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long term chest pain
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long term chest pain

I am a female, age 41, in relatively good shape. I work out at least 4-5 times per week. I have left side chest pain. This has been present off and on for years. It has been worsening lately.  It is mostly at night when I lie down, if I lay on my left side or on my back. Turning to the right alleviates it. It is also sometimes up under my left rib cage. It does not seem to be exertion related. Lately, though, I have been having it all the time, not just at night. It is kind of like little twinges.  They are very scary and I sometimes then have an anxiety attack. This includes pounding heart, sweating, nausea, diahrrea, SOB, inability to swallow, total PANIC.  I have Xanax but don't like using it and when I do use it I take a miniscule dose. It does help, at least with the anxiety symptoms.  I have had EKG, echocardiogram, stress test. All is normal. The only ting mentioned was some mild tricuspid regurgitation.  I live in mortal fear, daily, of having  a heart attack. It also seems to be more prominent near the time of my menstrual cycle though that may not be significant.  Can you please help me figure out what this is, how to alleviate it or at least allay my constant fear and anxieties?   It has taken over my life and thoughts and it's really quite miserable.  Could it be JUST anxiety? Should I use more medication - I would really hate to? Or is it a cardiac problem that has gone undiagnosed that I need to see someome else for?? Please help me!! thank you for your time.
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213398_tn?1202674074
i have the same exact thing. i live in panic every day for having a heart attack. same pressure feeling in chest. twinges. electric pains. and then boom panic attack. all tests say normal but i worry someone is missing something. i'm a heavy smoker thats why i'm worried. you smoke too?  
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Avatar_n_tn
No, I have never even smoke a cigarette in my life. I do have a heavy family history of cardiac problems, though, and I have very high cholesterol.   Last night I discussed this with my husband, who is a pharmacist, and he suggested that it could be GERD and told me to try some antacids. I really was skeptical, but desperate so I tried it and it did bring some relief. So far this morning - 9:15 AM - I am not having any pain.  I can't believe it could be that simple but it sure would be nice if it was. I am going to look up more info on GERD to see what triggers that and what preventive steps I can try.
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Avatar_n_tn
After almost two years of "chronic" chest discomfort/pain, more on than off, my new doctor is convinced I have GERD.  I have seen 4 cardios and lots of other docs, even a gastro doc.  I tried a trial dosage of prevacid at one time but really didn't follow through with it because I was so convinced it was heart related.  She gave me nexium in a higher than normal dose and wants me to try that to see if it changes anything.  

One of the things in your post that made me write was laying on the left side and back.  It causes all sorts of issues for me, I swear they are cardiac but all my tests say otherwise.  Like you, switching to my right side helps.

After almost two years of this I went to a psychiatrist this past Monday.  I am an anxious person by nature nor did I ever think I would end up there but I did.  We talked for over and hour and I don't think he was all that convinced I was experiencing "just" anxiety.  He wants me to try Klonpin, a longer acting (less addicting) drug, for a month.  He says if at the end of the month my symptoms are not alleviated at all, it's not "just" anxiety and I should continue with finding a physical reason.  

So now, I'm deciding, Klonopin for a month or Nexium for a month.  Probably Klonopin as this past two years have really taken a toll on me mentally.  I am hyper aware of EVERY tiny little ping, pang, twing, twang.  It is horrible.  When I think my heart is quivering all over the place, my pulse is normal.  It is crazy.  By the way, I am a VERY, VERY, VERY reluctant medicine taker.  It takes a pretty miserable headache for me to even take aspirin BUT I am going to give these two a try, for peace of mind.

I also saw a psychologist who is suppose to help me control the Pain--->Panic response I have.  I am a skeptic but I'll give that a month too.  I know I am getting anxious and panicky BUT it's only after the pain or weirdness starts in my chest (left side only too!).

I guess, could it *just* be anxiety.  I guess so, from what I've been told, but it sure is scary.  A cardiac problem?  More than likely, NOT.  I know that for me too but the physical discomfort of it is too real to get it out of my head.  Like I've said, I've seen 4 cardios and thank GOD, have had a clean bill of health.  If you keep going to docs, someone is going to find SOMETHING whether it is there or not, eventually they'll be a false positive.  I would say, if you trust your doctor, you don't need another opinion.  If you need a second opinion for your peace mind, then do that too.  But I would in the mean time get the "panic" part under control because that I think is what is not allowing me to get better.

Take Care and I wish you the best.
t.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had chest pain also 1995.  It did not bother me while moving around but when quiet it would hurt so bad I could not go to sleep. The only thing that helped with the pain was Atenol.  Doc said he had never heard of taking atenol for pain.  My doctor said Costochondritis (Tietze's syndrome).  He put a few shots in my ribs near the breast bone.  Steroid I think.  The relief was almost imediate.  I had thought I was going to die.

