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Avatar universal

Heart Cramps

I have been getting these types of pains for as long as I can remember- since I was a little girl. My brother and sister also suffer from the same type of pains, but we describe the sharp pain as if something is blocking our heart valve and then you have to wait until it passes through. It only lasts a second or two, and I find that holding the lower rib where the pain is occuring and pushing down while breathing alleviates the pain and keeps it from coming back. I also use this technique whenever I sense that one may occur. I also favor sleeping on my right side as sometimes sleeping on my left side causes my heart to ache and I fear that it might bring on a pain.

Im curious- does anyone feel this type of pain- as if a valve is being blocked for a second as opposed to the 'bubble/pop'? No one has described it like this yet, but it definitely feels like a cramp.

I do not get them as often as I did when I was younger. I get them every once in a while when I am very tired and drink too much caffeine. I had them more frequently in college as this is when the lack of sleep, caffeine overload, and chain-smoking 'cramming' sessions usually occurred. I have them about less than 10 times a year now.

My older brother went to the doctor for it and he was told that it was just a calcium deposit working its way through the heart and that it wasn't much to worry about. I also went to the doctor when I was in high school for this and I was told that it was just because I was skinny and athletic and that most young, thin teens get this. I do not accept either explanation but the PCS explanation above seemed to be the most likely answer for my pains. It just makes more sense that it is just a pinched nerve.

I have been living with this fear of heart disease/ cardiovascular disorder for a long time now and its so relieving to have a thread like this give an explanation that is not life threatening. Thanks to all of you for contributing.

This discussion is related to heart cramp.
11 Responses
Avatar universal
I googled "heart gets random sharp pain when inhaling" and thank goodness this website showed up...

It sounds like a lot of you guys have some of the same symtoms as me and I think I've come to the conclusion that I have PCS. I don't even think about the pains until they all of a sudden, out of nowhere just happen then it doesn't happen for another maybe couple months I can't even remember because they are so spread apart...

As for the above poster, I'm 17 years old and I've been having PCS sypmtoms for the past couple years but only a few times a year. I've had the pain and I tried to breath in deeply hoping it would go away but it hurt so much I just did the shallow breath thing till it went away after a minute or so maybe even less than a minute like they usually do.

I haven't experienced the 'bubble pop' that some people say happens but I can relate to your feeling that a heart valve or something is blocked but then again I don't think it actually is so I cannot tell... but mentally I natrually think that something is blocked. And again I'm only 17 so don't take only my word but you said it bothers you enough to have to sleep on one side... every time I have a sharp pain for most likely less than a minute (for me it feels like a sharp pain on the bottom side of the heart...) it always goes away completely back to normal instantly. If your heart or something is hurting long enough to have to sleep on one side.. I'd get that checked out.

Well not sure what else to say other than I'm glad I found this site and I'm glad there's other people having the same symptoms/worries as me... I've only seen one of my friends have to stop running for about a minute because he couldnt breath in deep because of the sharp pain but it went away within a minute and he was back to normal....
Avatar universal
For many years now since my teen years, I have this heart cramp, often on and off, never knowing when it was going to occur.  Well, I usually get through it pretty quickly when it occurs by laying on the opposite side.  More often, it occurs around my heart, but it has also occur on my right side as well. When my heart cramps up, I have to take little breaths, but I found out a little trick.  Once I start to cramp, I slowly lay down on the opposite side and could start breathing normal again.  It feels wierd because it seems like something is blocking a valve and needs to slip or fall down. Sometimes I think it's like blood getting caught in my valves, which is a scary thought, but I never found an answer to what is really causing this, only a way to get around it.  Anyhow, I hope that this can help some of you.  I tend to do more research on this one.  Yesterday was really bad because this heart cramp occurred like 7 or 8 times throughout the day.  I seriously think that something is wrong though some research say that it's ok. Oh, to add to this, I'm very healthy, I don't drink or smoke and I am only 24, so I think that this isn't normal at all.  
Avatar universal
Thanks Foodz for posting this question. I believe it's PCS, Precordial Catch Syndrom. There's a related topic on another site, but I'm not sure if TOS permits forwarding links. In a nutshell, the symptoms of PCS are:

* Extreme sharp pain that causes a person to not want to move or breathe.
* Any movement or breathing intensifies pain.
* Pain lasts for around 30 seconds to 1 minute before disappearing.
* Pain disappears when taking a strong breath or moving suddenly
* After pain is gone, there usually is a dull ache that lingers.
* Pain as such may be experienced in childhood or teens.
* Pain tends to be on left side above heard.
* Onsets of pain may occur frequently, sometimes several times a day
* Pain may occur when exercising or resting

Doctors have can't link PCS with any certain triggers like exercise
but believe things like heavy or irregular breathing or posture could play
a role in stimulating a PCS attack.

