Primary Root Symptom: morning onset of non-sharp, dull, vague, uncomfortable, achey, centered chest tightness. I feel it around below sternum as well. Short of breath,
airways feel tighter, breathing is more labored. I am more winded with everyday activities, and cardio and exercise are a lot more tougher to peform with
the constricted airways.
30 years old, single male
Parents are healthy, with no coronary disease/high blood pressure
before chest tightnesss 170lbs. currently 149lbs (loss 20 lbs in a month)
do not smoke
drink on occasion once every 2-3 weeks before chest tightness. Do not currently drink alcohol.
don't drink caffeine.
blood pressure was normal before chest tightness - its currently 10-15pts higher ie: 130/88
exercising, and running does not bring sharp pains to the chest, but it makes blood pressure go
up and brings upon shortness of breath due to tightness.
i can do aerobic exercise, but its uncomfortable due to tightness, and i dont
have the same strength as i did before the chest tightness.
sometimes would take naps 2-3 hrs after eating a meal, wake up and start using the computer late at night, and then go back to bed (before chest tightness)
Very minimal and rare heartburn, reflux...once every few weeks depending on diet.. after eating chocolate, fried foods etc, foods high in oil/fat content.
i dont burp, regurgitate food, or have pain in the throat. no constipation or loose stools are rare (only if i eat bad mexican food, bad fast food)
Post-tight chest Symptoms (brought on by tight chest, also made worse by some medications ie: atenolol, prilosec)
- night time palpitations
- body aches (shoulder, neck, below left pectoralis)
- hip pain
- head ache/pressure on side of head
- cold feet legs
- increased high blood pressure off and on.
- constant urination.
- heavy palpitation at night..body pulsates to heart beat.
- waking up many times at night to racing palpitation. 3:30, 4:30am, 5:30am
- muscle spasm
- short of breath, feel like im not getting enough oxygen
- heavy head
- head ache
- tight jaw
- tender scalp
- tight calves
- dizzy head
- cold body
- loss of extra weight
- hard to gain weight
- persistent muscle tension
- legs take longer to heal after working out
- left side chest pain from heart beating to hard from tightness.
- working out increases soreness in the heart area due to excessive beating/ high heart rate.
- get winded easily from everyday activies ie: exercise, jogging.
Previous Medical History-
- nasal congestion
- scoliotic neck, with convexity leftward centered about c4-5
- dessicated disk c5-6, with mild annular prminence with only minimal flattening of the csf. some mild left neural foraminal
- weakness in left arm from neck pain
- neck pain, has been off and on, but usually not to severe unless i play basketball, or exercise stenously, or aggravte it by turning my
neck to much..ie: looking behind shoulder while driving.
tests i took:
bloodwork - fine
EKGx3 - fine
Chest Xray - fine
Stress Test - fine, no irregular heartbeats, but fast ones.
im male, 30, 5-6, and 150lbs. i was pretty active(played basketball, and run, lift weights), and healthy guy before this onset, occasionally i would eat a lot, but i would balance my diet. i did have a habit of taking a nap before my actual real sleep at night. and have a habit of eating dinners late, around 8:30 or 9:00pm
Long story short, few months ago 12-15-11 I woke up one morning with some tight heavy discomfort in my chest area. I tried to see if it would go away if I did some running, but it was made worse.
Later on in the evening I went to the ER to get checked out as I was out of breath. While in the ER, they did ekg, bloodwork, blood pressure, and the chest xray came out fine.
they gave me ativan and diagnosed me with anxiety, the anxiety was there, i dont believe the chest tightness was caused by anxiety though. it felt like tightness brought on by something else. im not sure how i got the tightness of the chest, maybe from straining the internal chest muscles somehow/or over breathing or maybe reflux hitting the lower esophagus tightening the airways that happened in my sleep or when i was in bed.
so weeks later the symptoms did not improve so i went to the doc and he told me to try prilosec. I tried the OTC Omeprazole for a few weeks and had noticed some side-effects. i also did not see improvement)and stopped after two weeks. So lately i have been eating lite, and cutting out the heartburn/reflux inducing foods..so i dont get reflux much and have been eating healthy losing 20lbs. but my chest tightness was still there.
