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Avatar universal

Palpitations when slouching over (poor posture)

Wondering if anyone else gets this?  I noticed when my posture isn't right and I slouch over that I get sometimes palpitations.

"Lying on ones left side or back places the heart into closer proximity with skeletal structures which, in some individuals can result in some actual physical contact between the heart and chest wall.  Since most hearts are easily "annoyed" by touching this can be a common complain" found this on ************ from a Dr.

I am wondering if slouching could somehow have this effect too.  I suppose I should just try not to slouch and see ;-)


26 Responses
612551 tn?1450022175
As the doctor says when I tell him it "hurts when I do this" , he says "don't do that" :) supposed to be a joke but like most humor there is an element of truth, thus making it more funny.

If you are overweight and have a (like I) spare tire around the middle, that could crowd the chest if slouching means bending forward at the waist.  This action pushes any tummy fat into the chest/stomach/heart/lungs area, yes everything gets affected.  I hope to lose 20 pounds some, day, maybe after thanksgiving which in the USA is frequently celebrated with eating too much.

Good luck,
Avatar universal
This is interesting to me.  Thank you for sharing!!  I know it is true that bad posture isn't good for us.  I guess this is just another reason to sit up straight.  haha

Interestingly, I have lost about 15 pounds, which is strange that this problem is happening now.  But our bodies do shift as we age and I suppose when we lose weight too and I still do need to lose weight (about 20 more pounds).  

anyway, thank you Miss Jerry!!

1182699 tn?1297574784
My dr. says the the same thing...I tell him it's worse when I lay on my left side so he told me not to lay on my left side :) It's funny that you posted this today. While I was bent over brushing my teeth this morning, my PAC's starting acting up, terribly. I went shopping, and had to continue coughing. I don't think that was helping me out, but gave me something else to focus on while they were teasing me. I feel 100% better this afternoon, but bending and stooping do tend to aggrivate my palps. I would guess that poor posture would do the same...I usually have alot more when I sit with my knees up to my chest (that's how I watch t.v., I catch myself doing that a lot like I'm 12 or something). Maybe vagal nerve????
1182699 tn?1297574784
Oh, and the quote you wrote about the left side and rubbing against the chest wall, my cardio just explained to me a few weeks ago, that your heart is not stationary in your chest. It will actually move somewhat. He said that this causes many people with palps to start acting up.
Avatar universal
I have the same complaint. I am a 58 year old female.  My ekg's and ecg's are normal.  My atrial fibrillation only happens in the evening around 7 pm or so, after eating and sitting at rest in one certain chair.  Doctors pretty much ignore the fact of the position of my body or the time of day and the fact I am at rest.  They concentrate on what I consider the symptom - arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation - rather than the cause.  I am taking fecainide 50mg twice a day, because I really do understand I am at risk when the at's begin and continue for hours.  And it is pretty much working.  When I have a "spell", it feels as though my heart is trying to get back into rhythm, but just can't so it goes fast, stops, then flops around for awhile.  Resting doesn't seem to help, walking around will stop the fibrillation, but as soon as I sit again they start right back.  I feel like I am alone out here trying to figure out the cause of this thing.  I have been reading about thyroid and it's role in heart rhythm.  I have been reading about vagus nerve.  Other symptoms I have are a lump in my throat and an occasional dry cough.  I have had a CT scan and a endoscopy because I thought it was triggered by my digestive system, but the results have been normal.  I am glad to have found this forum to know there are others out there with the same triggers, and the same problem of doctors treating the symptom instead of the cause.
Linda, I have been having some similar issues with my heart. The lump in my throat and coughing and my heart trying to get back into rhythm. I know its bee a few years since you posted this but my cardiolgist and pulmonologist have no answers. It makes me feel uneasy about doing anything like exercise or even travel is a concern.
What ended up with your diagnosis and how have you been treated?
You are right, it has been quite awhile since my diagnosis, but I will give you a snapshot of my  experience.  I had a cryoablation in 2015 and have been doing very well ever since.  I was controlling it with medication from 2010 to 2015 - prescribed flecainide and/or metoprolol.  The main concern with this condition is stroke, although personally it felt like my heart would just stop.  Just my own fear, I guess.

