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Chest/Rib pain while breathing
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Chest/Rib pain while breathing

Hi,
I am 22yo, 6'1, 160lbs
Student, security guard and waiter.
Almost no time for physical exercise.
Recently finished 3yrs of combat duty in a foreign navy.

All my life I had the occasional chest pain when breathing deeply, but it always only appeared about once a month for one moment. I always assumed it was "growth pains". Lately I moved to California from a much warmer country and from January I am experiencing waxing and waning frequencies of reccuring chest pain in around three main areas of my left lower or middle chest... It seems to occur with cold air and always when I sit or am otherwise not "Warmed up" by physical activity. When the pain comes it gets sharper the deeper I breathe and calms the more I exhale... but if I exhale even more, to a point where I almost completely empty my lungs it reappears, but is different... I've been able to stop the "attack" by forcing myself to take a few deep-deep breaths... the pain just goes away... But still, the frequency of occurance of thess phenomena has risen... I have seen a doctor, my EKG was normal and so was my XRAY... he told me it will go away... but about 3 months have passed with no change. My mom is a physician, but she lives in FL and can't examine me. She told me to start taking some specific kind of pain killers... which are anti-inflamatory... no change. I also have a recent rise in acidity and heart burn...

What should I do?
Is my body deteriorating because it was used to physical exercise which suddenly stopped? Should I go back to training?
Do I have pleurosy/pleurisy (spelling?)

Thank you.
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20 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I also forgot to mention a few details:
1. I said I had pain in a few a reas of my chest but failed to state which ones: the pain is especially between the third and fourth hard left ribs (counting from lowest to highest, lowest being 1). It is also felt about three fingers left of that indentation in the middle of the chest? The chest bone I think?
2. It feels like sharp pain that gets worse when breathing deeper. If I stop taking breaths for a while, the pain slowly disappears.
3. On my dr visit he also said that it's probably skeleto-muscular (or musculo-skeletal, not sure what you call it)...
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Avatar_n_tn
Please,
can anyone help me ?
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Avatar_n_tn
Does the pain hit you if you lean forward?  I have suffered with plurisy to both lungs, and it made me feel like I had flu like symptoms, and the pain was so painful I couldn't get out of bed.  Have you had a virus of any sort recently?
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm not sure how much I can help you, but I'm goin' try- at least. Pleurisy is usually like a temporary condition, that is accompanied with fever, shortness of breath, fever, and so on. I have sport induced asthma that creates a burning type sensation in the cold weather even if I'm not active. I've gotten those sharp pains, and you have to practically hold our breath until they go away, like 10-15 seconds...Is it starting to get worse or interfere with daily activities? It doesn't sound like angina(heart-related pain)Throughout your service, is there something that you could have breathed for prolonged periods of time maybe causing a restriction in your lungs; were you often sick? I had reocurring bronchitis and pneunmonia, after that, like I said, the cold weather triggers it as well as sports, exertion. The bronchus didn't really fully recover- let me know about the questions, I'll check back
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Avatar_n_tn
Well,
No... it's not worse when I lean forward and it's not the sort of pain that renders me incapable of getting out of bed... It's mostly related to breathing cold air in my opinion... and also recently I went back to the gym and started working my chest and arm muscles again - I believe after that it got worse, but I'm not sure since when it got worse i was in the movie theatres and it was really cold there...

Thank you for your reply
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Avatar_n_tn
Well,
I went to my doctor, and he said it might be costochondritis - a situation in which the soft parts and hard parts of the ribs are inflamed (in the joints).
He said I could go to take another more specific xray or blood test if i wanted to, but he also told me I should start taking Glucosamine Solfate, that should help me.
All together it's nice to know I got nothing and that it is benign... I am strongly thinking of taking the medication.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sounds quite complex- glad to hear you're doing well, good luck to you~!
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Avatar_n_tn
I actually have these same exact symptoms.  I had these pains a lot in high school and went to a cardiologist.  Nothing was wrong with my heart and he said it was just a musculo-skeletal problem.  Anyway, they've returned (it's been about 3.5 years since high scool) and it almost seems worse this time.  It's been hurting to breathe almost all day now and it's driving me nuts.  I wish I could figure out what it is...

Also,  I think my pains increase when I do lifting with my chest muscles.  I was wondering if it might be the muscles in between my ribs (intercostals) though since it hurts when breathe.  I saw what you were diagnosed with so I might look into that.  Does your chest still hurt?
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Avatar_n_tn
is the pain in the right side of ur ribs
i have that n it sometimes get worse when i breathe but not always...it seems to effect me about 9.00 pm for some reason
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

very interesting. I have a simlar 'problem' and always have (since about 15 maybe (im 21 now))

Interestingly my mother and sister also have similar symptons. I get it prob about once a month,

The pain i get is very sharp and stabbing, on the left between the ribs as you described. It is very sharp, and the worse thought to me is to breath in furthur!

The best thing for me is to hold my breath for a little while, then slowly breath out (no sudden movement-i could imagine that would really stab!)

Then the next time i breath in i do so with care, its normally fine!

does this sound similar to what you have?



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526003_tn?1212611072
I've recently developed these problems. I've been spending the last few hours controlling my breathing, but I can't seem to get it to go away. I've had it for about three days now off and on. Last night while I was working (I'm a server), I could barely finish my sidework it was so intense. It feels a little better when I sit up and lean forward, but it's still very severe. I've read up on the different things it could be, and I thought maybe it's angina, but I don't have all the symptoms of any of the things I've read about. I'm confused and don't know what to do. Not to mention, I'm a 19 year old with no health insurance and certainly not enough money to see a doctor. It seriously concerns me. If anyone can help please email me at charlies_angel2244***@****. Thank you.