Before taking the prilosec i was slowly developing inability to sleep and started getting heavy night time palps. i experience rapid fast heart palpitations when i wake up at night to use the restroom. this palps would continue on into the morning.
fast forward, i go back to the doctor again few weeks ago feeling like my heart was going to pop he says i have high blood pressure based on the in-office blood pressure 150/100 (very anxious in the office) he did blood work, and he checked my thyroid and it was fine.
so he prescribes me atenolol. i tried it off and on to see how my body reacts to it, it helped to slow my heart rate but the side effects made me
feel terrible. I took the atenolol at night at 10pm and felt my heart rate slow down, but i can still feel my heart thumping, and stomach growling,
it makes my sleep pattern even worse. i feel worse the next day.
giving me these symptoms - groggy, muscle weakness, ringing in the ear, some joint pain, depression, fatigue, lethargy, made my chest heavy, gave me shortness of breath. after a week of using it, i have decided to quit cold turkey. So the Atenolol did not help relieve my chest tightness.
I have found a few ways to control my blood pressure, i have been eating healthy, ie: wholegrains, veggies, nuts, fruits, apple cider vinegar, taking fish oils, magnesium, drinking tea. I got it to drop down a bit, 120/85 at night. they would calm down a bit, however tightness is still there around the chest areas.
I already took some tests to help me to believe that it is not my heart, and in my mind i feel like it can be something brought on by possibly reflux or something physically inside/or heart. I still don't know for sure it's cornary related, mvp, GERD, asthma, chest infection/strain, stress, coupled with anxiety.
And im sure all the other symptoms i am experiencing afterwards are a result of my anxiety making things worse. So it's my goal to get to the root cause, so I dont have to keep worrying. At this point im trying to be comfortable with my symptom and learn to handle and relieve them.
I hope that someone has experienced the same thing so i can find a way to recover. What other tests can I do to help figure out what this is? anyone have any ideas? has anyone experienced this? im trying to find ways to relieve the chest tightness, it doesn't seem to be getting any better, and nothing relieves it, ativan (slightly), not atenolol, not prilosec.
if anyone can help with this, it would be greatly appreciated.
thanks for taking the time to read this long post. imm just trying to be detailed as possible.
I wanted to let you know you are not alone. I have had similar problems that have been going on for about 5 months and are getting progressively worse. I am a usually very healthy 44 year old woman. I had tightness in chest right under the breast bone and was burping and sweating. My doctor made me go to er and they ran a bunch of tests for the heart and they came back fine. So one doctor said see your own doctor it is probably gerd. Another doctor wanted to give my BP medicine. My doctor said my BP was usually fine, so we would just watch it. Without running any tests they gave me omperazole for Gerd. It seems like I started having more Gerd problems and had side effects from it like losing my hair! The chest pain would happen when I was doing things, stairs, activities but not all the time. I have been to cardiologist who thinks I am crazy, and my own doctor said gerd or anxiety, and that I should take an antidepressant. i have an appt with gastro specialist, but really gerd when i am doing things? I don't have much hope. I am now getting episodes daily with chest feeling, and neck tightness, sometimes my left arm. It sound cardiac to me, but all the doctors don't seem to think so. I am going to continue to go to doctors until someone takes me seriously, or I end up in ER. By the way I went to ER a month ago, and they said I hadn't had a heart attack and didn't have cancer and that was all they could check. They said I definitely have something wrong, but they only deal with immediate life threatening conditions. Thanks. Every doctor makes you wait for an appt, wait for tests and wait for results! I am sorry I am complaining. I guess I just wanted to let you know you are not alone, and to keep going to the doctor, even if they think it's all in your mind. Some symptoms may be anxiety, but hey when you aren't feeling good and no one is helping you YOU FEEL ANXIOUS..
Let us know how things are.
