Long term, unexplained chest pain

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Hi all

After struggling with docs for years over this I thought I would turn to the wider world some input. I am a 27 year old, healthy (enough) male who has been getting intermitment, iregular and infrequent chest pains on and off for around 10 years. 

During an 'attack' the pain can be quite severe and sharp - I guess a bit like being stabbed. The pain is localised to the left side of my sternum and feels fairly deep (i.e. it cannot be palpated). 

Attacks can last anywhere from a few seconds to a day or so, and tend to come in 'clusters' that can be present for up to a week. There can be months between each cluster of attacks (if you get my drift!).

Pain can sometimes be exacerbated when leaning forward, coughing, lying on my side or raising an arm (seems to always vary - and can sometimes not have any stimulators).

During a 'cluster' period and between attacks I can often feel a mild, underlying ache in my chest. This is easy enough to ignore however.

I have had ECGs and chest xrays that have all been fine, and am not affected at all during exercise - I can happily go out and run 10k with ease.

Doctors have in the past rulled out gastro refulx as there was no tenderness on palpation of my stomach area, although I have sometimes thought that attack can follow a big meal and be accompnied by burping (although this may be my mind tricking me). 

Muscolskeletal problems have been mentioned, but why would attacks come in clusters and seemingly out of the blue?

I am at a compltete loss and doctors have been no help. My wife is scared that I will just drop dead from a heart attack - and I am struggling to find new ways of reassuring her.

Any help/thoughts/insight/advice would be seriously welcome!

Thanks

 

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  • Posted

    Hi ji86,

    It sounds very like cosotchondritis you have to me. Cosot is infalmmation of the cartilage between the ribcage.  There are quite a few discussions on this about it, which myself and quite a few others have commented on and chatted about. Look it up, I think you will find lots of information on this. I am surprised your doc has not suggested this to you.  I like you had all the tests, Chest Xrays, ECG's & Blood tests which all came back normal, my doctor immediately diagnosed me with costo, just over 2 years ago.  Although its a very common condition not alot of people know about it when I mention it, so when I found the discussions on here they really reassured me.  I was conviced there was something much more serious wrong.  Like you said the pain feels like its deep inside, like an organ.  Costo effects everybody differently but the chest pain is the most common symptom.  I do get alot of chest pain but suffer mostly with upper back pain that can travel from side to side in shoulder blades, sometimes a stabbing pain, sometimes a constant pain.  It can travel down to my lower back and my upper arms.  It travels all the time. It does flare up every couple of months for a week to 3 weeks.  When this happens sometimes I am down for days.  But like you said its never completely gone. I always have a dull pain, but it doesn't stop me getting about and doing things, I find when I sit down it bothers me more.

    Naproxin (anti inflammatory) are quite good and glucosine chondriotin also help repair the sartilage.  Heat,  maybe a hot water bottle helps.  Just pressing on the pained area help.  It sucks and you will discover you are not alone on here.

    Oh by the way I am a 38 year old female living in Ireland.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Sinead

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    • Posted

      Hi sinead

      Just read this I too have these symptoms and am so so scared as mine are in my left breast does your breastbone feel tender/bruised x

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    • Posted

      Hi im 20 and been doing power lifting for 2 years and body building for 3 years before that and for 2 months i have been short of breath every miniute of the day only when i lay down for bed or at the gym it go's away i dont know why but i did have very bad physical anxity but it feels like a rubber band round my chest and back and i just cant get a breath i mean im not gasping its like im only a little bit away from getting a full breath (if that makes sense) and when i burp i get 1 full breath could you have any advice please?
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    • Posted

      Hello can anybody re-assure me ice been getting chest pain for 15 weeks now i helped a old man who had broke down on a mobility scooter i picjed the scooter up and put it in my van and drove him home the next day i could not get out of bed for 3 days i felt like i had a heart attack or something. I feel healthy and im 27 years old after a few weeks the pain faded but never went completely i keep getting sharp deep pain in my left breast and i get pain in mt left shoulder blade/back also i get some burning sensation in my left arm and armpit but this goes and comes bk now and then. Ive been to hospital and had 2 ecg done which was perfect and a full blood count which was perfect also but im still very worried im going to die with some sort of heart attack or angina or aomething i do suffer with anxiety which dont help but im getting that under control i have such a fear of cancer ive had 1x consultant tell me im fine and 2 different doctors all saying its costrocondritus. Does this sound like i have this as i need assured to stop this worring . Just to add then i lean on my side for a while then sit up straight it gets a dull heavy pain in the whole of my chest for 10 min or so . I have a few dogs i take them for long walks and im fine occasionally i get some pain in my chest but i dont feel this is caused by exercise
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    • Posted