For me,  I began getting these attacks while a child and teenager.
They would be triggered during jogs and running exercises.
it felt like there was  a bubble under my rib or that my lung was
glued to my ribcage on the left side.

The only thing to do was bite the bullet and quickly make a fast inhalation.
I dreaded that because it would be terrible sharp pain like a stabbing knife,
but after many episodes of these attacks, I've come to know the only
remedy is to breath deep and  fast --  just get it  over with. As soon as
I did, the relief was instant.

There have been times when I've extended the adhesion attack episode
for 30 minutes to an hour  because  I just didn't want  to face that fast breath.

I'm in my 40s now and still have these attacks. One was so severe last
year that because of my age, my doctor sent me to the emergency hospital
for cardiac  arrest testing. Now I am certain that what it all ever has been
is this Precordial Catch Syndrom.

Apparently doctors don't know what causes it, but in studying the nerves
involved which are along the neck and spine down to the Cauda Equina,
and knowing I have degenerative vertebrate loss in my LS area... I'm
hunching that since I get sciatica because of this pinched  nerve business,
maybe it has something to do with my uneven leg lengths... one leg is
slightly longer than the other by a half inch. My podiatrist has recommended
sole inserts. You can tell if you have uneven leg lengths by the wear on
your shoes' soles. One shoe is always more worn on the instep side...

since my attacks  would happen when running, maybe the attacks were
brought on by how my uneven leg length would pinch a PCS  nerve.

I'm kind of excited now because I feel I've made a discovery and i'm not
even a doctor... but maybe it all has to do with leg length? Wouldn't
that be an amazing leap?
Avatar universal
Hi there.  I have suffered from these kinds of pains since I was a child.  I have also suffered from anxiety for just as long.  I was wondering if there was anyone else who also suffered from these pains and from anxiety?  While getting treatment for my anxiety my doctor showed me a breathing technique that helps relax your body and mind.  You need to ensure that your stomach rises when you breath in and lowers when you breath out.  Many people with anxiety tend to clench their stomach muscles when breathing in restricting airflow and therefore oxygen, which leads to feelings of anxiety.  Anyway, what I'm getting to is that I have a feeling that this breathing technique lessens the frequency of these sharp pain attacks.  I have also found that the breathing technique has helped to alleviate other pains I've had in my back, rib cage and should blades. I have a feeling that the pain is related to bad breathing techniques and posture. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has found this useful.
Avatar universal
I have also suffered from this incredibly painful, sharp stabbing on and off for many years. Unfortunately, I have two spots where this occurs, there is the main one that occurs in the lower left breast. It comes on suddenly, sometimes when I make a sharp movement or even laugh to hard (how depressing is that). The other sharp stabbing pain that worsens when taking a breath occurs in the direct center of my chest - right where the rib cages end. Oddly enough I realized that this type pain occurred both times I had a colonoscopy performed. I'm wondering whether these are part of the same syndrome, whether the colonoscopy irritated something internally...b ut mostly I'm wondering if anyone found a cure other than sucking it up and taking that deep breath. This is so debilitating, it stops you from functioning and, when it starts happening frequently, as it is right now in my life, I find myself just waiting for "the other shoe to drop."
Avatar universal
hi i am 24 years of age and i have had heart surgury when i was 13 and it was a simple procedure 4 hours and i havent had any problems since then about 1 month ago i have been fealing like my heart was going to stop or somthing this fealing of stress/somthing passing through my heart when i take a deep breath now i feal a pain under my left rib close to my sternem and i still feal like somnthing is passing slowly through my heart i went to the emergency room as well as some of u and they told me it was a panic attack i am like no way i wasnt panicing until i couldn't breath my left lung couldn't exspand it felt like and when i laugh hard my heart gets a sharp pain for a sec till i stop laughing but i notice it is when i laugh with not alot of air in lungs, it is suddin stop laugh cuz of the pain and i was worried not good somtimes it feals like my body is uneven and my right leg feals out of socket a little or something so it does seem longer and i am going to go to the cyropracter next and i am hoping that he could fick my leg because i thought i might be having a hernia, at first my right ball hurt when i took a right step i thinnk my leg is not lined up right or something, so i was going to get that checked . they say i am getting healthy amount of oxygen to my body but yet i still find it hard to breath i thing my leg might be making my body crooked and efacting me that way i hope but i also have ribs that look broken kinda looks like my ribs are pushing on my insides maybe my ribs are to far in cuz when i was younger i had been fealing sharp pain in my sternem wrestling with my brother he told me i was a ***** and to suck it up so i did now they look broken and stickin out on the left side only maybe they all are playing a part i feal like i am getting old or dying any suggestions pls... i am tierd or this pain in my heart and rib cage my doc said panic attack?! i dont believe so i was having trouble breathing before i went to the er worried as hell. i dont trust my docters here a women died she had a blood clot and the same doc told her she was having panic attacks and was depresed. she was clearly over weight to and they mistakin a hernia for a hip out of place pls help?
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