| | How do I deal with "atypical" symptoms?
I'm a 39-year-old male with a history of heart disease in my family. I've had what I've been told is "atypical" chest pain on and off for the last 2-3 years. Sometimes I also have pain in my arm, but not radiating. Also, when I do have chest pain, I can feel around and the upper left side is very tender to the touch. I've gotten EKG's which have all been normal and I've had two stress tests, the latest of which was in December or January I think, also normal. I do have elevated blood pressure (130-140/90), and am slightly overweight, but otherwise seem healthy.
EXCEPT... I was diagnosed with a pinched nerve in my upper back/neck almost 5 years ago. My back/neck has continued to give me pain and this pain sometimes goes to my shoulder and arm. One of my fingers (thumb) has been slightly numb for most of these years. and I got an MRI last year that said I had arthritus, but the pinching in the spinal column wasn't enough to warrant any kind of surgery.
So, it's very confusing when I get pain in my arm or chest. Sometimes the chest pain feels like it is internal, but it usually only lasts for a couple of seconds or less. It's almost always with rest, but lately I've been trying to add some more excercise to my very sedendary job by walking up and down the stairs at my office. I've been doing this the whole week and today for the first time I felt a jab of pain in my chest once while nearing the 5th floor, and then another after going a few more flights. It was a momentary jab, but a sharp one.
So, I am wondering what to do. I feel like I have wasted time and money going back to the doctor over the years and not seeing anything, getting the same tests, etc. I have a Kaiser HMO plan, so my options are kind of limited. I heard from someone that a echo cardiogram (the kind that uses a doppler instrument like an ultrasound they do for pregnant women?) might give me a lot more information. I actually had this done about 9 years ago when I was having daily heart palpataions (they are now fairly rare, but I do get them occasionally), and they said at that time that my heart looked perfect.
I also wonder whether these "atypical" symptoms are just the very beginnings of traditional heart disease symptoms and they will somehow morph into them?
Any advice people can give me about how to approach this would be great. I want to get this taken care of as it is very distracting and depressing, but feel like when I do try to get things looked at, nothing comes of it!
Thanks for helping!