      Man those words in your reply

      "Just pressing on the pained area help. It sucks and you will discover you are not alone on here"

      Is actually the thing happening with me i was so ver confused it suddenly started yesterday morning and left me with nothing i searched a lot i used to press that stabbing pain area and the pain used to wipe out while writing this I am actually doing this. I actually dont know why it started yeah i usually exercise some times or streches a lot sometimes is that the reason.

      Thanks by the way

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    • Posted

      Thnx a lot man u just saved me from anxiety that part of your comment pressing the stabbing pain area and it pains or troubles more while sitting happens with me, exactly happens with me.

      What do you suggest I just noticed it today since morning and I am unable to sleep uptill now and its 3 am now this pain comes in cycles do you suggest visiting a doc

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    • Posted

      I'm with you Sinead..Im a 65 y/0 retired research nurse who had to retire early due to fibromylagia symptoms.. on a routine basis according to the weather forecasts...I was haunted constantly by costochondritis..damp rainy days or stress set mine off..then my arms feel heavy..i have what you call trigger points..that if i pres on them with a certain amount of pressure, it relieves some of the pain..thats when you know you have a build up of lactic acid..and its time to get healthy..stay moving!

      Moist heat with occ. cold packs help mine a great deal..but my worst issue when it hits me, is the cough that comes as I try to inhale ..i have a certaiun amount of "air hunger" when this is going on.. .I feel oxygen depreived due to my tight muscles in my chest and inflamed areas between my rib cage in the  cartilages..

      I need cough syrup, inhalers, NSAIDs, and an additional stronger pain med to find any amunt of comfort....my arms feel heavy, shoulder joints ache(spurs are all round them )...but the final helper..vaping!  

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    • Posted

      Hi sinead 34836

      I have exactly 85% same symptoms which you described

      I been suffering for 5 years

      before it was on stay at leftside top of the chest bone then with passage of time travel to arms and heart my palm near thumb

      in these places pain stay for 2 years comes n goes i done everything all results are fine

      then after 2 years now pain is only cover other area left side of the body specialy stay at under arm

      rib cage and lower back

      Doctor explain me its costohondritis when i take naproxen 2 days

      it give me relief for 1 to 4 week then pain come back

      i am thinking to start regular gym

      i am also trying all anti inflamatory foods , fruits etc which are also helpfull

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    • Posted

      Hello,

      Short term non cardiac chest pain is usually put down to pleurisy or musculoskeletal issues. However the longer it last the more we associate it as a cause for concern. Left side chest pain that is described as pressure or tightness with any form of breathing difficulty should be checked by a health care professional immediately. If your pain has lasted longer than 6 weeks described as a dull ache which is unaffected or made better with exercise then I can happily rule out angina or heart attack. The most likely cause is a torn/pulled muscle (depending on lifestyle pulled chest muscles can take a very long time to heal) another cause could be a broken rib that has healed improperly. Symptoms from old rib injuries can take years to become serious enough to notice

      As mentioned cosotchondritis is also a likely cause of left side chest pain. Inflation in the cartilage around the ribs can effect breathing in severe cases. The most common symptoms are, a dull to stabbing ache in the effected area, made worse by bending or reaching, breathing deeply can sometimes sooth or worsen pain.

      Because severe cases can cause breathing to be painful I would recommend you see a gp as soon as symptoms are noticed. The body is very good at telling you where a problem is unless it's the heart. Heart related pain will often radiate to the back, jaw, arm and lower abdominal areas.

      I have frequent chest pain and it often radiates to my armpit. So I self-diagnosed cosotchondritis. I did have it confirmed by another doctor because self diagnosis is bad for anyone.

