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Chest/Back Pain
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Chest/Back Pain

I've had pain in my chest and back (thorasic spine area) that feels like a band of pain that is constant. Been diagnosed for lack of anything specifici - Chronic Pain. I'm on heavy doses of narcotics to control the pain just to get through the days and nights. My mother and daughter have both heard of some heart related issues specific to women that they feel this could be. Nothing has shown up on any tests - heart, gastro, etc. I'm at wits end and want to resolve the issues and not take narcotics but pain is too bad. Any ideas? The pain has taken over my entire life - more bad days than good. Without meds, I could not survive - too severe - pain is around my chest mostly in the middle of my body around ribs - straight through to my back. It oftens feels like someone is squeezing me. Initially I did think I was having a heart attack but nothing showed on the heart tests. Nothing has shown on MRI, CT Scan, Xray, etc. I have been to specialists to no avail. I need help! Could it be some kind of valve disease or other heart related condition that would not show on regular tests? Any suggestions or avenues to explore? Any new information would be helpful and appreciated.
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74076_tn?1189759432
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15 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
didn't want to hijack anyones thread, but noticed this poster must of hit the "post button" twice hope nobody minds. 46yr female-avg weight-pack a day smoker-my problems started last dec when my usually normal bp shot way up & stayed that way-had a constant corsett too tight feeling for weeks before i finally went to dr(can you say denial-:)) anyway was put on avapro, then avalide & sent for nuke stress test & echo. stress test was fine-echo showed trace mitral and mild aorta regurg-heart sizes were borderline but within limits-also said grade 1 diastolic dysfunction-bp bottomed out and dr took my off meds for 4 months-symptoms continued to the point i can't even exercise without getting pains or short of breath, I'm exhausted all the time & have even had spells just watching tv-referred to cardio yesterday(finally)-bp was back up so back on meds-he said that approx 40% of the time stress test will miss blockages in women & that heart cath is the next step(scheduled for 6/14)-does this sound right? just looking for some advise from anyone that's "been there done that" thanks for any feed back.
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Avatar_f_tn
Sorry for hitting the button twice.  I have a very SLOW computer and sometimes it doesn't actually do anything when you press so I thought I had not hit it.  Anyway, SORRY to all for that.  I just had another visit with my doctor regarding my problem.  He feels that because it has been so long it probably is not my heart and thinks it is probably an arthritis type inflammatory condition caused from an infection that I had right before this problem started and caused my immune system to go out of whack.  I'm on Celebrex for the inflamation (inflammation) and Nexium to hopefully not get an ulcer (this happened the last time I took Celebrex).  I'm hopeful this is it.  Thanks for all of the information.  I wish everyone a speedy resolution to any problems.
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Avatar_n_tn
Look up costochondritis and see if it doesn't line up with what you are experiencing.  If it does, see a rheum.  I had to eventually get shots for mine, 3 in the chest and 3 in the ribs.  I didn't even know I had it in my chest until the dr. pushed on it...OUCH!  The shots were a lifesaver for me.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

