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Old 05-14-2019, 08:04 AM
Busy Scissors is offline
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Experiences with chest pains, but not heart related?

Having some problems with my chest atm, and wanted to get other peoples' experiences. Started last winter when I was cyclocross racing, getting a dull ache over my left chest, into my upper arm. This was a bit stressful, as a cyclocross race is a savage 45min effort, so I thought it was some sort of cardiac event at first and my time had come. Medical tests suggest that it isn't, including an exercise ECG - it went away of its own accord after about a month, and the cardiologist was pretty chilled about it all.

It's now back and I swear 99% of the discomfort is mental as it seems localised right over my heart, but the pain is very mild and very constant - I can go out and race bikes no problem, in fact I did a timetrial last night and that was the one time all day I didn't really feel my chest. It sounds like it might be costochrondritis, or something related, anyone experienced that? A lot of reports say that can be a really sharp pain though that can prevent you from exercising.

Generally in good shape although overweight, sort of fat and fit, which can bring its own risks I guess.
Old 05-14-2019, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Busy Scissors View Post
...a dull ache over my left chest, into my upper arm. ...99% of the discomfort is mental as it seems localised right over my heart, but the pain is very mild and very constant...
I'm no cardiologist, but I've had a serious case of pericarditis, which I like to describe as "the word's slowest heart attack". It literally took 2 months from onset of symptoms to ending up in the ER (and collapsing because my blood had so little oxygen in it I passed out in the ER).

It's inflammation of the lining around the heart and subsequent fluid buildup, which puts pressure on the heart. My early symptoms were as you describe, chest pain radiating to the shoulder and jaw, but it would come and go and was not made worse by exercise. It went undiagnosed for 2 months because the only reliable way to confirm it is to do an ultrasound to detect the fluid buildup.

Has your cardiologist ruled this out?
Old 05-14-2019, 11:44 AM
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I used to get a pain in my chest, for which I've had two stress tests. My official diagnosis is now idiopathic angina pectoris, which I have learned is doctor speak for "chest pain we can't explain."

(FWIW, I have never worried about it much because the pain, and yes I told my doctor this, does not feel deep in my chest, but much more like it is on my chest. It literally feels the same way a knuckle that you habitually crack feels when it "needs" cracking, and right at my sternum where the ribs join.)

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 05-14-2019 at 11:45 AM.
Old 05-14-2019, 12:04 PM
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I was having periodic too frequent pains in my chest below and to the left of my heart. Mostly sudden twinges of pain. I think it started off as real but then I became hyper aware of everything going on and there might of been some psychosomatic issues too. All my cardiac tests came back clean. Which was good because when I had my stroke they could rule out cardiac issues right away.
Old 05-14-2019, 12:05 PM
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...And also moved to IMHO
Old 05-14-2019, 12:13 PM
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I’d like to point out that it’s possible to have passed all the non-invasive heart tests (EKG, Ultrasound, Stress test, etc.) and still have heart disease.
I complained about vague symptoms for a decade until they got to the point where the problem was obvious. Then - double bypass.
Old 05-14-2019, 12:14 PM
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I was heading home on the commuter train one day and suddenly had what felt for all the world like a muscle cramp in the center of my chest. Other than that, I felt okay -- not light headed, or weak, or sweaty, or anything. I went to the pharmacy on the way home to pick up my omeprazole, and asked my pharmacist what he thought. He said I should go to the hospital. "It doesn't sound like a heart attack, but heart attack symptoms in women can be subtle, you should get it checked out."

So I called 911 (didn't want to drive on big roads, if it WAS a heart attack, I didn't want to take anyone else with me), ran upstairs to change into comfy clothes and grab a book, and back down to wait for the ambulance. They gave me some nitroglycerin, and took me to the hospital, where they did a bunch of tests, and said, "your heart looks fine, we have no idea." By the time I got there, the pain was gone, of course.

I called my father to give me a ride home. He asked, "was the paid right here?", pointing to his chest, below the breasts but above the belly button". "Yes", I said, exactly there. "You had esophageal spasms".


Yes, it was a muscle cramp. And yeah, there are other muscles in the chest.
Old 05-14-2019, 12:17 PM
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KneadtoKnow, "idiopathic angina pectoris" is what the emergency room dubbed my pain, too. (although they wanted me to spend the night "for observation" and have a bunch of other tests.)

I left and went out dancing. I did have some of those other tests a few weeks later, just to be safe.

But I have accepted my dad's diagnosis. He was a pretty good doctor, as well as suffering from the same problem himself, and being familiar with it.
Old 05-14-2019, 03:34 PM
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Years ago my roommate at the time was having chest pain that would come and go every few days. I don't know the exact diagnosis because I wasn't there, but after all the tests my roommate told me "Doc said I wasn't shitting right". He was put on daily Metamucil and his problem went away.
I never would have made the connection between those two.
Old 05-14-2019, 03:45 PM
Quimby is offline
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About 8 years ago I found I was having a huge amount of pain in my chest. I was sure it was a heart attack (I was young for one but really overweight). I went to the ER who made sure I wasn't dying and they referred me to a cardiologist who did all kinds of tests. The end result was that it was not my heart but rather muscle pain on the muscles in the chest area. A few days before I had helped someone move a dresser and they think that may have triggered it. My heart was healthy. A few years later the same thing and again my heart was okay (this time they did less tests but were sure it wasn't my heart). So I guess what I am saying is you should see a doctor but it may not be the worst.
Old 05-14-2019, 04:59 PM
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I was going to suggest costochondritis until I saw that you had already referenced it in your OP. I experience it periodically. Most of the time it's mild and doesn't interfere with activities; every once in a while it's a sharper, more annoying pain, but it always feels like it's superficial and not an actual heart attack.

Apparently costochondritis can be set off by strenuous exercise, which would fit with your experience.

It's always a good idea to see a doctor if you're experiencing what might be a heart attack; because I have had costochondritis, I always wonder if I'll know if I do have true cardiac pain, or if I'll just brush it off until it's too late.
Old 05-14-2019, 09:03 PM
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Could be indigestion aka heartburn. I experience this as a cramping/pressure under the sternum, comes in waves when it's present. It's part of a whole wonderful constellation of indigestion symptoms.
Old 05-14-2019, 09:11 PM
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A couple years ago I got a bike and tried riding it around my very hilly neighborhood for a first ride. I was gasping like a fish out of water, and the next day my chest hurt like crazy. I went to the doctor. Turns out that some flesh lining of my lung cavity was inflamed or torn or something from all my gasping. A Tylenol/Advil combo made the pain go away.
Old 05-14-2019, 09:14 PM
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I suffer from (very) occasional heartburn, but it presents weird: like a sharp stabbing pain in the front of my stomach/lower esophagus.

I told the doctor that and he made me go to the hospital. I learned there that a heart attack feels like a crushing sensation.

These days I just use Tums on occasion. The acid-reducing medicine didn't really do anything.


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