I was diagnosed in 2010 by wearing a heart monitor for 30 days.  The Holter monitor did not pick it up because you only wear it for 24 hours.  My Afib was intermittent, not daily.  While wearing the 30 day monitor, I had an episode (probably about 10 or 15 days in) and recorded it.  I sent it to my doctor and he was able to diagnose the condition by reading the EKG.  I am sure they have even better equipment to use now because that was almost 10 years ago!  My son says there is a watch that performs a rudimentary EKG and has been able to identify cases of AFib.  I may have been a little sensitive when I would visit doctors trying to find out what this was because they could not replicate it and I felt they gave me the "side eye".  Like they didn't really believe it was happening or that I just wanted to spend my life in a doctors office.

So, a little less than 5 years of medication, then cryoablation in 2015 and now I am meds-free.  Meaning I do not have to take daily meds to control it.  I have had about 5 incidents of AF since my ablation, all short in duration. ( It is interesting that it presents as tachycardia instead of the arrhythmia I had before.)  Nonetheless, my cardiologist has me use the flecainide as a "pill-in-pocket" remedy and it works to get my heart back at a normal pace.  I'm fine with that.

I also was referred to an endocrinologist who oversaw my thyroid medication and got me back on track because thyroid affects heart rhythm, among everything else it does.  She told me to take brand name thyroid meds if possible because the range allowed is smaller than that for generic drugs and the thyroid can be very sensitive to fluctuations.

To me, it is important that you get this formally diagnosed and treated.  Meds will be first because from what I understand the ablation is not first line of treatment with this, for whatever reason.  I have my theories.  You want to avoid stroke and weakening of the heart as it moves through the episodes.  Also, this is a progressive condition.  That means it only gets worse, never better, with time.

I told my doctor that sitting up at night trying to "will" my heart into rhythm was not what I wanted to do with my time here on earth.  It didn't work, anyway.  But the fear and loneliness I felt during episodes is not, nor will it ever be, forgotten. I wish you good luck and push ahead to take care - don't give up.

Avatar universal
Linda, you say that your EKGs have been normal, so who gave you the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation?  

Has any ENT doc looked into your throat to see what's going on there?

My issue was the time of day that it occurred.  All visits to cardiologist were during the day, while my episodes occurred in the early to late evening.  It was finally diagnosed by my wearing a portable EKG machine and sending the recorded results to my cardiologist.  
Avatar universal
I too am curious how AFib was diagnosed.  I thought that showed up in an EKG/ECG??  Am I wrong??

It only shows  up when your heart is in atrial fibrillation.  Most times my heart was in rhythm - it only happened in evening for me.
Avatar universal
I also have, on occasion, had PVCs when I slouch, bend over, take a deep breath or other things like stress. Recently I was picking up sticks in our yard and each time I bent over to pick up a twig, a PVC or short run of them, would start. Gets scary at times but they go away. Hate the feeling! I can't just stop bending over or any of the other triggers the PVCs start from. The PVCs wake me up or happen just out of the clear blue. If I get into water up to my neck the PVCs usually act up. When I used to ride a motorcycle, at times, the pressure of the wind against me sometimes would cause PVCs. The intensity of some are noticable and some are very hard. Guess we have to try to get used to them  :(
When you slouch or bend over, you affect the vagus nerve, which in turn affects our heart rhythm.
Avatar universal

I thought I'd share my experiences. Please be patient..its a long story..
When I was 21 years old in September, I was lying down after I had eaten and I experienced my first AF..(and may I say, a flipping scary experience). Exactly the same time next year (now 22 yrs old) I suffered my 2nd AF...(again, flipping scary experience)...

However, the last year, I have been getting palpititions nearly every day (normally in the evening 7/8pm...but the last 3-4 months I have been getting them as early as 3pm.

I have noticed several things which trigger my palpititions:

1) When I go to the printer and get up from my chair...after walking several steps, i get a palpition
2) everytime I lean down and pick something up as soon as I get up, I have a palpition

3) If I sleep on my left hand side - i get a palpitition
4) When driving sometimes, I get palps
5) If its really cold outside, or if I am cold -  i  sometimes get palps (thats a wierd one, I know!)

From the above, I firmly beleive that my palps may be becuase of my posture? Any suggestions??

To be honest, it is at a stage where it happens everyday, and I am kind of scared now.

