This question isn't about me, it's about my girlfriend. She has been having random chest pains since about 14 years old. I'm not sure when she started smoking but one day when I was driving her chest pain got really bad that she almost couldn't breathe, I took her to the ER and told her that she needs to admit to smoking if it will be the cause of a problem with the chest pains. After the ER, they gave her meds and told her she had a Pleurisy (not sure of the spelling), which I think is an inflammation of the lungs? But after the meds, she is still having the chest pains. She's been to a Gastroenterologist, a Cardiologist, and she said she's even talked to her Gynocologist and they all could either find anything that could be causing it or what is happening. She's stopped smoking ever since, being around people or in restaurants doesn't trigger her chest pains from the smoke, if any around. She's has numerous medical tests, too many to name. I've been trying to tell her to keep badgering them on what else can be done and just ask if there is anything else to check for. It's been months since she's been to the doctor and she still has the chest pains, I can't say exactly of the occurrence but I would have to say at least once a month. Her and I are afraid she might get this chest pain started up again and might cause some internal or long-term damage. What could keep causing this recurrence of pains that the doctors cannot figure out what is causing it? What else can she do to help find out what is wrong and find out what she can do? Everytime the chest pains happen, she has to stop everything she is doing to deal with the pain. She describes it as a stabbing pain in her chest. I hope I've explained enough to help get some answers. Because I'd hate that she would have to live with this burden for the rest of her life. Please help. Thank you.
The type of chest pain is very important. I get chest pain a lot but I know exactly why, keep that in mind when you ready my answer.
Some chest pains are due to simple muscle strain. Sharp ones, specifically. You would think, right, that sharp pains meant a big problem. But they actually never come with heart-related chest pain. Muscle strain, anxiety, acid reflux..those cause sharp pain.
The other, much more worriesome chest pain isnt pain at all. Its a dull, crushing sensation, radiating out from a nonspecific point. That is what heart problems cause.
Sadly, there is a significant chance that you've accidentally done what I'm about to tell you. Understand, its clear you have her best interests in mind...
...When people react to chest pain as if it was an emergency, as if there must be something wrong, as if the tests must be wrong..the person they're reacting to may come to believe these things. This creates anxiety, which in turn, causes chest pain.
I dont know how to turn it around right now, but you need to take the opposite roll you have. You need to inform her, that the tests are taken extremely seriously, that chest pain is not something doctors handwave away. It isnt.
I can give you an example. I have a heart condition, a mitral valve prolapse. Its minor, wont hurt me over time or anything serious. Its just...weird. it creates weird sensation temporarily and clicks (Yes, clicks. Exactly what youd think it feels like.) For a while I didnt know what this was and was certain I was going to die from a heart attack. Well one day it got so bad that the pain shot through my left arm and back. i could barely stand.
They diagnosed me, fairly quickly, with a mitral valve prolapse at the ER (the clicking is not present in other conditions.) and sent me home to come back the next day for the confirming tests. Thats how sure they were i was okay.
So what ended up happening was: I had a heart condition, and the sensations so terrified me and so upset me, that I reacted physically in a way that made them appear to be serious. In reality, that pain i felt? All of it, every bit, was caused by my anxiety.
Since I was diagnosed and know what it is now? That pain has not once, EVER, returned. Even during my panic attacks, its not there, because its not something dangerous and I know it.
I wish I had more specific to tell you. I do not. All I know is, how seriously this is taken, and that she's looking to you for support. She's put more trust in your words than you may realize. And you need to help her calm down.
Im not a doctor, but I can say for certain that you have a surprising amount of power right now, in her case. Use it right, or she'll stay terrified. Be there for her, but be calm and reassuring. No one ever got better by being worried.
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