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to stressedtomax For This Useful Post: bay7000 (02-23-2012), djc4294 (09-22-2012)
thanks for your reply. yea, i have been feeling the tightness and dull aches constantly. my doctor doesnt like ordering up tests either, he just likes to hand out the meds. but my last visit i got him to refer me to some gastro specialist, and cardiologist. the cardiologist didnt help much, just said the stress and ekg were fine... and i have yet to see the gastro specialist for some testing on possible gerd or what not.
right now, ive been paying attention to my symptoms and seeing if they improve with my lifestyle changes. since there is no concrete diagnosis, i just have to treat my symptoms as if i have both anxiety, and gerd. until i get more tests done, my doctor says its either anxiety or gerd. but since i woke up with the chest tightness, my mind tells me its something that is physical. i have done tests to help me believe that is not heart-related, but my symptoms arent making my heart feel normal.
have you tried lifestyle changes? are there any medications/supplements that have helped? did you stop taking omeprazole?
i have been researching a lot on the web on natural remedies and such, since i hate medications and the side effects. i didnt like how my body was reacting to the omeprazole so i stopped taking it. just made things worse.
my doctor told me that the more you panic, the more things will tighten up..so number 1 thing is to relax. anxiousness will tighten up all the muscles and airways. well, even though im relaxed i still feel the dull chest tightness...
i need to get some gerd testing done. but have been stressed lately
because i dont have insurance that will cover the cost, and im job hunting, and on top of that the symptoms that make me more tired/ stressed. i hope to get through this and hope that i can recover.
let me know how the testing goes. i hope you feel better.. all the best.
I have an appt with the gastro specialist tomorrow. Everyone thinks he will find reflux and a hernia. I am not so sure. The sensation can happen after eating and I am having lots of burping and indigestion, but the scary times are when I am doing something and I have this tightness under the breastbone and in my neck, it feels like someone is pulling everything really tight. Afterwards my heart rate goes sky high. I stopped the omprerazole too. It make me feel terrible and I lost hair when I was on it. Tried another- pantaprozole it gave me headaches and lost hair on it; although it helped some of the indigestion symptoms. I have been researching supplements but I haven't taken much yet. I am waiting until I see the gastro, also I have one more test coming back from the cardiologist. After that I am thinking of taking magneisum (spelling?). I researched that and if you are deficient you can have a lot of different symptoms, some of them are chest pain, digestion problems, aches and pains, leg cramps etc. Also unless you have kidney problems, too much of it will just leave your body as waste. I also took some probotics for a while and some fish oil.
My general doctor, thinks stress and anxiety have caused it all, and the fact that I lost so much weight I was in a dangerous zone- 100 lbs and I'm 5'7"). So far I have gained back some of it, by forcing myself to eat even when I feel bad.
7 years ago, I had anxiety and panic attacks, and I did not feel like this. It was suggested I take ativan when I feel bad, I have done that but it doesn't help the symptoms, just makes me less anxious. I tried Celexa for 4 days and my husband and I agreed it was not for me, I couldn't sleep, yet couldn't get out of bed and couldn't eat. Ended up in ER. I am looking into seeing a therapist, even if this is physical, it can't hurt to have someone to talk too. I am somewhat lucky my insurance covers a lot of this. I have had several hundred dollars out of pocket. I will let you know what I find out tomorrow. I will never take for granted being healthy and just being able to have a normal day. I have a young daughter and she said mom you never do anything with me anymore. I am the kind of person going none stop until bedtime, so this sucks!
I've been to the ER three times in the past 4 months. Severe chest pain right behind my sternum and sometimes a littel lower, feeling exhausted afterward (like I just had a good workout) and just generally feeling like crap most of the time. My GERD diagnosis from 5+ years ago started because of this pain, but VERY infrequently. Now it's almost daily.
After an upper endoscopy two days ago I felt fine until a few hours later...when I took a trip to the ER with chest pain that had me on the verge of tears.
After ruling out a heart attack for the umpteenth time I was told it was most likely esophageal spasms and my gastro doc would have to test for that. In the meantime they gave me nitro pills which they say will help with the attacks (spasms) when they get too bad. It was suggested that if it is definitively decided to be spasms they might treat it with botox injections in my esophagus (yikes)
The pain can be REALLY scary...hence all of the ER visits...but I have found a few tricks that help ease them:
A heating pad on my chest seems to ease the pains.