I would be grateful if any of you guys can answer the following questions (sorry!!):
1) any one suffering the same as me (I mean - suffer from palps like I do above EVERYDAY?)
b) Any remedies? (I should be taking Sotalol, but I am not, but its come to a stage which I should be really.

p.s when I play football on Sat mornings...I never get a palp or small AF's during the day!
363281 tn?1590104173
To everyone~I have the same problems and a lot of what has been mentioned causes mine to act up as well.

As to the posture issue, that is a definite YES. I notice that when I slouch in a chair or turn a certain way or even lie down they will act up, and this is even made worse if I have had a large glass of water or just eaten, so, YES, posture can be a definite contributor to the problem.
Avatar universal
I have the very same pvc activation when I do any of the positions you describe. And the cold DOES cause pvcs as well as hot weather. And other times they just happen at any time no matter what I may be doing. Guess there is nothing we can do because those pvc triggers are things we do each day and/or night.
Avatar universal
Hi gman658 (and everyone above).

Its getting to the point where its really disrupting my everyday life! My doc prescribed me Sotalol. I stupidly read the side effects and I am scared of taking it now (big baby!!). But, to be honest, my palps are really worse now, kind of everyday. So I might start taking it.

However, I have noticed that when I play football on Sat mornings with the lads, I do not get any palps during the whole day!

I have also noticed the following:
1) My palps often happen when my heart wants to notch up a gear - i.e. if I am watching T.V and then I get up and walk - the transition from the "resting period" to any increase in the heart - I get a palp...
2) The above is also confirmed sometimes before I start playing football, as my heart is at a normal pace and when I make a forward run, (i.e when my heart wants to notch up a gear) I get a palp, but as soon as my heart goes up a notch it’s okay. (I hope that makes sense).

A question for all of you guys - when you get a palp, does it feel like you heart is about to stop? I try to stand up tall and hold my breath and just hope that my heart sorts itself out. Is there anything that you guys do to help your palps get back to its normal rhythm?
Avatar universal
Usually when i get a palp (for some reason i only get one hard beat or a little flutter) If i cough or take a deep breath it stops. I also get panic attacks afterwards because they are so scarry for me. mine are random and i can go for weeks without getting them but then ALL OF A SUDDEN i get one and it startles me, i hate them!

My mother also gets them so maybe its genetic? Over the years i have had ekgs, echcocardiograms, holter monitors, cat scans (everything was normal). I am overweight and have the spare tire around my waist and i have noticed that when i slouch i get them more because everything is getting pushed up. I have recently lost 10 pounds and plan to loose more to get rid of the extra buldge. Also Since i have been excersing they have gotten better. But when i take maybe a week off from excerise because of "Woman Issues" I get them more like my heart is bored or something and wants me to work out.

Our bodies are so weird!
221122 tn?1323011265
I've been getting them for over 30 years.  They go away for months (not completely, but very bearable), then come back with a vengeance for no apparent reason.  When they are keeping me company, they come with positions: left side, right side, sitting watching TV with my knees up!  lol, slouching, or leaning back in a chair.  I get them when I get up from a sitting position a lot, but when I go from moving around to sitting around, they get very bad.  It is exceptionally hard to watch a movie, anymore.  I know they get better when I exercise, however, when I get them so much, I get fatigued and exercise is the last thing I want to do.

I am a nurse and run around for 8+ hours.  I will get a few during work and get a bit freaked out, although I know I am working with other nurses.  I just don't want anyone to know I'm getting them, so it makes it worse.

When I get home, and am not working my stressful job, I would like to relax.  They aren't letting me do that anymore.  When I am off work they are worse.  They even wake me up when I sleep.  

I have an appt with my cardio, which I haven't had to do in years, but it takes a month to get in.....grrrrrrrrrrrrr! I hope something new has come out since I've been there last, but I doubt it.  Just really want to get a holter to find out what is up.
Avatar universal
It is absolutely possible for it to be posture-related.

I recently suffered from PVCs, a high heart rate (landing me overnight in hospital last Sunday), dizziness, tinnitus and an escalating almost constant headache (not really painful, but felt like my head was extremely "tight"); I spent around $3000 on various blood tests, went through five Doctors, had a brain and brain stem MRI/MRA, USG of my carotid arteries, chest x-rays.. and they were all normal.

Fortuitously, I ended up at my Wife's Chiropractor a few days after the hospital debacle (my Wife suffered from neck pain until recently), and they asked her if I was okay.. (I live in Hong Kong, and they didn't speak English).