      But yeah, if you have any chest pain visit your gp because even the smallest chest pain should not be over looked

      Mark

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    • Posted

      This sounds so familiar to me! I will see my doctor in three weeks and tell him what I have learned. Hopefully I can now get help. I thought of lungs, breast cancer, heart or my hiatal hernia was worse! All previous tests and xrays were negative. I feel relief although my pain is the same! I am awake most of the night with it.
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    • Posted

      Maybe that is what I have, I go through everything you have talked about especially the chest pain and upper back and switching shoulder pains. I will have to do some research, thank you!
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    • Posted

      Hi Sinead,

         I too am having the same issues as the others on this discussion. Mysterious chest pains mostly stemming from a constant dull irratation on my lower left side of my rib cage. Its been going on for almost 6 months now and still no answers, doctors can't seem to figure it out. Im stressed, miserable, and my daily life has taken a massive hit. Please anyone help me to figure this out. I am a fit healthy 27 year old guy.

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    • Posted

      Hey DoctorMark,

      I have been looking online and some of the symptoms that I have, with the exception of unbearable, deep pain that comes as an attack, seem very similar to the overall description of what I'm going through. I definitely don't want to put my symptoms as more important than the others are having but I know that I feel it coming, and it is usually after moving around a lot and I guess I can say", Some type of physical motion, like bending over, reaching with my LEFT arm and breathing hard from exertion. This started just one morning and now I feel it coming, and I know that I have to get to the couch, and put something under me because of the amount of sweat it causes. I have been to the ER by ambulance, thought I was having a HA, everything was done except for a cath. The cardiologist came in and told me that everything was fine as far as the test results and I was discharged in 24 hrs.

      My only kinda what I call ,"diagnosis," came from the decision to go somewhere else, and I stopped at the Urgent Care and of course they wanted me to go to the hospital, but I talked them in to seeing me. The Dr there mentioned Anxiety Attack of course, and I'm sure that everyone is simply tired of hearing that, but I tried to make a video with my camera and was only able to get the way I looked and I described what just happened, and it was a great help in helping me describe the pain and the type of attack that I had. So, the Dr said that he did not want to let me go without something, so he says that it could be pleurisy and prescribed Prednisone for 7 days ,20mg at 2 tabs daily.

      I have no insurance, and my life has been directly impacted just like all of the other people on this site. I really need some help with finding the cause of the life changing pain and the attacks because pain medication will not stop this. I could go on but it is left upper quadrant, and starts with a bad, dull, ache going up my left arm to the ribcage, and I can palpate several spots that seem to be tender and sometimes even help ease the bad pain during an event. I feel for everyone that has the pain, and it is scary to think that I'll have to live with it because it is undiagnosed, and my tests came back as normal. My question is, besides pleurisy or costochondritis......excuse my spelling please, what's another condition that can cause serious pain with exertion and bending. ? Any help would be great and I have the greatest sympathy for the others here.

      Thank you. I am a nurse, but not able to work because of this condition .

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    • Posted

      Me too. I have this very tender sternum, and pain all around my chest. Nobody can tell me what is going on. I'm at my wits end

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    • Posted

      Hello everyone, i am a 32 years old male from Hong Kong. I also has similar symthoms as all of you, chest pain with real pain from inside, pain at left chest, sometimes to left arm and the back, it also feels like pain from the heart, but when i did all the test, i.e. Heart scanning, x ray, ultra sonic, blood test, ECG, all result is normal, i have visited 3 cardiac doctors, all of them comment my pain is from stress, i am now
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    • Posted

      Prednisone? What a nasty drug that is! It in itself can cause numerous health problems. I have been on it once and swore that I will never go on it again, unless it is life saving and the last ditch effort at becoming healthy again. If you are an active person, and depending on your age, things can just crop up. I remember a few years ago I developed this really bad pain on the right side of my chect. I couldn't do anything without the these large pains in my chest. It got to the point that whenever I swallowed the pain just got worse. I went to my doctor and described the problem to him. He asked me if I had done anything to bring this on (after taking blood pressure, etc.). I told him not recently but that I had pitched a ball game about two weeks earlier, and that I have done this numerous times in my life and never ever had this problem. He looked at me and said "but you have never been 40 years of age before". So, my point is that sometimes these pains we get are not something exotic or life threatening. Just our bodies not able to deal with the activities it once could. This aging process really does suck, and it doesn't get any better.