Natalea
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526003_tn?1212611072
charlies_angel2244 @ y a h o o
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow!!! I am not alone?! I have had the same pains...the pain that Warfax is talking about is the same as mine. Mine seems to be when I breath in cold air, too. Mine is so painful it stops me dead in my tracks. I cant breath in hardly at all and it makes me take shallow breaths.

I remember the first time it happened when I was a kid running with my dad out in the cold. I went to the E.R. but as others have said on here, it goes away after a little bit.

Then, a couple of months ago,when it started getting cold, it happened all day. Since then it happens off and on almost everyday.

If anyone has learned anything new, treatments, diagnosis, or just a personal story about dealing with this type of pain, let me know...

thanks,

Kris
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 26 years old, and this is the EXACT problem that I have had for over 10 years now.  My mother has it all the time, and she said that she has repeatedly gone to the doctor and they have found absolutely nothing wrong with her - they have done every x-ray imaginable, blood work, etc.  

The one constant that I have noticed is that it is mostly a muscle spasm related to nerves -- if I do anything that causes stress, hold my breath for a few seconds longer than normal, etc...anything along those lines, this chest/breathing pain occurs, and it is very difficult to get rid of.  

If it helps, I have found that trying to take long deep breaths (as deep as you can without the sharp pain)...stretching VERY easily so you don't make matters worse...and massaging the area where there's pain -- it generally goes away within a few seconds.

Other than that, I'm not sure what this could be other than muscle spasms.
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Avatar_n_tn
Because u r experiencing chest pain, you should really go see a doctor and let them diagnosis u just to be safe.  If you have pleurisy-that is great, but if it is cardiac related you need to be seen.
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Avatar_n_tn
It's not that "misery loves company" but it is good to read that I am not alone- although my cardiologist did tell me that she has heard my specific complaint many times before and that she and her colleagues have no idea of the cause.

I too have had these extremely sharp, "stops me dead in my tracks/have to pull my car to the side of the road/mid-breath" chest pains for as long as I can remember. Usually monthly, sometimes more often- lasts maybe half to a minute with residual dull ache after for awhile. I can't breathe during because expanding my lung on the left side is too painful. I just have to breath shallowly- try moving slowly stretching- whatever- until it subsides.

I am 57 now and recently have been having them more often and for longer periods. My son has them as does my aunt. Sounds as though the condition might be hereditary.

I've had an echo of my heart and do not have "mitral valve prolapse", as my sister does. All looks good and the pain pronounced "benign" by my cardiologist.

Good to know but it sure hurts when you're having them doesn't it?

I'd be interested to hear if anyone gets a specific diagnosis.

Take care all!
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351246_tn?1379685732

Hi
Thanks for writing to the forum!
There is a strong possibility it is costochondritis (inflammation of the joint between rib and sternum. The inflammation around the joint area gives sharp pain on taking a breath. This can also cause tenderness on pressing the area which pains. An orthopedic doctor can diagnose this for you. It could also be osteomyelitis of the rib bones or a mild fracture.
Chances are that you have esophageal reflux (GERD), where the food in your stomach is thrown up into your food pipe or esophagus. This also causes burning sensation or discomfort in the chest area. Another possibility is hiatal hernia, where a portion of stomach herniates into the chest cavity through the diaphragm. This along with chest discomfort cause shortness of breath too.
You need to consult an orthopedic specialist and a gastroenterologist and not a cardiologist.
Hope this helps. It is difficult to comment beyond this at this stage. Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!

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Avatar_n_tn
I am 16 years old and I have almost the same problem but it hurts in my throat and my middle chest. I went to the hospital yesterday and got an x-ray that was normal. They then sent me home saying I had costochondritis. How would they know it was that just because there was nothing wrong with my x-ray? Also, there is no pain at all until I breathe in and when I do it feels like there is something inside my throat or chest, I can't tell which one because the pain is so severe, trying to get out. I've never experienced a pain like this before. I also looked up Costochondritis online and none of my symptoms are shown. I honestly think these doctors are just too lazy to figure out what this really is. I've been sick on and off since january 2008 and nothing has been figured out. Mono tests were negative along with everything else. I can't think of what would be causing such a pain and I believe it is not Costochondritis since none of my symptoms were listed. Yesterday, the pain was so bad I was in tears. For the first time yesterday I had a headache ONLY when I would inhale. If I didn't inhale, I felt no pain, but when I did inhale it felt like a major migraine. I would really like to know what is causing this. I'm too young to have to go through things like this every month. If anyone has any ideas please let me know!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi guys,
Ive also got this agravating problem. Apparently only 10% of tje world population havethis, so i guess were very unlucky, theres no cure for it sadly. No name given for it yet. But we should feel special for being the many few that have this, no one has of said to of died from it, so look on the bright side. Apparently the condition orriginated far back.
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Avatar_n_tn
wow.. glad to know others have similar problems. my question to those that suffer this pain is, was is at first just occasional. as in did it only happen once in maybe a month.

with me its not often enough to the extent i feel that i need to see the doctor. and its not when i breathe out. only when i breathe in too much then my ribs hurt.

This is how i've described it to people:
its like a balloon, when u breathe too much, the balloon gets bigger, and the skin of the balloon is gettin stuck to the rib(s). so in order to get rid of it u just dont breathe that deep. untill it goes away.

???? agree???
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