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  • Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.

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    Old 09-21-2008, 10:19 AM   #1
    Exiyn's Avatar
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    Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.


    I'm new here and I'm just posting because it seems that a lot of people have similar experiences... and have received great answers and amazing support.

    For me, I have spent the last five years of my life in question. I have had a pain to the left of my sternum for what feels like forever -- I've always been told and read that this kind of pain isn't normal and the body's way of warning about a problem, so I took the question to my family doctor about it. This was 5 years ago; at the time, without any tests, I was told it was just a "swollen chest wall," and to take ibuprofen for a period of time and that should make it go away. Otherwise, it typically will last 6 months.

    So I did this, and, after 6 months, the pain had remained the same. After about a year, I decided I needed some more tests; my doctor booked me in thinking that I had mitro-valve prolapse(sp?). So, I had to get a heart ultrasound (Not sure what the name of the test is), which came out clear, an ECG, and a blood test. Everything came out in the green.

    So, for the moment, my doctor said that everything was ok and that I shouldn't be too concerned.

    By year 3, I'm still suffering from the chest pains. However, there are more now. I get them on my far left side, under my left arm-pit region and just under my left nipple (for lack of a better word, lol). At night, I would wake up just before falling asleep not able to get breath for a second, which felt like my heart had stopped or something -- truly terrifying. It has gotten to a point where, the majority of times I can't breathe are when I'm laying on either my left or right side, but mostly on my left side. When I lay on a particular side, after about 15minutes I need to get up and move around because I start to feel like my heart is stopping. (I don't know a better way to describe it)

    I went back to my doctor who booked me for an MRI. The neurologist told me that it could be "too much signal travelling down the nerve trunk" (along those lines) which can cause this kind of feeling. The MRI came out clear, with the exception of a very slightly dislodged disc in my neck (not a problem, however).

    The doctor once again rules me out as in the clear.

    Time goes on, I live with this, but the symptoms keep getting worse and worse and increasing in frequency. I've been to the hospital ER on two occasions where I haven't been able to get any breath at all and it feels like my chest totally ceases up (due to anxiety -- hyperventilation, I'd imagine) and I can't stand, walk, or really talk.

    I had a chest X-ray, another ECG, and a blood test where they tested for leukemia (sp) and a total blood count. They all turned out well.

    The pain, when it's not my in my chest, remains as a pressure in the very centre of the sternum... which is really bothersome and frightening, at times.

    This is really starting to drive me nuts. My anxiety started around 6 months ago shortly after the symptoms started getting worse and my doctor couldn't tell me what was going on. I had my first panic attack 4 months ago and it was the most frightening experience of my life -- since then, panic attacks are almost a daily occurence for me. I was prescribed Paxil and Ativan, both of which don't reduce or alleviate the symptoms -- Ativan simply puts me to sleep, lol.

    There are times when I feel like I can't breath, my chest feels cold at the centre just below my neck about 3" and the only good breathes I can take come from yawning. However, sometimes I'm not even able to yawn and it turns into like, a 20s dead yawn which cause my eyes to water like crazy and puts me into a cycle that's often annoying and anxiety filled but I can usually prevent it from turning into a panic attack.

    Anyway, I would just like some suggestions or recommendations of what I can say to my doctor, as everyone keeps telling me it's anxiety... but the chest pain started alone, without anxiety or anything, and has lived with me for years before I actually felt anxious, and that was when the symptoms started getting worse. I do get palpitations at night, but not too often... maybe once a week or so.

    Thanks so much for reading this, if you need any other information, please let me know.

    About me:
    - 23 year old male
    - 5'10", 145lb
    - Moderately athletic, I walk and bike everywhere... ranging from 10-40km a week in activity, weather depending.
    - Very low stress, outside of my chest pains. I work an easy job, doing well in University, etc...
    - My diet is rather diverse, but usually consists of carrots / corn / green beans with chicken and potato recipes... I love potatoes, lol.
    - I get between 5-8hrs of sleep, except on anxious nights, then it's around 2-3 -.-;
    - I eat a daily multivitamin almost every morning.
    - I drink tons of water.
    - I do eat a bit too much fast food during the day... maybe twice to three times a week I get a fry... though I usually try to avoid trans fatty foods.

    Last edited by Exiyn; 09-21-2008 at 11:19 AM.

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    Old 11-01-2008, 10:57 AM   #2
    Richard1776's Avatar
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    Re: Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.


    I have been having a very similar issue over the past 12 months. Whenever I wake up after sleeping on my left side, I usually have a pain or pressure on my inner sternum. This only occurs on my left side, never on my right. This certainly scared me at first, because the pressure came from what seemed like my heart. The pain certainly intensifies if I try to flex the left side of my chest. The pain reveals itself in an area no more than an inch in length along the sternum. It usually last for 3-4 hours, then goes away. I have not seen a doctor about this issue, however, I am now contemplating it. It feels as if part of my pectoralis major wants to rip away from the point of pain. I am a fairly healthy 21 year-old male with no prior medical conditions and can find no reason for this issue I am having. I am hoping someone will be able to look at this thread and be able to provide an answer for both of us.



