Some history. Back in March, I headed to the ER with a cramping, vice-like pain that started in the middle of my chest and spread to both arms...all the way down the forearm. They admitted me, monitered me, did an echocardiogram and nuclear stress test. All the tests were fine...and I was discharged with a healthy heart!
Fast forward to the middle of April, the same pain/episode "hit" again....this time starting in the arms and spreading to the chest and shoulder blade area. I can only describe it as a charley horse, cramping pain...like nothing I ever experienced. I took an Oxycodone I had left from a surgery I had 2 years ago....and it didn't help at all. Six hours later, out of desperation, I took an 800 mg. Motrin...and it helped! That told me it was inflammation.
When this pain hit, it's almost as though I wanted to "stretch" backward....to alleviate the cramping. Too, it felt good to hold warm compresses to my chest, arms and shoulder blade area. I noticed that cold air (AC) would aggravate it.
After reading about Costochondritis, I feel that's what I may have experienced (no episodes now in weeks).....but it did not hurt to take a deep breath?
Since then, I've had a gall bladder scan and cervical spine x-rays....all okay.
Any input would be greatly appreciated....as none of the docs I've seen seem to have a clue and none mentioned that it could possibly be Costochondritis.
Thanks for reading,
The Following User Says Thank You to libloom For This Useful Post: Sammy617 (01-06-2011)
i have costo and it does not hurt to take a deep breath for me either. i did quit wearing a bra years ago and that helped the most. no tight cloths and the heating pad help me when it happens. i have not had it flare up for a bit. at first it was often but over the years seems to have eased up. little blessings!
ps. i am aware when i have to go off my med for arthritis that it does flare up.
Last edited by bluelakelady; 06-20-2010 at 10:02 AM.
Reason: add post script
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it.
What's your pain like when it happens? I have a hard time describing it to the 3 different docs I've seen....and they just look at me like it's all in my head! I am no stranger to pain...having had 2 total hip replacements and a colon re-section for Diverticulitis...but this pain was intense and scary (because of the location).
Is your's a cramping, charley horse type pain? Does it spread to the arms and shoulders? I am at a loss here trying to figure this all out.
it feels like my upper body is in a vice and being squeezed from the inside out and from the outside in. it does not radiate out from my sternum/rib cage to my arms but does affect my shoulders because when it happens i use lousy posture. hunching into the pain is a no, no. figured that out fast. tho it hurts i do stretches. i stand i a door way and put my arms on each side and lean into the opening stretching the tissue that has contracted from the inflamation and pain. warning, it hurts. tho i think it helps me. do you wear a bra? they really do make this hurt worse. if you can go without one during a costo flare do it. loose soft cloths.
no stranger to pain. love that line. yea, after those surgeries you are a pro.
My costo when it raises its head is like a stabbing pain - it was so severe I thought I was having a heart attack and went to our accident and emergency hospital - I too find stretching really helps and I alternate with heat and ice and take anti inflammatories - when it's really really bad only ice helps which is bizarre as the rest of the time I cannot tolerate anything cold! Good luck
smart woman. hate bras too. i was pretty freaked out the first few times it happened, but we had a member then, goldenwings, who set my mind at rest. when i spoke to my doctor she said i had costo just like goldie said.
the heat and stretching (and ice if you can handle it) like sweetlife said does help. you listen to your body and stretch as often as you feel like it. hope it passes soon. i think the longest i had it act up was 3 weeks. now it's a couple of days or so. i find my massages help reduce the inflamation. it hurts so good.
I know allllll about this I have had this exact symptoms and I actually went to the ER because I was almost positive I was having a heart issue..I was soo scared..it all actually started with sudden heart palps just a hard pounding heart for no reason and then small pain in shoulders and chest and arms I was light headed and try to drink water and relax because I was suffering a panic attack which I get sometimes but usually they are provoked not totally random..but after this huge panic attack I had terrible pain through out my entire chest and taking deep breath didn't hurt but actually felt good as if they were stretching the tight muscles..docs said it was costo and I took NSAIDs and the "hardcore" pain went away..but I still get the cramping pain like you mentioned almost like a tight/ squeez around the sternum area ..do you get any wierd heart beats or the feeling like your heart skips a beat? By the way I'm a 23 yo male had an EKG blood test and chest x Ray and my blood pressure was never high even when the ambulance picked me up...
I am 36 yr old female, and the first time i experienced this i was 19. Went to ER...same symptoms as everyone here. Thought i was having a heart attack. Was given pain meds, muscle relaxers and anti inflammatories. Fast forward to when i was about 27. Same pain, so this time i chose a chiro. Took anti inflammatories and pain meds and it went away. I did this i bet 3 or 4 times over the next couple of years. At about 30, i did the same, but this time it didn't go away. I went to my general doc and he listened to my chest and discovered i had pleurisy. For anyone who doesn't know what that is....the lining of my lungs where inflammed and this pain hurts constantly. No relief at all. Normally with Costo you get some relief from non movement. No position made me comfy. I was in tears. This pain was way worse than child birth! I continued to get pleurisy and started averaging it every 3 months. Finally after several docs later, (they were trying to figure out an underlying cause of the pleurisy) i had a CT scan done and i had Pericarditis, which is the lining of the heart was inflammed. Terrible painful as well! Am now seeing a Rheumatologist and she believes i have Psoriatic Arthritis as well as Spondylitis in my spine.
Currently i have the costo pain and i have learned this difference between Pleurisy and costo pain. If you press on your chest and can recreate the pain it's costo. If you get relief from non movement, it's costo. Pleurisy is similar pain as costo, but multiplied X10. And that is no eggageration. Nothing you do with Pleurisy or Pericarditis relieves your pain until your pain meds, anti inflammatories or antibiotics kick in. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
Just wanted to share this just in case someone else has this type of pain and their DR. may have misdiagnosed them. They believe Pleurisy is what i've had all along, all the way back to when i was 19 and was mis diagnosed. Just a thought to all
I am so glad that I found this post because back in April of 2010 I had the EXACT symptoms that the original poster stated in her post--cramp-like pain in middle of chest. I thought I was having a heart attack because of family history and high blood pressure. Went to the ER and had all the tests. I even underwent an angiogram because they saw a shadow on one of the x-rays. But everything was fine. I've also had fibromyalgia for 15 years and I'm currently experiencing a terrible flare-up of back pain/sciatica. So from researching the internet I think I've finally found that this chest pain/discomfort is costochondritis. Thank you everyone for posting your experiences. It gives me piece of mind to know that I actually have something you can name because for years my doctors have pegged me as a hypochondriac. I do have one question though. Does costochondritis make your heart beat faster than normal. My heart has been racing up to 120 bpm while just sitting around and I get very short of breath. Has anyone else experienced this too?