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1554262 tn?1374243601

Severe Chest pain relieved by cold water

I hope I got the right Forum for this...

I'm a 51 year old male and for the past 16 months I have had a strange pain happen to me at random times.  I call it a "severe flash pain" for lack of a better description. It is located in my chest behind the sternum and slightly to the right (not the heart side).  The pain area radiates about the size of a softball and happens very fast with no or little warning.  I have even been raised from sleep with this pain.  I get it at work, at home, pretty much any time of day.  I can’t seem to nail down what triggers the pain like meal time, too much stress, fatty foods, etc. The weird part is this: I get myself to cold water as fast as I can and drink it quickly.  Almost as fast as the pain arrived…it goes away.  The pain is severe and the rush to find cold water is in panic mode to be sure.  I even had to get a cup out of the trash once since there were none around during an attack!  I don’t think it’s a heart issue but I just don’t know.  I do drink coffee in the mornings, don’t exercise much as I should, but I don’t know if that’s it.

DeBug
220 Responses
547368 tn?1440545385
Hello DeBug,

Welcome to the Pain Management Forum. I am so sorry to hear about your attacks of sudden severe chest pain.

The obvious first thought is cardiac. The pain doesn't have to be exactly over your heart or on the left side.....however drinking cold water should not relieve cardiac symptoms. If anything it should make it worse. But I am far from an expert. So I cannot say for certain that it is not cardiac.  

It's possible it is a gastrointestinal problem. Ppl with GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) or similar conditions are often able to relieve their symptoms, at least temporarily with a glass of cold water...that is factual.  Obviously you cannot be diagnosed over the internet...it's a risky thing to do. I encourage you to consult with your PCP. Do you take anything for GERD?

Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. I will be very interested to hear the results of your consult.

Best of Luck to You,
~Tuck
2 Comments
DeBug,
I agree with Tuck that this could be a GI issue though less likely GERD. Possible esophageal spasm, less likely hiatus hernia.  Suggest you visit GI practice. (An esophagram or endoscopy may be helpful exams to undergo)
Best,
ALbert PA
sphincter of odi spasms... pancreatic?
when I was on morphine for pancreatic pain control, it would set off pain that made me believe it was cardiac related...

50/50 on the "de-bunking" of the dynamic, but -  as one who suffered MISERABLY for years; only relief? COLD  MILK! I'll be a believer til I pass
547368 tn?1440545385
I meant to add that you are always welcome here. Right forum or not!  :o)

You may also want to post on our Gastroenterolgy Forum....but please let us know how you are doing too. Here's the link:

http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Gastroenterology/show/68

Looking forward to your updates.

~Tuck
Avatar universal
In addition to what Tuck mentioned, I was also thinking possible esophageal spasm - perhaps the cold water kind of "zaps" the spasm out.

Like Tuck, I'm no doctor, so am only giving my opinion/idea.

I hope you find some answers.
1554262 tn?1374243601
Thanks Tuck and GeminiGirl for your help!  That is very kind of you both to take the time to read and respond.

I have not heard of GERD but will Google that to see what I can see.  The esopageal spasm looks like a possiblility as well.  I have not see a doc as I have no health insurance and will need to do what I can do on my own first.  

DeBug
Avatar universal
I have the exact same problem. Water relieves the pain. I am 35 and thought it was heartattack, but its not. With me it starts in the sternum and goes around the entire ribcage. It must feel like this to be strangled by a Anaconda.
Avatar universal
I too have these symptoms. They occur infrequently and cant pin down why or how they arise. However, drinking cold drink relieves it and without it it gets progressively worse, hence the panic to get water down asap. i can feel the liquid go down and somehow relieve the pain almost as quickly as it arrived. As sense of anxiety and being overwhelmed persists for a while though. I havnt yet discussed with a doctor and would be interested to learn of others diagnosis.
Avatar universal
I too have this problem. I am a 61-year old female and identify with everything that Rockhopper600 says.  The pain is sudden and frightening, and of course I immediately think heart attack.  Although I am reading all of the posts, and have some spare time today to surf the Internet, I haven't seen what is actually causing the pain.  This sudden pain happened to me once when I was driving and unfortunately had no water in the car.  I stopped at a gas station to get some water, and had to wait in an extremely long (it seemed) line.  So I now keep a bottle of water in the car at all times.  I am glad to know that the cause is not a heart attack.  Thanks for all your comments.
Avatar universal
I too get chest pains that i have been associating with gas pains that are almost immediately relieved by ice water. I am glad to hear I'm not crazy but would like to know if it really is just gas pains that have travelled to the upper chest. My pain is more like pressure in the middle of the chest, or a heavy weight. There have been no other symptoms like left arm tingle or anything else.
Avatar universal
I also have the same prob it feels so bad sometimes I fell like i cant breath.When i get water I fell it go down and it starts to go away.Mine always starts in the morning after I get moving around ,but I also drink water all day after that cause I work in a very hot plant or outside doing something. But when it hits me it can put me on the ground if i don't get any water.I'm 27year old male
1554262 tn?1374243601
Hi Matt,

Sorry to hear you are having like pains.  I have noticed that the frequency has gone down for me but I still get the sudden pains and can always get the pain to stop with cold water.  I sleep with a glass next to my bed for the night ones.  I still know what causes it or why cold water works but I'm sure it's not a heart attack...at least that's someting.   Let me know if you find anything out.

DeBug
1554262 tn?1374243601
I guess I was both happy and sad to hear that others have this "thing" with the pain and the cold water.  It's been almost a year now and I went several months without any problems.  I did get quite a few the last couple of months but the cold water always does the trick.  In fact, I've had this so long now that I can calmly deal with the pain (less panic) and just seek out water as quick as I can.  The only issue I had was getting an attack on the road and having to wait in line at a food/gas stop to buy a bottled water...it took forever and I thought I was going to pass out!

DeBug
Avatar universal
Hi, I also get this pain it radiates up into my jaw and nose and for a while i took rennie and that kind of thing but sat for an hour or more in severe pain and it usually comes on in the night.  I spoke to the doctor about this and she seemed to think it was my esophogus(sure not spelt right but the tube your food goes down) going into a spasm and i have done the same thing and I drink some water as soon as possible and it clears straight away.  So i think she was right and by doing that it jumps back but no wiser to why it does it but quite scary.
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