Recurring, stabbing chest pain in various locations.

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To start off, I'm a 28-year-old healthy weight female. A week ago, I woke up and before I even got out of bed, I had a stabbing pain in the center of my chest. It went away shortly after, but gave me awful anxiety. It was on and off for a couple of days until Wednesday when I felt chest pressure that led to a full blown anxiety attack. I was at work and my director assured me I would be okay and it wasn't a heart attack, and sent me home a half hour early to rest. The sharp pain has been less frequent, though still occurs, sometimes in the center, sometimes the lower right side, sometimes closer to the left. I've also felt it in my back near my left shoulder blade. Starting yesterday, I occasionally feel like I can't take in a full breath, like it just stops me from breathing deeply, and goes away if I move. I have had a cough for a while as well. I work with children so this time of year I am always sick.

I went to urgent care a few months ago for a different episode of chest pain but since I have no health insurance until January, he suggested to not get an EKG done because he didn't believe I needed one and it was all due to anxiety.

Could my current symptoms be anxiety too? Or maybe an illness that is causing pain/discomfort in my lungs which is then causing me anxiety? I'm not sure if I should pay out of pocket for a visit (which could get costly if they want tests), or if I should just wait until my insurance kicks in.

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    My personal opinion is even if it is a bit costly, it may be worth the piece of mind that there isn't an issue, or at least there isn't an obvious cardiac-related issue.  It's funny because I started getting a stabbing pain a bit to the right of center in my mid-upper chest and I also have had a lot of back issues over the last year or so, many times along my left shoulder blade in my back.  One thing I try to do whenever I get chest discomfort is feel for surface sensitivity, because that tends to mean that it's not cardiac-related.  After this new chest pain started happening 3 weeks ago, I remembered to do this and found that the left edge of my rib cage on my right side was fairly sensitive to pressure.  This was somewhat reassuring to me, and since then the pain has lessened to the point of almost being non-existent.  I will tell you that anxiety can definitely intensify the pain, but I'm not sure about it CAUSING the pain, unless it actually precedes said pain.  Chances are it has nothing to do with your heart, but especially if it continues without getting better (or even gets worse) over a couple of weeks, I would see someone about it whether it is cardiac or not.  There are other issues besides your heart that can cause pain and you want to rule them out or get them addressed if they require treatment before they get too accute...

    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply! I'm going to call the doctor I plan to make my primary physician tomorrow and see if it won't be too much to make an appointment to talk to him before January. Otherwise, I could try a walk-in again. I am worried about money but I also don't know if I can handle not knowing the cause much longer.

    • Posted

      Well, I was dismissed for months and although not as young you, I was fit, active, meditated and ate healthy... said I could never have heart disease and it turned out I had non-obstructive heart disease. I had Microvascular dysfunction and Coronary Spasms which are hard to catch in typical testing! I had to go through a ton of testing to check off every box. 

      A provocative cMRI on a 3T MRI that is done by experienced techs and those who read it is an invasive way to show possible flow problems within heart's Microvasculature. Or a cath which is provocative but both should be done by those who do this a lot!! 

      Some docs treat simply after eliminating all obstructive or other sbnormalitiesnot being found. That would be nitro stat and a CCB (calcium channel blocker). And if nitro works? It can certainly point to flow issues and better management.  

      Another sign is if it occurs a lot during typical activities or especially after at rest or when you go to bed. 

      Check out this public page- Coronary Microvascular Disease-Non-Obstructive Cad on Facebook; maybe you'll find info to help you see if it hits how you feel... it's more common than most docs think!! And is only just gaining momentum in recognition.

      Good luck. Anxiety sure can provoke this and make it worse. Calming techniques are valuable in every health situation.

  • Posted

    Well, I ended up at the doctor and he basically told me everything seemed fine. He didn't do tests and said based on what I was telling him, it could be the cough I've had along with anxiety. He gave me Prednisone and prescribed me ibuprofen and sent me on my way. I haven't had as much pain (maybe the Prednisone is working?) and wasn't sore after work yesterday. Today I woke up with an ache in the left side of my chest but I guess it's nothing really. When I talked to my mom she told me she has also had similar pains and all tests came back clear. Guess it's just something I have to learn how to deal with.

    Thank you for your replies!

  • Posted

    I too have had pains in my chest. We were on vacation two weeks ago and we were having dinner when I got this weird pain in the middle of my chest no place else. Scared the hell out of me. Went up to my room and laid on the bed and after about an hour started to feel better but at this point my anxiety also kicked in. I have been having on and off pain since then and they are random and go away but because the anxiety kicks in it takes longer because I cannot stop thinking about it. I am 67.  and planning on moving to a new home and afraid I won’t make it. I know I should go to the ER but I am terrified. This anxiety is almost two years now. I used to let nothing bother me now every little twinge puts me over the edge. I want to go back to who I was. I don’t want to take medication because of side effects

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