Re: sudden, sharp chest pains on left side
I am 26 and I too have experienced a sharp squeezing/stabbing pain on the left side just behind/under my left breast. They started when I was 15. They are always very intense, usually fleeting, and seem to happen whether I am at rest or walking about. But I never get them when I'm physically exerting myself (running/climbing etc). They happen suddenly and literally take my breath away.
I have no history of anxiety or panic attacks, so those can be ruled out. There is no radiating pain, pressure or numbness in the neck or extremities, so it is not angina or a heart attack.
I had an echo and blood work two years ago when I started having the pains more frequently, but both tests came back normal. Of course, the echo was performed when I wasn't experiencing the pains, so nothing showed up.
I would occasionally get the pains but nothing ever progressed so I did nothing. But recently I experienced this stabbing pain (exacerbated by deep breaths) for 45 minutes which was unprecedented, so I went back to the ER. Had another echo, this time while I was in pain, and chest X ray this time, and again doctors said they looked normal. My blood pressure and cholesterol are perfectly normal. Dr. also ruled out pulmonary embolism. He said hard drug use or smoking could sometimes cause these pains, but I have never touched any drugs or cigarettes in my life. All the doctors say is that the source of the pain is not cardiac and I'm not in danger.
They tend to be rather dismissive. I'm sure doctors are accustomed to seeing a lot worse, but as a patient with unpredictable pain whose causes are unknown, it is very scary to experience.
I will say I tend to experience them more frequently when I have been at my heaviest weight, but I have experienced them with the same intensity at every weight (between 120 to 170).
Some people say it might be acid reflux or gas, but I never experience the "burning sensation" people describe with heartburn, so I don't think it's that. And I doubt it's gas. I have had gas before, and never get these pains when I have gas. And performing "gassy activities" such as burping or farting does not alleviate the pain.
I have not noticed any correlation between my eating habits and these pains. The only other correlation I have noticed is that I seem to get the pains more often when I am sleep deprived, but I have also experienced them first thing in the morning after an otherwise very restful sleep.
My doctor said I should just take advil when I experience the pains. He offered no explanation for why my last episode was so prolonged. Very frustrating indeed. If I continue to experience them I may request an MRI. Not really sure what else they could do to diagnose the pains. I've seen two different doctors and they both came to the same conclusion - it's not cardiac, your vitals are normal, you're not in danger, go in peace.
I think it's possible it may be a pinched nerve, or a rib muscle spasm, maybe due to awkward sleeping positions. But a doctor has never volunteered such a diagnosis.