They knew immediately that my spine wasn't right, and after a week or prep work (massage) they manipulated my vertebra (in particular those in my upper neck) to where they should be.

I am not making this up; within an hour my symptoms had gone away, and it's not a day later and I feel like a human being again.

I urge all of you to at least have a chiropractor check your spine; it's not an obvious reason for the issues, and not a single Doctor (nor the almighty Google in my many days of frantic searching) suggested that it would be related.

I, for one, am quite amazed at the whole experience.

could you please share which chiropractor you saw and what exactly they did? was it a vagus nerve? I too have been seeing 5 doctors and same set of expensive tests without an answer and recommendation for life-long beta blockers and medication when I'm 32, I just found out that the symptoms go away when I stand up straight or when I lay on my back.. omg I hope this is the reason and it can be treated... pls help, I've been so tired from these PVCs. :( I would fly to see that chiropractor
Avatar universal
Hi - I've had all this stuff and out of frustration about 18 months ago I went to see a local chiropractor who said my posture was cr*p - to summarise !

After a few intensive crunching sessions and a monthly top-up, I've gone 18 months with minimal problems.

It came down to pressure/irritation of the vagus nerve


Good luck
Avatar universal
I've had many of the same symptoms that have been mentioned here and I'm sure that posture has a lot to do with it. I also don't tend to get them after exercise (which I do quite a lot of), but sometimes I do get them after drinking too much caffeine and sitting still for long periods.
I am no Doctor or Chiropractor, but I would definitely recommend standing up straight with your heels, back, both shoulders and head against the wall, and trying to stand as tall as possible for a few minutes at a time. I usually repeat this exercise 2-3 times per day and it definitely helps.
I also found the symptoms quite worrying when they occur/occurred which added to stress and added to the symptoms in turn. I found that drinking Camomile Tea definitely helps with this - it is classed as a mild sedative and helps to slow your heart rate down.
Avatar universal
From all you are saying it sounds like it is vagus nerve induced palpatations... there is a great forum on this here which has some great suggestions for managing
Was so very happy when I found this link - no dr has been able to give me a rational explanation
Arrhythmia is induced from the gut by triggering the vagus nerve through compressed posture or irritation - which then triggers arrhythmia to the heart and also the nerve which is the tenth cranial nerve travels to brain which is why it also causes anxiety apparently...
I have since reading this been able to reduce by 90+%  the arrhythmias as I sit straight now and avoid leaning forward - burp when i get gas in my stomach - am working on reversing my h. pylori in my gut as seems acid makes it worse...reduce a few kgs weight around the gut and get enough sleep and dont have things that will trigger the nerve :)
Avatar universal
Look into symptoms of Hiatal Hernia. It is easily helped by a chiropractor. Not only raised heart rate, but as in my case, serious increase in blood pressure.
I had one once and the pain was really bad but it did not cause palps/pvcs. My chiro fixed my issue in 2 sessions!
Avatar universal
Look into symptoms of Hiatal Hernia. It is easily helped by a chiropractor.
Avatar universal
I also get PVCs or AFIB (the two are the same in my book, lol).  I have gotten them sometimes while slouching, sometimes while laying on my back in bed with my laptop on my chest, during jogging or some type of aerobic workout activity (but only a few times out of the hundreds of times I've worked out), a couple of times during sex (that sucked), but mostly leaning on my left side while laying down.  During those times, there were only one or two PVCs...once I corrected my posture or took the laptop off my chest, it went away.  When I was jogging, it lasted for like 20 seconds after I stopped running.  Funny thing is, when I started back running - NOTHING!  I had one episode (PVCs) that lasted most of the day...I wasn't doing anything to bring them on...nothing that I can remember.  The cardiologist put me on metoprolol (50mg).  A few months later, I had another episode where it (PVCs or AFIB) woke me up...I noticed that I was on my left side when I woke up.  Scared the crap out of me because they were VERY continuous.  The cardiologist upped my metoprolol dosage to 75mg.  I too think that something structurally (with my body) is causing these episodes and I'm sick of my cardiologist and primary physician saying 'just dont lay on your left side' and 'lose some weight'.  Yes, I understand weight can make things worse...but I was having issues prior to gaining weight.  Has anyone heard of any procedures that can correct this crap.
Avatar universal