    Old 01-27-2010, 02:39 AM   #3
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    Re: Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.

    dear exiyen while i am still young i have very simaler problems when you get thesebreathless sensations just stay calm and relax i know that is hard to do however it helps alot. chest pain can be cause by anxiety and your breathlessfeeling can be caused by anxiety to. i have anxiety problems and learning some breathing exercises can help control and relax these symptoms. also you make your doctor abour gerd or gastrointestinal reflux disease, this can cause moderate to severe chest pains, these pains can shoot to practicly anywhere in the body. if you often experince tastes in your mouth when your not eating, food comming back up into your throat or mouth if you lay down to soon after eating or you have burning sensations i would highley suspect gerd. i hope some of this can help you and help you find peace of mind.

    Last edited by hb-mod; 09-29-2010 at 07:50 AM. Reason: Removed Quote. Please use "QUICK reply" rather than "QUOTE reply". Thanks!

    Old 02-04-2010, 10:48 AM   #4
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    Re: Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.

    Well gentlemen. I would first rule out some simple things. Acid reflux. Severe heartburn. Plain old indigestion. Start watching what you eat and when you eat it to see if there is any correlation between the two. After all this is ruled out, there is a rare disease called Prinzmetals Angina that causes the arteries of the heart to spasm. There is a standard form of this disease that most people get. Not everyone has the standard form or follows the norm. The general thought of this disease is that mostly women of age get this disease, but thats not true. I started having all my symptoms in highschool and now my daughter is repeating my legacy. She to is manifesting all the symptoms. She had them for the past two years and she's now seventeen.
    In closing I hope each of you discover the causes for your discomfort and pain. Prinzmetals Angina is hard to diagnose because the only way to definitely do so is with a heart cathatherization that catches an artery spasming. I also don't know if men experience the symptoms a little differently than women. Check it out. Don't get frustrated! It took me 4 years and 4 doctors to find the problem. All the way through highschool and young adult years I've suffered with this problem and was told it was my asthma causing my lungs to spasm when all along it was my heart. So don't let people rule this out because of your age or lack of arterial blockages. I had neither. Now I'm 40. Gool luck.

    Old 07-05-2010, 06:59 AM   #5
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    Re: Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.

    I also experienced anxiety along with pain from failed back surgeries. I finally went to my doctor (with my wife for support) and told him that I wasn't sleeping, enjoying work and was under constant stress. My body felt like it could explode. Blood work was normal and since this had been going on for such a long time, I was convinced, along with my doctor that I wasn't seriously ill.
    He suggested a small dose of Zoloft twice a day and Klonopin. Klonopin was originally used for seizures but they found out it works well for anxiety. After a couple of weeks, I feel great. There have been no side effects and I sleep through the night, something I haven't done in years.

    Old 09-28-2010, 11:06 AM   #6
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    Re: Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.


    Hi i was just wonder if you ever found out what it was that you were suffering from?? Because i have been dealing with almost the same symptoms and my doctors cant seem to help me out.

    Old 09-28-2010, 11:13 AM   #7
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    Re: Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.


    Hi I was just wondering if you ever found out what it was that you are suffering from?? Because I have been dealing with similar symptoms and my doctors can really seem to help me out in finding a diagnosis..

    Old 02-05-2011, 03:19 PM   #8
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    Re: Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.

    I have the same issue - but not on any anxiety pills. I refuse to do any more meds... just quit my Thyroid meds because I thought the meds were the source.
    I am anemic, so my blood pressure is generally low. LOw bLOOd preSSure and hormone issues may be MY PERSONAL ISSUE with this chest pain/feeling like the heart stops/pressure after falling asleep. just sharing mine...


    I ask this because when I started my thyroid meds, after a month or two, THAT NIght ISSUES Stopped...but just recently re appeared.

    Spiritual sidebar: In the meantime- pray! Get a relationship with God (if you have one already, ask Him for deliverance). sometimes, its just an attack from the enemy. (not imposing my spirituality on anyone- just sharing for those that might be curious)

    Medications are helpful, but tend to cause problems later in life. I am not anit-meds...but personally, I am not about to keep taking things that these docs are not sure of...tired of ruling out this or that.

    IN the meantime, I hope that you find solutions to this problem. But I highly suggest having your Thyroid levels checked, whether you're male or female...and have your iron checked. It cant hurt to have it done ( a full blood test)

    love and hugs- best wishes.

    Old 04-06-2011, 06:45 AM   #9
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    Re: Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.

