This is most likely some type of musculoskeletal strain but should not be taken lightly. It could also be the result of muscle tension from stress and/or anxiety.
On the other hand, it could also be due to what is called nerve-root compression. That is, compression of one or more of your spinal nerves as they emerge from the spinal column. This can occur as a result of trauma or without trauma. I suggest that you discuss this further with your doctor, with consideration of X-rays of the cervical portion of the vertebral column.
I think the reason the Nexium isn't working is because you don't have heartburn. Did they do a chest X-ray? Check your lung function? Anything remarkable when listening to you breathe with a stethoscope? Did anyone recommend a Pulmonologist who would likely consider asthma and order the appropriate tests? People associate asthma with coughing / wheezing / gasping for air, etc. But what you are describing could very well be a mild form of it. And yes, it will come on suddenly.
On another note - Could you have possibly pulled a muscle or something of that nature? It doesn't sound like it but might be worth considering. If not, most chest pressure/heaviness/tightness, whatver you call it, is usually caused by asthma. Have you by any chance been under alot of stress or anxiety lately?
I've been experiencing the same problems. I'm a 24 year old female and this started last Dec. I had a normal EKG, normal chest x-ray, and they checked my blood O2 level which was normal as well. The Dr. suggested heart burn or stress and kind of gave up on me. After a few weeks it went away until about 2 weeks ago. The heavyness, tightness directly under my sternum is driving me crazy! I'm also having a harder time breathing and it increases with exercise. I've been having allergy and sinus problems for a few months and my new theory is some form of Asthma. If find out anything else this could be, please let me know. I've been reluctant to return to the Dr. since the last visits didn't find anything. Thank you so much- dukekj
If you are unable to get help from your internist (or primary care physician), consider going to a lung specialist, known as a pulmonlologist, who can order simple lung function tests known as spirometries to help determine whether you have asthma and/or exercise-induced asthma. There are effective medications to help asthma.
If you do not have gastric reflux, medications such as Nexium will not help you and your continued need for them might be discussed between you and your doctor.
I'm so amazed that their are other people that have the same problem as me! I've had the exact same symptoms, uncomfortable chest pressure and not being able to take deep breaths. I'm 27 and have had this problem for 9 years. I've been to 3 doctors and no one has a clue, except that it's stress related, although I don't always feel stressed when it comes on. I have found that the more I think about it and worry about it the longer and more frequently it occures.