to raise me up a bit.

Regarding medications, I am taking 800mg Ibuprofen and not sure if this is helping or not. Also, if there is a clot or blockage, do you think an aspirin a day would help?

This is really starting to consume me and I'm getting scared/worried/paranoid, whatever you want to call it...

Anybody else want to chime in on this discussion, you are MORE than welcome to.

Thanks a ton!
JACKIECHAN84 responded:
Hi Husker, I also am no Dr., but considering I do have a life threatening heart condition I have done alot of research on heart disease and tests that can be done to detect heart problems. A stress test is a test done while excercising it shows how your heart reacts under stress. If your symptoms occur while working out, this would be a good test for you in my opinion. If you have symptoms while exerting yourself, experts say this is not a good sign. As far as a echo goes this is also a good test to check for any physical damage to the heart or inproper blood flow. Listen to your body, dont ignore your symptoms you know your body better than any one. If you feel something is wrong there probably is, whether it be minor or major!
fatherpaul77 responded:
Hi Husker,

Well like I said I think the best route is to just talk to your doctor and if they recommend a stress test to do that. Exercise puts strain on the heart and works it; so if there is pain then it indicates the heart might be under more pressure and a blockage. But of course your doc is the one to talk to on this.

I always sleep on my stomach, and don't think that has affected my condition at all. And as far as meds, I have no idea of that is a good thing or not - I've heard an aspirin a day can help, but again just consult your doc.

I too get paranoid and obsess about it - it's not fun. I went in again today and they did an EKG, listened to my heart and this other doc felt it was nerves firing off and not to worry about it; BP was 112/70 or so and pulse was 62. Our bodies can do odd things, and maybe this is just something I have to live with - I know my mom has a lot of chronic pains that come and go. I think you just reach a point where you have to try to trust the doctors but if things get worse make sure to let them know.

Glad to hear you are Catholic too - it's a great Church )

Have a good day, Paul
husker6923 responded:
Thanks for all the help guys! The thing is, I am on the computer abuot 10-12 hours/day... are there tests or certains exercises I can do to make me feel better? For reference, the neurologist said it was NOT carpal tunnel syndrome.

Do you think drinking alcohol has been a cause for why I feel this way? Perhaps my arteries are clogged or hardened, what test would check for that? Eating different types of foods doesn't really make it flare up. I haven't had a drink of alcohol since Friday night, so why does it hurt so bad now?

And if it was truly the heart, would my neck, shoulder, and arm hurt so bad like they do now?

Thanks a ton and best of luck to you guys as well. You will all be in my prayers...

Take care!
fatherpaul77 responded:
Hi Husker,

Hard to say if your artieries have clogging or not - probably a good indicator is your last cholesterol count? Again I'm no doc, but just keep telling your symptoms to your doc and go with what they say.

Thanks for the prayers - you will be in mine too! Take care, Paul
JACKIECHAN84 responded:
Hi Husker, Like I said before I am no Dr., but I do know that if your problems are heart related it is very possible for your neck,shoulder,arm, and even stomach to hurt or have tingling, numb sensations. As a diagnosed heart disease patient I myself have expierianced all theese symptoms, which are heart related symptoms for me. Whether the symptoms you are expierancing are heart related are not is up to your Dr. to decide and futher investigate. Be very thorough when you go to your check ups, whether you feel embarassed or not. Your Dr. only knows as much as you tell him! As far as drinking being the source of your problems, it is very possible! Alcohol can cause permanant damage to your organs, including the heart! Whether your not drinking currently are not, alcohol can have permanent effects on your heart! The only way to be sure what is causing your symptoms is to see your Dr. and go over every detail with him. Sometimes The cause can be unknown. I have yet to find out the cause of my heart disease, but I cant help to think that the damage could of been caused by me! I also used to drink heavily and use drugs, but thanks to the strength God gave me to pull out of all that I no longer drink or use!

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