Chronic Pain Forum
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Chest Pain

I read to post from the 22 year old male and have similar symptoms. I have 2 separate issues within the same area of my chest, not sure if they are related. I am female and 24yrs old.The 1st issue, for years now, I get a crippling pain on the left side of my chest just below my breast. it's not a shallow pain & is behind my ribcage. The pain last literally about 30secs, there is now indication of what provokes these attacks, they are not after I have eaten, when stessed, certain postions or time of day, they are completely sporadic. I might not have one for a month or 2 & then have 2 attacks in a week. It sometimes happens if I laugh of take a deep breath & is normally when I'm relaxed. The only way I can explain the pain is that it feels like a balloon in my chest getting bigger and bigger like it's going to pop, almost like somethings blocked and there's a build up but it releases quickly. If I take a breath the pain becomes more intense so I tend to hold my breath until it passes as it's unbearable. I have been in tears many times with the pain, it's crippling. It's obviously not life threatening but is worrying as it's so intense. The 2nd issue is on the left handside of my chest (on the edge of my ribcage just below where my ribs join in the centre of my chest) I have an inflamation of something, it's soft tissue & rubs against the edge of my rib cage when I press it (not hard), it's always there & gets worse if I am stressed. It runs almost the entire edge of my left rib cage from top (where they join) to bottom. I wouldn't say it's painful, but it's very uncomfortable. I get the occasionally pang but nothing major. My doctor said it might be my floating rib, which is rubbish unless it's up the wrong way and in the wrong place! It's veritcle & not at the bottom of the my rib cage. I don't know if an xray or ultrasound would highlight anything? Is it worth asking my doctor for one as I'm not happy with their conclusion?Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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666151 tn?1311114376
There are no 'disorders' that I know of that will cause that constellation of symptoms-- which is the case so often with this forum.  It is clear that many people have symptoms that cause a great deal of discomfort, fear, distraction, and distress... but that don't have clear medical reasons.  Patients become frustrated with their docs, and the docs frustrated that their patients don't do the right thing and get better!  There a couple points worth making.... one common fear that I hear is that the person has a serious illness like cancer.  A frequent frustration is that the doc doesn't want to do enough tests to satisfy the fears of the patient.  Then there is a desire for symptom relief, let alone the fear of significant illness.  Many times I am frustrated as well, as I would like to come up with something helpful for people that come here

In your  case, Leanne, you are describing what sound like two different things.  The sharp pain sounds the least likely to be 'serious' because it has been there for awhile and hasn't progressed and presented itself.  Sharp pain in the chest related to breathing is often 'pleuritic' pain, meaning that it relates to the sensitive lining of the lungs or chest wall.  But I can't think of something that would cause pleuritic chest pain for a period of years, without getting worse and presenting itself-- say as a pneumothorax (collapsed lung), pneumonia, or pulmonary infarct (sort of like a 'stroke' of the lung).  So instead you probably have some nerve fibers that are more sensitive than they should be, and that occasionally start firing off pain signals that are worsened when the lung is inflated and the fibers are stretched.

The other pain is something to keep an eye on if you can feel a painful mass.  The most common source for the pain would be as you put it-- an area of inflammation and pain from a pulled muscle or maybe a large lipoma, or fatty tumor (that is benign).  Some masses need to be checked out fairly quickly-- breast masses in women, for example.  other masses can be observed- like ones that are in the subcutaneous tissue, as yours appears to be.  Things that are worth checking out are masses that are very hard, or that are 'fixed' to adjacent tissues.  Lumps and bumps that move around freely and don't seem attached to the tissue around them are more likely to be harmless.  These are, of course, generalities.

As for symptom control I recommend using anti-inflammatory medication like aleve or ibuprofen.  Using opiate narcotics is usually a mistake, as their tolerance makes them more dangerous than they are helpful.
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