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Chest Pain
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Chest Pain

I have suffered with bouts of sharp chest pain for over three years.  I am told this is due to pinched nerves in my back and the pain is referring to my chest.  I have seen a chiropractor about 20 times this year and it was helping a little but I had to stop because I exhausted my insurance benefits.

I have also been diagnosed with dysautonomia and my understanding is that sufferers often have phantom chest pain for no reason.

The pain comes and goes and moves around.  It generally only lasts a few seconds each time but it is very sharp and is sometimes accompanied by a deep pressure feeling.

What worries me is that my dysautonomia causes other symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, dizziness and tachycardia.  When all of these symptoms come together, I get scared that it's a heart attack.

I am a 32 year old female, normal BP, good cholesterol (was checked recently and was 165 with LDL at 76), I am quite thin, no diabetes, only family history is a grandfather with CAD.  He had a MI at age 60.

Tests I have had this year that were negative:  Nuclear stress test, Holter(only showed a few PVC's), echo and multiple EKG's.  I have been to the ER nearly a half dozen times this year with these symptoms.

So is there any way for me to know for sure when I get these chest pains that it's my back causing them and not my heart?  

Out of curiousity, do you see alot of people in your clinic who actually have dysautonomia but think they have a heart problem?  I saw an EP who is affiliated with a top heart hospital and he provided me with a brochure he had written on neurocardiogenic syncope(which I later found out is the same thing as dysautonomia).  I figured he must have seen alot of patients with this disorder if he had written a brochure about it.
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It is very unlikely that this pain ( being non-exertional, sharp and  positional) especially given that fact that you are only 32 years of age and have had negative stress tests and multiple EKGs represents coronary atherosclerosis. Typical chest is usually pressure, may radiate to the jaw or arms, is associated with difficulty breathing, and comes on usually gradually. It is far more likely that this is related to a spinal thoraccic nerve being impinged on on its way out of the spinal cord. Have you had a CT or MRI of the back? Because you may have a abnormality with you cervical or thoraccic spine, including a fracture, infection, spinal stenosis, or an abnormality with the spinal nerves themselves. A good GP should be able to get you started with some x ras and maybe other imaging.
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry....I wanted to add something else.  I came home from work this evening and had something very scary happen.  I bent over to pick something off the floor and had a very sharp pain radiate from my back into my throat.  After that, I felt very weak and dizzy.  

Is it even possible for back problems to cause these weird symptoms or could I be dealing with some bizzare heart problem?  In addition to the above mentioned tests, I have had many blood tests and a couple of negative chest X-rays.  No one can seem to figure out what's wrong with me except for the dysautonomia.
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Avatar_n_tn
I swear I could have written this post.  I have not been diagnosed with dysautonomia but my symptoms are the same.  I know exactly what you mean when you say the combination of the symptoms causes the fear.  When I have "just" the chest pain, I'm able to work through it but add in the other stuff and I'm a lost cause.  It is not simply mind over matter.  I switch to almost a intense fear mode if I get SOB, dizzy, palps and especially nauseous.  Sometimes when the twinge of pain happens, I'll feel really nauseous and have to swallow hard to keep from throwing up.

If you don't mind me asking, how were you diagnosed with dysautonomia?  The reason that I am asking is because not one of my docs (and I've seen ALOT of them including 4 cardios) has ever mentioned it.  I mentioned it to gp #3 and she just stared at me like I was speaking a foreign language.  I am not seeing an amazing internal med doc but I don't want to mention it to her yet because she is being so thorough that I wanted to start with a clean slate.

The doc mentioned pinched nerves, my doc (gp#1-who I've seen for 20 years) did a t-spine MRI and it was normal.  I have felt like asking for a c-spine because I did have a doc mention that about a year ago.  I'd been so mad at myself if I ended up having a pinched nerve and I lived in such fear for the past 2 years!!!   I also saw a chiropractor, he seemed to think it was nerve related but the first "adjustment" was so weird for me that I never had another one.  He felt down my spine and said "found it" right away.  I was very skeptical and after that first adjustment, I didn't go back.  That literally put me out of sorts for a week.  

I am 36 and I know the 'likelihood'  of someone our age having cad is extremely low especially with other risk factors being practically nonexistent.  But the physical discomfort is too real to ignore.  

Best of luck to you, I hope you get good answers soon!
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Avatar_n_tn
The EP I saw for the heart stuff told me he thought I had Neurocardiogenic Synscope.  When I started reading about it, I realized it was caused by a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, or dysautonomia.  Technically, I was never formally diagnosed but the Internist I have been seeing said he agrees.  It seems no one wants to say for sure I have it but after reading about it, it is totally me.  Basically, I am just told to drink lots of fluids which is part of the problem but it certainly doesn't solve everything.

I have never had a CT or MRI of my spine and I wish one of these doctors would order one already.  I agree with what the Dr. said above that it is likely a nerve problem but nooone seems interested in helping me find out the problem.  

I liked my chiropractor but I can't afford to pay $65 a visit 3 x a week.  And going just here and there doesn't seem to help me.  I think it makes a difference when they specialize in gentle adjustments.  He is also affiliated with the spine institute of a major hospital in my city.

I hope you get some answers too.  These weird "medical mysteries" can certainly make life difficult!

If you Google dysautonomia, you'll come up with lots of interesting stuff.  Read it and see if any of it applies to you.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello.

I'm a 17 year old male and have been experiencing chest pains for about two months now. I'm 5'6'' and I weigh 230 lbs plus I have asthma. Before the summer started, I was depressed and I started smoking marijuana. After the first 2 weeks, I had an episode where I called 911 because my heart was racing fast. It wore off after a while and I went back to smoking. One night I came home and I felt extremely paranoid. I told my mom what was happening (she's a nurse). Of course she was upset but she told me what I was feeling could be pleuritis. After this, I went to ER about 6 time now and everytime the tests showed that nothing was wrong with me. Even though they said nothing was wrong, I'm still feeling these pains and I'm worried because a family friend recently died and they found nothing wrong with him when he got checked up. They say that since I'm stressing it ,that's why I feel the way I do but I'm scared.

Can anyone give me a possible explination?
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