      I agree with what a lot of doctors do say though. Stress is bad. If we can only take the time to allow our bodies to relax, our minds to let go of stress, I believe we would be a lot healthier and less heart attacks, anxiety attacks, etc.. Give it a try. Go do some yoga, meditation, lay on a beach far from the stressors in your live. Nursing is a stressful job. Shiftwork is not good for our bodies. We don't eat as good, we don't sleep as good, our body's schedule is out of whack. I hope now that you are not able to work because of it that maybe you are starting to feel better? I am a shift worker also. I ahve worked shift work for almost 30 years. The last year I have been job sharing and working two months at a time (normal shifts in the two months), then I am off for two months. The best thing I have done. I sleep soooo much better. No work stresses, eating better, able to be more active now because I don't feel like a blob and burned out all the time.

      I am NOT a doctor. I am 59 years of age and since I began job sharing I have lost 27 pounds, mostly from better eating, much better sleeping, and increased activity levels.

      I have just had a mole removed that was black and brown. My doctor didn't like the look of it so wanted it gone right away, and sent for testing. Nothing I can do about that. I am not going to stress about it until I find out whether it is benign or malignant, and even then what can I do aside from whatever needs to be done? I am not a fan of cancer and I sure as heck hope is comes back clean. many people have it much worse off than myself. I am counting my blessings and hoping for the best.

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    • Posted

      How are you feeling? I felt better for a bit and this past week my chest has been hurting again but it feels like bones in chest area hurt. I can’t stand this anymore. If it is anxiety I wish I could control it better. Hope you are doing ok

       

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    • Posted

      I'm not really any better. Like you, I feel like my bones ache. Near my sternum especially, and I still have chest pain. They are sending me to the neurologist in a couple of weeks to see if they have an opinion. I think because my upper back will also hurt.

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    • Posted

      Hi doctor mark, i get why you self diagonsed and also got a doctor to confirm. But wat happens when ecg thyroud tests all cleared and the doctors insist it is long term stress and anxiety? All the above i started feeling 3 years ago and if one more test comes back clear or another doctor says im stressed i might hit them... i would rather know wat is wrong and not feel like im crazy
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    • Posted

      I feel like we have the exact same thing. The bone Under my left breast is sore to the touch like it is bruised. It is the random sharp pains that scare me but they only last a second or so and this has been going on for maybe a year. I hope it us anxiety driven and not heart issues. I had and ekg about 1 1/2 years ago but I have blood work done every 3 months. Don’t know if anything would show if I had a heart issue but everything comes back good. I am 67 so of course it scares me even more. I just want to feel better and hope you are doing better
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    • Posted

      Their newest theory is that my esophagus is damaged, that I have had heartburn or gerd or something similar and never noticed it. They said it can manifest in many ways. They put me on a PPI, pantoprazole, and I think it might be working (not really sure, but it seems to be helping a little so far). I have never had gerd or heartburn in my life, so I don't know, but you might want to give it a try.

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    • Posted

      I've only been on it a few days, but I'm having less pains and it seems to be helping. They said to stay on it because it might take a little while to take full effect. I'm hopeful, and willing to try anything at this point, but yeah, it seems to be helping, but we'll see after a couple of weeks or so.

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    • Posted

      Hey Sinead,

      Are you still suffering from this pain?

      if not how long did you have it for? 

      If you still have it, what are some of the things that you do to relieve it? 

      Does Physical therapy help? 

      Chiropractor? 

      I've tried, non inflammatory drug diclofenac, muscle relaxer, chiropractor and even the backpod with no luck. 

      Thank you. 

      Jay

       

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    • Posted

      hi i am 17 years old my name is dade lewis and i to am experiencing these exact symptoms as well bro! i hope u get better. Truly, please let me know if u fond the root cause, and if u find a cure/soultion to this pain/problem god bless dude!

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    • Posted

      hi i am 17 years old my name is dade lewis and i to suffer from these pains, i hope u get better and have bliss again ! please let me know how i can eliminate my pains, let me know if u have found a cure or soultion, what fruits and veggies /remedies/ recipes help! anything will help god bless

      Report Reply

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