Chest pain on breathing, moving and coughing. Doctors not helping and I cannot move due to the pain!

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I started to get chest pain on Thursday night whilst cooking dinner. It was an intense stabbing pain which worsened on moving and breathing in. It subsided for a little while but came back awfully whilst I was eating dinner. It got so bad that my partner called an ambulance as we were worried it was my heart. A paramedic arrived and checked me over, he couldn't hear anything in my lungs and my blood pressure, heart rate and ecg all showed nothing. He asked me to go to the hospital to have blood tests but wasn't overly concerned

the next day I went to my GP who sent me for a chest xray. the pain continued on the Friday but I woke up on Saturday and it was gone entirely. I went back to work Saturday, Sunday and Monday all without the pain.

Tuesday (yesterday) I woke up at 3am drenched in sweat and the chest pain had come back so violently. I could not breathe in or move without it feeling as though someone was pushing a knife through the centre of my chest. I managed to get myself to work and worked until 9am. I finally gave in and took myself to A&E where my heart was checked again and came back fine. I was told there was a 4 hour wait to see a doctor but I couldn't wait as I had a meeting at work so I stupidly left the hospital. the pain got so intense to the point where I couldn't lift anything up and driving was impossible so I went back to the go who assessed me again. My chest xray had come back clear and the doctor was worried that I had a clot on my lungs so advised I went straight back to A&E which I did. this time I had blood tests for clotting etc, another chest xray and an ecg. I was doubled over in pain and scared to move to make it worse. I was given morphine and codeine for the pain which did not improve it. I was told that all tests were clear and told I could go home. I said I didn't want to go home until I knew what was wrong but I got no answers and was told to wait to see if it subsides.

I've woken up today with intense pain, I woke up during the night due to the pain several times and could only sleep flat on my back with my arms across my chest. I have to breathe very shallow and can't move too much as the stabbing pain starts. I have had to take today off work as I'm incapable of any activity other than sitting with my chest on my knees. does anyone have any ideas what this could be? I'm baffled and I need to get better as I do not get paid sick pay from work.

My health is not great at the moment;

  • smoke between 20-30 cigarettes a day
  • I have ankylosing spondilitis which affects my lower spine, hips and i have fusion in my sacroiliac joints due to inflammation
  • I currently take etoricoxib (anti inflammatory), omeprazole (for acid reflux), meptazinol 200mg (pain relief) and an oral contraceptive
  • I have had a terrible chesty cough for months which has got worse recently and I cough up a light brown coloured phlegm everyday which goes a pale green colour later in the day
  • I am 25 years old and female
  • I have no history of heart problems in my family

I hope someone can help because I'm at the end of my tether with this pain and the doctors don't seem to be helping or wanting to help.

thank you 😦

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Have you had a chest CT with contrast? Or an endoscope? If not, I would push your doctor for these tests. Is the contraceptive pill you are on the combined pill?

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    • Posted


      I have not been given the chance for any further scans. I haven't had a ct scan on my chest, however i have an appointment for a endoscopy in 3 months time (NHS waiting times!) they want to do this to check if I have stomach ulcers from a previous issue. My pill is called Rigividion I'm not sure if this is the combined pill but I have been on it for 10 years with no break.

      thanks x

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    • Posted

      Could you come off your pill and maybe ask to change to the mini pill? 10 years without a break puts your risk up for pulmonary embolism and DVT, particularly as you are a smoker. The older you get the more the risk increases.

      You could have pneumonia or bronchitis, did you tell the doctor about the brown phlegm? It is also possible you could have pleurisy.

      Do you think you could quit smoking?

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  • Posted

    I have had symptoms like you describe off and on for years. i've been in the ER many times and have even been admitted to the hospital a couple of times for three days for testing. The results have always come back normal. However, I do have acid reflux, and I believe that is the cause of my pain the majority of the time. I take omeprazole 40 mg every morning and have been told to take Mylanta (liquid) for break through pain during the day. I also carry Tums in my purse. There are times when my entire abdomen hurts, so for that I take Gas-x and try to walk around for about 30 minutes. I have eliminated caffeine and alcohol from my diet, and recently I have eliminated citrus fruits. I have had colonoscopies and upper endoscopies and many heart tests. It is frustrating. Best of luck, and please post again if you have any updates.

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    • Posted

      hi Nancy,

      thanks for your reply!

      wow, you think it's definitely down to reflux? can reflux cause upper/central chest pain like this? it feels so different to my normal reflux pain which is a burning/full/uncomfortable sensation in my stomach and throat. this is a real sharp stabbing pain and feels nothing like my usual reflux or acidic pain.

      I do have an endoscopy booked for a few months time to check on stomach ulcers as I was very bad a month or so ago vomiting blood and acid but never experienced this pain until now. I also don't feel like my reflux is bad currently but I suppose if it can present itself in pain like you describe then it is a possibility?

      I have had my omeprazole lowered to 20mg in the last year so perhaps I ought to put it back up to 40 again!

      thank you for your insight, will post updates as I hear

      cheers x

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  • Posted

    hi there how are you feeling now? i have developed chest pain with a cough and now concerned... did you ever get your ct scan?

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    • Posted

      hi Christina,

      I didn't have a ct scan in the end, my pain had subsided and only lasted for another few days. my GP put it down to pleurisy (fluid on the chest) that subsided with antibiotics however he also thought it could be acid reflux causing the pain which I have had my medication increased for. I would suggest you go to GP to get it looked at! are you a smoker?

      good luck! X

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