diagnose my chest pain

First, I am going back to my MD on Monday. Trust me, this hurts way too much to play around with.

The story is that I have had several attacks of very severe chest pain. The first time was after a fatty meal that ended with tons of chocolate and was not as severe, so I thought it was prolly heartburn, although it was the worst damn case I had ever had, not that I have had heartburn much. That was in September. I thought it was over, but I have had several more attacks, usually a few weeks apart, and usually not so closely linked with bad eating. A month ago, my MD gave me a month’s worth of Nexium to try. No problems until last night, which was my second night without the Nexium.

All hell broke loose last night. I was fine until midnight when I decided to have a snack before bed–two graham crackers with a bit of cream cheese and a half glass of skim milk. I fell asleep within 10 minutes of eating that and then woke up an hour later in pain. I got up, took 2 TumsEX, got back in bed and dozed off, but then woke up a half hour later in severe pain. I found I had one more Nexium left so I took it, but I also remembered that one time before, sleeping pills had helped, so I took 10 mg of Ambien, too. Almost exactly 20 minutes later during which I alternately sat up and paced the floor, the pain lessened and then 5 minutes later it was gone completely. This is typical of me. These pains come, are horrible, and are suddenly gone.

Here is the part that puzzles me. Although some of this fits the pattern for heartburn, other things don’t. The location of the pain fits, but I don’t understand why sleeping pills or pain pills (another time I had some leftover perscription pain pills) work so well in stopping this and especially why they work so suddenly. Also, I just feel pain–no burping, no gassy or acid-y feeling, nothing. It just doesn’t feel like the minor heartburn I have felt when I was a kid and overate. I also break out in a cold sweat when this happens. As I told my MD, if I hadn’t known better, I would have thought I was having a heart attack. In fact, one time I put on the heart monitor I use for the treadmill just to see and my heart rate was nice and steady, so I assumed that meant no heart attack. On the other hand, there are things that make me think it is heartburn–it occurs exclusively at night when I am lying down and the Nexium seems to have helped.

So what do you guys think? I am going to the MD, but I would like to educate myself first on any other possibilities. In particular, something I read last night on hiatal hernia made me think that might be the problem, but I don’t know. Any advice and suggestions you have will be appreciated.

I hope it turns out that you are well. I don’t know what this could be, but I’d certainly change the habit of eating late at night right before going to sleep. I’d also examine my whole eating regimen (or diet) & add some daily walking or other exercise. A good doc will ask you about this stuff. Good luck!

It’s the alien trying to get out. I’d keep a lot of paper towels near at hand to clean up afterward.

IANAMD, but it could be your gall bladder or an ulcer.

Let us know what your doctor says.

**IANAD (nor do I play one on tv) **

It sounds like you may be describing a problem with your gall bladder. A relative of mine described similar pains right before she had her gall bladder removed.

Here is a women’s health website that describes the symptoms and risk factors of a gallstone attack.

Here’s another link about gallstones from Yahoo Health : Linkety link

Once again, the above is not meant to replace an actual real-live licensed doctor’s diagnosis and treatment.


Any severe chest pain can be a heart attack! Even if you don’t believe it is, GO NOW!

Well, went to the doc once. They hooked me up to a EKG machine. Also did a chest Xray. After about $250, the doc told me to take some Ifobruphen (sp), which is like aspirin. That worked. I thought it was funny cause in the old days they would say to take a couple of aspirin & call me in the morning :slight_smile:

Lessee…acid reflux, hiatal hernia, heartburn, gall bladder problems, or a problem with your heart. Have you had a stress test? An EKG? The thing about it is, the time to be tested is when the pain is actually occuring. There are such things as silent heart attacks. There’s also angina pectoris, which gracefully said is latin for ‘chest pain’. Because of the symptoms and the location, one would assume that you wouldn’t want to play around. Be aggressive about getting the tests you need to make a determination on what is going on.

Thanks, everybody–even for the alien comment. :smiley:

Bosda, it is funny, but you said what I would have said, but clearly not what I did. I will call the MD tomorrow, I promise. And although it felt sort of like I think a heart attack might feel, I didn’t have any other heart-attack like symptoms, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t a heart attack.

tevya, thank you in particular for the gall bladder guess and the links. That may well be the problem–the description fits pretty well and I have some of the risk factors.

I will let you guys know what the doc says–just hope it isn’t something too embarassing to post. :slight_smile:

IANAD…but it does sound interesting but not enough information, for example do you have trouble breathing with you fits of chest pain? Do you have a history of heart problems, hypertension, diabetes? The onset after meals does sound like a cholecystis (gall stone), but the chest pain can not be ignored. Hopefully your doctor can get to the bottom of this. Also if the pain is as excrutiating as you say it is I would recommend going to the E.R. , chest pain isn’t something to wait on. Thats just my 2 cents. Good luck and good health.

I’m a nurse…so I can not actually diagnose you…but i have also experienced these type of ‘attacks’ …and i would have to say its the gall bladder! It hurst like hell…sends pain from your chest through to your back and up into your shoulder blade.

Ask them to do an ultrasound…then you’ll know for sure!

IANAD, but it sounds similar to my experience with a disorder called achalasia. What it was was that the muscle at the top of my stomach didn’t open and close right, so sometimes whatever I ate or drank would get stuck on the way down. I had surgery on it in December and I’m fine now.

I think Kurt Cobain had this. It was either this, or really nasty stomach ulcers–he was even skinnier than me and had many of the same symptoms, but he was too afraid to ever go see a doctor to have it checked out.

Or maybe it was all that heroin, who knows? :wink:

Well, I haven’t seen my MD yet, but I did talk to her. She thinks it is reflux, so I am back on Nexium for another 2 weeks. I have an appointment for April 16, so we will re-evaluate then.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

(I am so glad it wasn’t something embarassing!)

Good, then we can move on to diagnosing Cranky’s chest pain, which is much less troubling or scary.

I have sternum/rib pain. I think it could be one of two things: (1) at Christmas I fell very hard on the ice, knocking the wind out of me and compressing my ribcage sideways. I bruised my elbow and knee so badly, I didn’t have time to notice my chest until I went to bed and felt like I was getting tired from breathing. I figured it was a “wind knocked out of me” thing and wouldn’t bother seeking treatment unless it was still with me in the morning. It wasn’t. However, it’s the last major chest injury I can remember, so I bring it up again.

(2) I have a very large overweight cat who steps on me at night. I know he could be bruising my sternum.

(3) Did I say two? I meant three. After my son was born I had chest pain and my doctor diagnosed some inflammation of rib cartilage. Annoying to the patient but not medically interesting. Could it be that again, localized to the front?

It is usually fine but sometimes I’ll go to lift something, feel something “give,” and then have pain for a couple of days. It’s not worth going to the doctor for because it doesn’t last that long (and would likely be gone by the time I got an appointment if I called when it was hurting). But while we’re all talking about chest pain, have a go at me.

Me too please.

Yesterday evening I had intense intermittent pain in my chest directly above the breast and slightly below my shoulder. I also had pain in my back, underarm and slight pain in my left arm.It wasn’t debilitating pain.
I hadn’t done any stressful activities nor suffered from any injuries. I’ve had the underarm pain before and asked my dr about it because I was concerned about a possible infection in my lymph nodes, but that wasn’t the case.

The pain lasted pretty much all night, I took two aspirin that didn’t ease the pain. But it was gone this morning.

Any ideas?

I’d say you are in the early stages of ultranamonticulosal ulnayupnapulio.

Having seen your cat, he gets my vote.

He’s fricking huge!

Hope this gets better, Cranky!