  Just wanted to comment that your symptoms sounded similiar to mine with no answers in sight. I finally quite by accident,was diagnosed with something callled barrets esophogus my MD put me on protonix (no side effects) and I havent had the pain since. I also have two seperate problems with my heart so I always assumed that was the cause. Hope things work out.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the suggestion.  I'm on nexium right now and it does not seem to help.  I did have the full workup for about everything and nothing is showing up.  Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been looking at and reading everything to figure out what the heck is wrong with me. I am a 35 year old male who has been in great health all of my life and then about three months ago I started having strange pains. It started as pain in my left abdomen area mainly under my ribcage. It was constant like a trapped gas feeling with some sharp knif elike pains every now and then. Since, I have had three flare ups where I went to the hospital because the pain went from under the left side of my rib cage to feeling like my enire linings of my rib cage both left and right were on fire. The best way to describe it is that there was a fire inside of me burning my linings of my rib cage. These attackes lasted 6-8 hours and nothing helped. I basically layed down, rocked back and forth and moaned for hours until the pain subsided. When I went to the hospital they put an IV in me and gave me meds and they couldnt figure anything out. He said I needed to see a GI doctor, that maybe it was IBS but none of my symptoms seem to be related to IBS "irritable bowel syndrome" Since I have gotten frequent left side chest pain as well. I had been going to the gym for some time working out and I was on the Eliptical machine on day about 3 months ago and got a sudden sharp pain in my left side of my chest. It scared me and I never went back. No I constantly have pain in the left chest area that gives me a lot of discomfort though it feels like it is a rib or muscle thing it stil makes me nervous.The pain feels mostly like it is where the rib cage attches to the spine in the back right behind my heart but it causes pain all through my left chest rib area. Nothing I can do seems to make it feel better. I stretch around and move my left arm about trying to relieve it but it feels internal. Along with that I have been getting heart palputations and shortness of breath. Maybe this is due to anxiety and worrying or is all of this related in some way. Basically I have became very miserable lately and scared to eat or exercise that I may bring on an attack in my chest lining or give myself a heart attack. I have had abdomen and chest x rays and an EKG and a blood and stool test and nothing came back irregular. Next is an ultrasound on my stomach and a cardio stress test. These seem like two totally different problems one being the chest and one being a gastro disorder or ulcer possibly but since they both came on at the same time it makes me wonder. I'm beginning to think my dr. is boubting whether I am a hypocondriac or something. I have a 22 year old wife and a 10 week old baby boy and would like to be around long enough to see him grow up. I just feel like there is something majorly worng with me and I think about it non stop....I am so uncomfortable. Anybody have anything similiar to this??? Thanks,
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Avatar_n_tn
SAME HERE W/ME I WAS DIAGNOSED DCM 2/24/06 BASICALLY STRESS RELATED APPROX 5 MOS LATER HEART HEALED & EF UP TO 63%(GOD DID THIS)OTHERWISE I AM IN GOOD HEALTH.   AFTER ABOUT 2 MOS INTO DCM I STARTED W/SPASMS IN THE ESOPHAGUS WHILE EATING, EXCESSIVE BELCHING SPASMS, SOMETIME PRODUCING AIR MOSTLY NOT, THE FEELINGS GOT WORSE SOMETIME IT WAS NOT SO BAD, BUT NEVER HAD THESE PROBLEMS BEFORE THE CARDIOMYOPATHY, SAW GASTRO DR PERFORMED ENDOSCOPY WAS ADVISED TO STOP TAKING ASPIRIN CAUSING STOMACH BLEEDS, IT MINIMIZE BUT OCCASIONALLY I GET THOSE BAD FEELINGS WHERE I CAN'T BREATHE BUT STILL TALKING, FEELING LIKE PVC & THEN THEY GO AWAY I HAVN'T GONE THRU SEVERAL DR'S AS YET BECAUSE THANKS TO READING A LOT ON THE INTERNET SITES AND GROUPS I'VE FOUND THAT I AM NOT ALONE IN MY SYMPTOMS AND WHEN I DID COMPLAIN TO MY DR'S CARDIO, EP, ER DR., PRIMARY ALL WERE SAYING PANIC ATTACK/ANXIETY. IM SEEING PSYCH NEXT WEEK SO I WILL ASK HER ABOUT STARTING A MED FOR THIS & SEE WHERE IT GOES.  I TELL YA THANK GOD FOR THESE GROUPS THEY REALLY HELP US TO KNOW THAT WE ARE ALL NOT CRAZY OR TOO...SICK
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been having some similar symptoms as yours.  It has been about a month since you posted your comment and was wondering how you're feeling.  Any progress on a diagnosis? I have been having pains for the past four months now.  The pains are in several areas ranging from my abdomen, stomach, ribs, chest and back.  I thought there was a chance I had ulcers, but I had that H. Pylori breath test and it came back negative.  I was tested for Thyroid disease, had an abdominal ultrasound and just recently went for an upper GI.  I have not yet gotten the results.  The pains are mostly in my left side just under or around my ribcage and breastbone.  My chest hurts all along the front to my back.  I have the pains just about everyday.  I am a 32 year old female, married with a 10 month old son.  I have been so stressed over this and can't stop worrying.  I'm hoping to find some answers soon but obviously have more tests to go for.  I hope you've found some answers for your symptoms and any information you have might be helpful for me.  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have a sore spot on my left rib and the pain often winds around to the side and then the back and then down my side.

A few years ago that sore spot was about an inch down and left of the nipple and I associated it with air in my fundus...if I burped the pain went away. Now the pain is a bit further down and a bit more to the left and never goes away. Eating makes it a bit worse. Sleeping makes it go away until I wake up.

I know that I am very sensitive to colon and gastric polyps and hope that this is what is going on and eventually I will be able to talk my gastro guy to put the tube in again and take another look...it has not been a long time since that was done.

Whenever the polyps (that I grow pretty regularly i.e. one or two a year) are removed, the pain goes away.

I guess that what I am saying is that this pain could easily be referred pain from the stomach or esophagus. Most referred pain is horizonal I think so you can draw a line across your body and draw some hypotheses as to where the pain is coming from.