Warm (NOT hot) liquids like soup or tea
Oddly enough, Vicks vapor rub on my chest (found this by accident when I had a chest cold at the same time)
If anyone else has suggestions on ways to ease the pains, I'd love to hear them.
Does your pain seem to come in any pattern? Do you get tightness in chest or elsewhere. I almost went to ER again today. But my parents live near by and my dad came over and sat with me for a couple hours. The pain has subsided and I am hoping I can hold off until tomorrows appt. The ER will just say you have not had a heart attack see your doctor. Why can't they just run the tests when you are there? My parents at least made me feel better, they let me know they know it is something physical and not just anxiety. I was feeling as if everyone thought I was nuts
I've never noticed a pattern as to the cause, but I do know the more I concentrate on it, the worse it seems to get. My best trick to calm myself and ease the pain is sit down with a heating pad on my chest and read a book to try and ignore it. Sitting up nice and straight seems to help for some reason. I know that seems contrary to what you want to do...it feels more natural to double over and cradle the center of your chest, but I have found it helps.
ER's won't do all the tests...it's not their thing. Seems to me they are there to address the acute symptoms you are having. The underlying chronic condition can take weeks (or months, or longer) and dozens of tests to diagnose conclusively.
Saw the gastro specialist today. Gave me a prescription for lansoprazole and their office will call on Monday to schedule a scope. He said acid reflux could cause some of these symptoms. When I asked about a hernia, he just said the scope will hopefully tell us whats going on. He was not very forth coming, I found out later I was his last appt of the day, he was leaving for the weekend. I also called the cardio office, about the holter results. The doctor was not in and had not reviewed them, but his nurse told me she didn't see anything serious. She said there were some PVS's and PAC's, but didn't think they were any big deal? So I guess I wait some more.
The following user gives a hug of support to stressedtomax: adventure (02-24-2012)
Yes. But I just had another episode like 25 minutes ago. I was kneeling on my daughters floor folding some of her clothes strewn around ant that tightness happened again. It was in my chest my back and my leg. It was intense I got up and changed position. It stopped the intensity, but i am still feel throbbing and burning in my chest some and my back and shoulder. My face even feels tight. I refuse to take my bp I am sure it is super high. What the heck could this be? I have noticed when I bend or go on my knees this is occurring. I am starting to think I am going to have one episode and end up dead.
Stressedtomax. You're going to be ok. Take a deep breath. I don't think what you have is fatal and I definitely think you are making your symptoms worse with the stress. I have GERD and a hiatel hernia and only a few of your symptoms sound like it. Have you ever had any rheumatological blood work done? You may want to do this. A lot of your symptoms sound auto-immune. I get chest, neck and shoulder pain and tightness. I have an auto immune disease that causes it. Are you fatigued? BTW I thought magnesium could be the cause of my problems at first, too. I took it and nothing changed.
Bay7000 Have you ever been tested for asthma?
Last edited by icecreamlady; 02-24-2012 at 03:43 PM.
Reason: wanted to add message to original poster
I am not tired during the day, but if I have one of these episodes I am usually extremely tired in the early evening. I know I am making it worse by panicking, but its seems to be getting worse and no one has any answers. My general doctor has done nothing, I think she has written me off, and I am in search of another. I have never had any blood work done, except in the ER for heart and for my thyroid, which I take medicine for and I just had checked. What type of auto immune disease do you have? Does it happen with certain activities? Thanks for responding, when this happens I feel so helpless and scared. After it passes, I try to remember that each time it happens I end up okay. But what if the next time it doesn't? I just want my health and life back. God, I sound so dramatic, but it is consuming my life
I have RA and sjogrens. My symptoms in the beginning were a lot like what you're experiencing now. I was do to my immune system being over-reactive. I used to get stressed, like you, get the panic attacks and think that it was heart related. Then my GERD would get really bad. When I get the chest pain, usually there is some sort of movement involved and I always have left arm pain with it. It think it may be something to do with my neck. Then extreme fatigue set in where I couldn't even walk a few feet without being out of breathe. I had to stop exercising because my muscles took way too long to recover afterwards. Have your GP run some auto-immune blood work.