Hello. I've got some questions & concerns that I should've posted on here long ago.
I'll try my best to keep this brief. For 3 + years I have had chest, upper back and shoulder pains. These are pains that can come & go 20 times in one day or not at all for a week. The pains are usually right underneath my left breast, sometimes in my left shoulder and in my left shoulder blade. Occasionally they are in my left ribcage and armpit. They do not get worse or better based on exercise, rest, or stressful situations. Althought I find myself more & more afraid to exert myself because I'm scared that I will have a heart attack. Which is why I've gained 40+ lbs in the past 3 years. And the fact that I'm 6 1/2 months pregnant. I am 35 years old, quit smoking approx 8 months ago. Approx 70lbs overweight. My family history has absolutely no heart disease. I do have terrible heartburn which is even worse with pregnancy.
I have had the following tests.
3 EKG's - Normal
Upper GI - Shows Reflux
Endoscope - Normal, no damage
Abdominal ultrasound - normal
Cardiolite Stress Test - Shows possible mild Iscyemia
Echo Stress Cardiogram - Shows completely normal
Thyroid scan - shows 2 small nodules, but levels are normal.
Yearly physical shows good BP and good cholesterol.
Seeking answers and relief I have seen 1 Cardiologist, 1 Gastrologist, 2 PCP's, 1 physchiatrist, 1 physcologist, 1 chiropractor and 2 massage therapists.
I have been told that I may have anxiety or muscle spasms or GERD. At different times I have been prescribed Paxil, Effexor, Ativan, Elavil, Protonix & Prevacid. When I first got the abnormal results on the first stress test I was given Nitro to take if I got a chest pain. It did absolutely nothing for me. None of these medications have done anything other than make me more anxious. I have read books and also purchased the Attacking Anxiety program from the Midwest Center to control anxiety that I may or may not even have. The only time I feel anxious is when I get these chest pains. I have spent lots of money and time on tests and many many Rx's. I feel like I've exhausted all possibilities. I just want to feel good again but don't know what more can be done. My Dr's all feel that my heart is fine. They think maybe it's GERD or Muscular, but without more testing how can I know for sure?
You are smart folks. What do you think?
They do not get worse or better based on exercise, rest, or stressful situations. Althought I find myself more & more afraid to exert myself because I'm scared that I will have a heart attack.
For those of us that have felt angina, and the subgroup of us that have had heart attacks, I wanted to address the two statements you made above. I can't speak for all that have experience angina, but mine certainly intensified with exertion, whether lifting or moving fast. It was proportional to a point. Also, stress can produce the same angina--I was amazed at how easily a little stress could bring on angina.
Based on that, the second statement described me after my heart attack. I was a cardiac cripple, afraid of taxing my poor little heart. The thing, though, is that when I did run, I was surprised to find no angina (after the stents). Now, I run 5-10K daily, and often add a cycling session on various days, and feel better than ever. The peace of mind from this kind of exertion (running at high speed takes 12-14 x the capacity of resting) is amazing.
The benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks. Sure, you hear about those cases of people dying of heart attacks during a run, etc., but those incidinces are far outnumbered by those who have a heart attack while sleeping (...so what are we going to do, quit sleeping? ).
I'm no expert on heart conditions, but I can say that I also experience chest pains like yours,
"usually right underneath my left breast, sometimes in my left shoulder and in my left shoulder blade. Occasionally they are in my left ribcage and armpit"
I also experience tightness/pain just straight across my whole chest (none particularly during exersion).
I too have been checked out by a cardio and have been told I'm fine. So I'm left to believe this is anxiety. Prior to all of this, I had been experiencing neck and shoulder pain on my left side that I attributing to my poor sitting/desk situation at work. I've done a few things that help alleviate that, but some days I know the way I sit at my computer isn't helping. Could this possible be addiing to your pain as well?
Katidid95, I agree that working on a computer all day and poor posture probably are contributing to my aches and pains. I just get overwhelmed with the feeling that something is terribly wrong sometimes. I feel like my Dr has never really taken my complaints seriously, but she did send me for the stress tests back 3 years ago. Now speaking of those tests I was left with the nuclear stress test stating "possible mild Iscymia" and the Stress Echo stating everything was fine. Which one to believe?
Last night I layed on the couch watching a movie and could hardly breath. This morning I felt fine. As I sit her right this minute I feel that pain in my Left shoulder blade coming right through to my chest, but I can breath just fine. I know during pregnancy your ability to take a deep breath is greatly diminished so I try to chalk it up to that but this has been going on for 3.5 years. My logical brain tells me that if I had a heart condition I would keeled over or something by now but my anxious side tells me that I've been lucky up until now and any minute now I'll just fall over.
What bothers me just as much is the fact that I've tried 3 different anxiety meds and they have not worked for me and I've tried 3 different acid reflux meds and they haven't worked either. So I feel like "well see it must be your heart cuz meds for those other things didn't work. I know people with anxiety disorder and I know people with ulcers and reflux, but never I have know someone that has chest pains every day from those things. This constant fear is an asanine way to live.
Sounds like possibly anxiety panic disorder. It is common, with the symptoms you describe. Have you tried exercise or relaxation techniques? You have a full plate with a child coming. It can make you have anxiety attacks. Have you talked to anyone about your fears? This could be the problem. Good luck in the coming weeks.
I'm not trying to steer you away from believing something is wrong with your heart and that's the cause of the continued chest pain, BUT from what I've been reading through posts on the "Anxiety" board is that it is a pretty common complaint. And, unfortunately, the more you worry about it the worse it is. It's been one of my most lingering symptoms along with periods of elevated HR. Even at times when I don't feel stressed or anxious. I've just recently started having an occasional glass of wine (I've missed it so!) and it seems to make that worse.
Also, from what I've read (because I haven't actually taken any meds) is that for some people it is trial and error and it also takes a while in some cases for the effects to kick in. You might try everything you can to decrease the physical stress that may be contributing to your shoulder and back pain. Maybe rearrange your work area, get a professional massage (even if just your shoulder area), do stretching and as much exercise as your current condition will allow, even just walking.
I'm not sure what the results of your tests you stated mean, but if it still bothers you, consider getting a third opinion, just to relieve you mind of worry. Or at least talk to your regular Dr. about this continued pain.
Lannen - It is so nice to hear from some one that has the exact symptoms that I am having. I have had an ekg, holter monitor & echo last year that all came back normal, but I just can't get over the feeling that something is wrong with my heart. I constantly have chest, back, shoulder pain on the left side. I too work at a computer all day so I guess it could be that, but I just can't seem to convince myself. I also just had a baby three months ago & I try to convince myself that if I did have a heart condition it the symptoms would have been exagerated while pregnant due to the increased amount of blood pumping through your heart but that still doesn't explain the chest pain that I have had off & on for over a year now. I don't want to keep going on & on I just want to let you know that I am going through the exact same thing & it is good to hear from some one. I know how scary it is the think every day that there is something very wrong with your heart. It has gotten so bad that it is really all I think about. I, like you, don't want to live the rest of my life like this.