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Avatar universal

Is it really anxiety or is it something else?

I'm 20, and I've been to the ER 2 times in the last 5 or 6 days complaining of horrific chest pain. It's everywhere -- my left shoulder, armpit, and arm, my back under my shoulder blades and in the middle, my neck, my head, my pectorals, everywhere. I've had gas pains like that before and I've gotten them to pass, so I can tell that these aren't gas. At the ER both times, they ran some blood tests, an EKG, and a urine test and everything came back normal. The first ER doctor suggested gastritis and put me on Bactrim and Protonix, and the second suggested anxiety. I'm not consciously anxious about anything -- but I know that it can happen subconsciously. I'm a really chill person.

The pain ranges from stabbing to throbbing to suffocating to pressure to stretching to tightness to virtually anything you can imagine. In my shoulders and back, it feels as if I've been hunched over carrying something extremely heavy -- you know that pain mixed with exhaustion. So THAT sounds like stress. But how can I rule out more serious conditions like a pulmonary embolism or even celiac disease? If it's stress, I have a hard time telling if gluten affects me because I feel like I'd be getting subconsciously stressed about whether or not it's affecting me. You know?

I'm sick of this already, and I know many people suffer much longer than a week. But worst of all is that I get constant adrenaline shots. That kind of fizzly feeling you get right at the V in your ribcage and into your chest? Yeah, every 20-25 seconds. It's hard to sleep -- it keeps waking me up. This whole thing totally came out of the blue. Literally. I was sitting, doing nothing, and it just WHAM started.

Do you think this is really stress/anxiety? I don't want to be trying to ignore it if it's something important.
4 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there and welcome.  You know, I'd go see your primary care doctor.  ER docs are great but they know they see patients on a limited basis.  They aren't there to solve all your problems but rather to help you through your crisis.  I would follow up with your primary care doc about the issues you have.  He/she may or may not refer you to a specialist like a cardiologist.  I really feel you need to do that to rule out any type of heart issue, gastric issue, etc.

But to answer your question, yes.  Anxiety can certainly manifest itself into these types of symptoms and is sneaky to not always look the same in every person.  

After you've ruled out other things, I do think at that time, anxiety is something to look into.  They will go through some questions with you, do some testing.  And based on that, help you determine if it is anxiety here or not.  If it is, it is treatable!  Have faith.

So, start with follow up care and physical exam by your primary care doc.  good luck
Avatar universal
I did follow up with my primary care doctor (just today, actually), and in addition to the 2 ekgs, the blood and urine tests, and the hear monitoring I've also done an abdominal and pelvic sonogram (2 separate sessions). It all came back normal. My primary care doctor said today that he has no idea what it is.
973741 tn?1342342773
Okay, then I would check into anxiety dear.  I'd ask for a referral to even just a PHD psychologist if you don't want to see a psychiatrist.  You can tell them that anxiety was mentioned to you as a possible reason you are having these symptoms and you want to check that out.  

I do wish you luck and hope that you keep us posted on what happens.  
Avatar universal
Thanks :) I'll see if my campus has a psych person, as we do have a pretty extensive counselling center. It's just nervewracking, of course, to feel like I'm going to die (or rather, that when I go to sleep, I won't wake up). What if it's a pulmonary embolism? Or a hoozawhatzit? Yada yada. And of course that only exacerbates anxiety if that's really what it is!

I'll do my best to keep you posted though.
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