Well this is just a possibility.  It is a lot better than having a heart problem.

Good luck
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213398_tn?1202674074
ripley so what medicine are you trying for the gerd? maybe i'll give it a shot too.
tanns i'm the same way with medicine terrified of taking medicine.
tugar .   how long did you have the costochondritis? what exactly did it feel like? that maybe the cause of my problem
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Avatar_n_tn
I saw myself in the mirror when I read your first post. I have the same pains when laying on the left side, during the day or when I am wearing a bra or something a bit more tight aroung the chest (which I need to wear anyway but I try to avoid it when I'm at home). I also have mild tricuspid regurgitation.

The last cardiologist that I saw said it was esophageal spasm and that's why the pain responded to nitroglycerin. I also used Celexa, an antidepressant for a couple of months, and the pain almost disappeared (only in extreme stress situations it would have come back), but I quit this medication as I was thinking it's not doing anything than numbing my symptoms. I understood that a negative angiogram would rule out any cardiac cause, but I am too scared of the risks of this procedure.

Take care and keep us posted!
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Avatar_n_tn
thanks to everyone for their very helpful input.  Just knowing that I am far from the only one certainly helps. I try to remind myself that the tests were negative for a heart problem and that it is probably GERD or anxiety.  Difficult to do when the pains start!  The meds that I took that evening for GERD were just tums, not prescription or anything.  I will keep them handy for the next time. A very small amount of Xanax also helps but I don't usually break down and take it until I am in the midst of a mostrere panic attack! Anyway, I want to thank everyone for being so kind and helpful.
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Avatar_n_tn
How are you doing on Klopin? did you decide to take it? REason I ask is your story is similar to mine. I am on my 3rd cardio and am seeing a gastro too to determine if my chest pains are stomach related. I dont buy that its just anxiety. I feel I get the anxiety after I feel the chest pain. Anyways... i am actually on my way to see a phycatrist (sp?) at lunch time. I already take xanax to calm me down and help with panic but I want to see what he thinks. And if I didnt want more kids at the time... my option may be klopin. I was wondering... is it fast acting like xanax? Or is it more like an ssri taking weeks to help? Hope you are doing better.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had severe GERD. Had to have the surgery to repair stomach valve. It has not stopped my chest pains. All I'm saying is please be aware that more than one thing can be wrong. Good luck, and hope it is so simple for you!
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Avatar_n_tn
ive been having similar chest pains for around 6 months now.  age 29 male.  pains aren't severe but are frequent enough to worry.  quick nerve like twitch just left of mid-sternum and similar pain at corresponding spot on back.  sometimes pain is closer to left armpit and feels like pressure.  a few times have had pain mid right chest and also sometimes a longer lasting pulsing mild ache in lower right quadrant. these pains cant be brought on by touch.  the last few months ive had almost continuous buildup of gas in stomach.  got in the habit of forcing it out via belching which causes acid reflux pain when its worst.  saw a doctor last week, EKG was "normal enough" and he doesnt seem to think its cardiac.  physical exertion doesnt trigger the pain so i want to think it isnt either.  going back to get results of blood work this week.  does anyone else have the stomach gas?  at almost anytime i can push out/pull in stomach and cause a gurgle of moving gas, this is a related symptom to the pain im pretty sure and not a sudden development of aerophagia.  im a bit wary of doctors and all the meds they like to stuff people with so im trying to do as much research and self healing as possible.  any advice would be helpful, thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
I haven't taken the Klonopin yet.  I have the prescription in my medicine cabinet but I just haven't "taken the plunge".  I want to, to see if my symptoms go away, then I'll know it is "just" anxiety.  It seems easy enough, but for me, it isn't.  I'm a very bad, bad medicine taker.  I always have been.  

From what I understand, the Klonopin is not fast acting like Xanax (within 20 or so minutes) but instead takes about an hour.  Maybe sooner for some.  I've read that it has to be  taken twice a day, approximately 12 hours apart to be truly effective.   It has a longer half life than xanax and is suppose to be less addicting.  Also, from what I read, most people feel positive results within 3 to 4 days but it reaches the steady state in your system in 14 days.  The psych I saw told me it should be apparent in a week whether or not it is working.  He told me to give it a month and if it didn't work then I could come off of it.  Someone on another post told me to take a month to come off.  

I think for me one of the hardest things is that I just don't believe it is truly anxiety.  Is there an anxiety component?  Absolutely without a doubt.  Does the that anxiety come out of the blue for me?  NO.  It's only after something in my chest goes.  Whether it's the pain, discomfort, pinch, flip, flutter or sometimes just a "blah" warm sick feeling that comes and goes quickly.  

I hope your doc visits provide you with some insight.

Take Care, t.
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