I have a/f and think that posture maybe linked to my condition.  I have started using the constructive rest position and it seems to help.  Lie with your back on the floor and your lower legs/calves resting on a chair, sofa or  bed.  In other words your body is describing the position it would take when sitting bolt upright in a very straight-backed chair.  I sometimes go one better, and take my calves off their resting place and bring my knees  closer to my chin.  If I am wearing loose clothing on my lower half, then I can manage to maintain my balance in a natural and relaxing way.  Crossing my ankles helps, and I try and remember to alternate one ankle over the other..  This latter position brings the small of the back even flatter against the floor.  I do without a book or cushion to rest my head on, but just do what suits you.
Avatar universal
Great topic. I am 58 years old, and  I have suffered heart palpitaions since I was 17 years old.  Because I have pectus excavatum, I have always suspected a link between the two.  In the last year or two, my palpitations have picked up considerably to the point of being daily, mostly in the evening, and even causing me pain in my sternum.  I don't make a big fuss with my doctor, as I have been through all the tests before, and I understand that measurably, my heart is healthy.  But here's the thing:  Last night, when suffering through the routine of palpitations, and clearing my throat (as if), I did something different.  I noticed that I was "tucking" my head down while using a laptop, seated on the couch.  For some reason it occurred to me to lift up my head, slightly stretching it back, and to observe whether or not it made a difference.  And wouldn't you know... It DID!!!  The palpitations disappeared!!!  So, I began to keep my head up and slightly tilted back as I sat.  This COMPLETELY eliminated the palpitations, even if viewing the laptop screen became an issue.  When I went to bed, the palpitations started up again.  Eventually, I figured out that putting a pillow under my neck, and letting my head stretch back over it while lying on my back, had the same effect..  Palpitaions gone.  This is a huge breakthrough for me.  My palpitations had gotten so bad that I had resigned myself to an early grave.  Could it be this simple?  I would be interested to know if any of you can duplicate this relief position.  If so, please post.
This is also happening to me with my head being tilted down via looking at my cellphone, reading or laptop. It's like I stop breathing for a few or slightly cut off circulation or could be breathing fine and it starts. Also if anything is on my abdominal area such as underwear, shorts...I wear nothing tight, drink alkaline water, I eat healthier and I up the dosage from 25mg to 50 meta Toprol and I'm still having these issues.... at the Publications won't stop on their own which I have been able to do at least twice pre ambulance then I feel I'm getting better if they continue to be and I can't stop it would have few calls then I am in trouble and I'm in the hospital for a few hours and then released? Do you ever go to the hospital for this? Do you ever receive an adenosine via ambulance and I was and still am overweight but I was taking weight loss pills for a few years and HCG shots they blamed it on the Phentermine which I have not taken and almost two and a half years. I am also a professional truck driver I do not drink any caffeine I do not drink any sodas I do not even drink coffee and I do not smoke. All my test results and blood work always come back clean and they can never figure out what's triggering palpations, so I will be seeing an electrophysiologist soon to try and stop them for good
This is also happening to me with my head being tilted down if looking at my cellphone, reading or laptop. Its like I stop breathing for a few or slightly cut off circulation at times I could be breathing fine and it starts. If I'm dehydrated or haven't gotten enough rest. Also if anything is on my abdominal area such as underwear or sleep shorts. I wear nothing tight, I drink alkaline water, I eat healthier and I went up from 25mg to 50mg meta Toprol and Im still having these issues. I have been able to stop them twice before calling an ambulance. Im usually  in the hospital for a few hours and then released? Do you ever go to the hospital for this? Do you ever receive an adenosine via ambulance and I am overweight, I was taking weight loss pills for a few years and HCG shots and doctors blamed it on the Phentermine which I have not taken and almost two and a half years. I am also a professional truck driver. I do not drink any caffeine, I do not drink any sodas I do not drink coffee and I do not smoke. All my test results and blood work always come back clean and they can never figure out what is triggering the palpations, so I will be seeing an electrophysiologist soon to try and stop them for good.
Avatar universal
Hey Marko, a lot of my symptoms line up with what you're describing. I have pectus excavatum (though minor) and my PVCs tend to come on when I'm looking down even if slightly (desk at work, driving in the car). They started 5 years ago when I was 35 and have only recently started ramping up.

Stress test and EKG all tested normal, Holter monitor picked up 66 PVCs over the course of a day. Doc doesn't want to treat for now, but they're still unnerving.
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