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Avatar_m_tn
My Name is Luis. I am a 34 year old male, 5'9" tall / 199Lbs.
About a year ago I experienced a sharp knife like pain on the left side of my chest.
The area is about 2 inches down from the center of my nipple and about 2 inches over to the side towards my left arm. Not exacly towards the side of my body directly under my arm, but at the same time not exacly on the front. More like caddy corner. Well, this pain I've had off and on between days, but lately it's more frequent and scary. I say that because some days I wake up with my whole left side sore from the front of my left chest to the back inside my shoulder blade on my back, like really sore and as if someone has beaten me with a bat or something. This pain lasted for about 4 months I was waking up like that every day. During the day I would have the sharp knife like pains hit me like contractions, (every minute) for about 15 to 20 minute episodes at a time. Really sharp stabbing pains, to me it was a heart attack, even tho I have been told that heart attack pains stay for longer lenths. I was thinking that mine were mild! Any way, I have had more EKG's done than a few. I had blood tests and nothing. Now I have an appointment for an MRI and an MRA. To me I have clogged arteries, but then again, I'm not a doctor!
So here I was at the gym today trying to do some cardio and maybe help with my condition, and got the sharp stabbing pain so hard! 3times! that I had to stop the machine and go home. It was scary. I have never had the pain that hard. It was so hard that I felt as if I was going to fall. I know in the previous comments the description of this pain has been under the rib cage. My pain is more like, not towards my stomach, but a little higher, more like on the side of my heart.
My Doctor just put me on PREVACID 30mg to see if this is some type of heartburn of gas or something related. After 2 days of taking it, I broke out with a rash all over my neck and felt really spaced out on it, so I stopped taking it.
Also, I was at work the other day, (I sit in front of a computer and do programming) and my whole chest tightened up as if my whole chest was collapsing, and it got so tight I could barely breathe. This symptom lasted for about a whole 5 minutes.
That was super scary!  Now, the past couple of weeks my left arm feels like is lacking sirculation or something. It feels sometimes weak, sometimes sore, from my under arm down to my pinky.
At this point I don't have any other options but to wait til the MRI & MRA and if anyone has any info on this and can help, please advise.
Thank you. -Luis_
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Avatar_n_tn
Luis, have you heard anything from your doctor about your pains?  I'm interested because I've been having the same left side pains.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had similar symptoms which lasted for over a year, while I had every test under the sun to try to get to the source of it.  I saw a cardiologist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist, neurologitst, rheumatologist...until I tried a new gastroenterologist who suggested it could be 'esophageal spasms'.  He gave me librax and it immediately resolved my problems.  I was already taking nexium (and still do) but that did not help until I added the librax.  I thought I was dying...good luck to you all. Be patient...you are not going crazy!
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Avatar_n_tn
Just one more thing...before I tried the librax, the dr. put me on belladonna...it really worked well.  It made me so tired I could not function, however, so we tried librax.  At higher doses (which I started out with)the librax also made me tired.  But I gradually lowered the dosage and now need only one capsule per day. Maybe those of you who haven't tried either of these medications might want to talk to your dr. about them?
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Avatar_n_tn
My rib/back pain began about a year and a half ago. I was slouched over doing some busy work with my hands. A lightening bolt shot through my left chest circling up to the left part of my upper back. I thought I was having a heart attack and asked a coworker to stand with me for a while. The shooting pain subsided and has not been that bad since, but I experience flareups that echo with this original pain ever since. Sometimes when I workout, it gets better. Sometimes when I work out it gets worse. Burping does seem to help. I am seeing a physical therapist, having already been through an MRI and EEG. According to the Doctor who refered me to the physical therapist, I 'torqued a rib out of place.' I am prescribed a few stretches that are meant to bring things back into line. I haven't done the stretches because when I do them, they seem unintuitive and don't provide releif. I have always been tight in the chest and the lower part of my ribs stick out a bit. the physical therapist pointed out that my left rib stuck out a bit more than the right and this indicated that I had a rib 'torqued' out of line, which would explain the back pain--where the rib originates. I should point out that applying pressure to the area of pain (two inches down and two inches toward my sternum from my left nipple) releives the pain. If I am gassy the pain is worse. What worries me is that I also get shooting nerve pain down my arms and some tingling sensations---though the EEG came back all clear for pinched nerve. I am a 25 year old athletic male. One aspect of my workout has suffered most: the number of pullups I can do has dramatically dropped and when I attempt, I feel like I am wearing something down, not building it up. I find myself leaning to the left and moving my left arm around to try and compensate and avoid the pain. My plan is to do some carefull yoga, incorporating the physical therapists stretches, and try to bring my energy level up to where a good posture doesn't feel draining. My heart also does funny things and my left underarm area seems agitated from rubbing on my left ribs too much. I have also seen the doctors that look at my esophogas and all came back good. This pain is really bad, but I could remove the psychological component if I knew it were in fact something like tight ribs, bad posture, or gassiness. I just don't want to drop dead because I was afraid to pursue an answer if it meant feeling like a hypocondriach. By the way, this is the first time I have blogged. I feel a great sense of releif in hearing how similar my pain is to other peoples. I manage a behavioral neuroscience laboratory and consider myself a scientist. Hearing that these symptoms are prevalent accross men and women and that everyone else is running into the same 'negatives' on checks has encouraged me to do more about this. I'm adding to my plan to see a gastro..whatever again. that comment about releif from librax is encouraging. You know, doctors should really have some sort of better way of getting to these mind-jarring problems. I would glady spend 10 minutes of each waking hour for a month logging my activity and pain levels so the doc could draw correlations, but I don't know what types of things to diary (ie, what I'm eating, how I am sitting, my mood, all of the above?). Anyway, thanks for the help.
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Avatar_f_tn
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