    Dear Exiyn,
    I hope by now you have been diagnosed. I too had a similar troubling experience where my stress was from the problem that no one could figure out, called 'secondary stress' because it is caused from something else. Yet, many doctors seemed to think it was 'primary stress' - the cause of the problem. It can be frustrating, but as a wise oncologist, who had just told me I did NOT have cancer, told me..."There IS something wrong. Keep looking and eventually you will find it". He referred me to a neurologist.
    I too had the symptoms you describe.

    Have you had your thymus function tested? It is located underneath your sternum and over your heart. If you have had x-rays or CT of your chest, get another opinion from someone who can read x-rays who works in a larger metropolitan area. Ask them to see if there is a thymoma on the thymus--which, I was told by my cardiologist, could affect my heart. (Things can get missed -- especially if the referring doctor told them to look for something else in particular). The thymus is involved in your endocrine system. You might want to do some research on the thymus and endocrine to see how it works and to study some some of their dysfunctions to see if anything fits the pattern of your symptoms--unless you would go batty worrying. In that case it might not be a good idea.

    My endocrinologist didn't seem to have a very good comprehensive knowledge of all the parts of the endocrine system--you might have to shop around. There are neurological functions involved in the endocrine system also so you might have to see a neurologist, along with or instead of seeing an endocrinologist to find some answers.
    I really hope everything works out for you.

    Last edited by Shiela1; 04-06-2011 at 08:38 AM.

    Old 04-14-2011, 01:02 PM   #10
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    Re: Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.

    Just found this board and hope it isn't too late to post. I have been diagnosed with bradycardia. My hr often resides in the 30's at night. In addition, I have some chest pain (might be my MVP..unsure) and very similar sleep disturbances. While falling asleep I seem to stop breathing then jolt awake with a deliberate deep breath. Not a snore. A breath like you would need if holding your breath a long time. I had a sleep study and unfortunately did not have even one episode when I finally could fall asleep. My doc didn't have much to offer (he suggested maybe it was night terrors... Wrong...) so I started researching on my own and found a possible cause " central sleep apnea." I will be asking my doc about it at my next appointment. It may or may not be related to my heart condition for which I am currently taking theophylline to increase the rate. If I become more symptomatic, I will likely have a pacemaker implanted. Not really looking forward to that. Hope you read this and would love to hear how you are doing.

    Old 04-29-2011, 09:15 AM   #11
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    Re: Chronic Chest Pain with Sleep Disturbance, Anxiety-like.

    I have had pain behind the sternum for 15+ years.

    I have many cysts many on my upper legs. But I don't know if this is connected as it's an inherited disease.

    But I do get a sharp pain under the nail of my left big toe, rather like thumb screw torture at times!

    I found this on the web

    where he says; The thymus is the first gland is the first organ to be affected by physical or emotional stress. It is a very important one, as it activates T-cells, among other things. Therefore, your state of immunity to disease largely depends on your thymus. It needs to be drained by lymphatic ducts which, in turn pass the waste into the thoracic duct. Any digestive problems may congest the thoracic duct at its base (Cysterna Chyli sacks, attached to the intestines)and make it difficult for the thymus to clear out metabolic waste and dead cells. Stress shrinks the thymus considerable, meaning that there are extra amounts of dead cells that need to be eliminated. If they are not removed, they can cause such symptopms as the one you are experiencing.

    where they say; Thoracic duct drainage is key to the proper function of the body. In the event that a problem arises to interfere with the drainage process, a number of health issues can arise. This is because the drainage of lymph through the duct helps to cleanse the cells of the body. When this process is not taking place, the potential for the collection of lymph at the point of obstruction can result in the creation of malignancies at various locations throughout the upper left portion of the body or the area below the diaphragm. Depending on the nature of the growth, the individual may suffer a wide range of symptoms, including fevers, nausea, or difficulty breathing.

    where she says; When the proper drainage of waste and cellular debris becomes inefficient in the lymphatic sacks (at the belly button area) as well as the thoracic duct (indicated by a protusion, bloating, hardening or swelling of the abdomen), the ovaries can no longer be cleansed and drained adequately. This condition is, more often than not, triggered or caused by constipation or irregular, "sticky" bowel movements. Consequently, these waste products or forced to remain in and around the reproductive organs there, leading to fluid retention, known as water cysts and, eventually, other cystic occurances, as well as fibrotic tissue. The cell tissues become more and more acidified by holding back such metabolic wastes as lactic acid. This affects hormonal balance, among other problems. More details are given in my books The Amazing Liver Cleanse and The Key to Health and Rejuvenation (

    The lymphatic congestion in the cysterna chyli sacks and thoracic ducts is caused mainly by digestive problems which, in turn, are the result of bile duct blockage and poor dietary/lifestyle choices. Removing all stones from the liver and gallbladder and adjusting one's diet/lifestyle according to one's body type requirements, help the body restore the original hormonal balance and lymphatic efficiency. Contraceptive pills are major causes of gallstone formation. Once all stones are removed through the liver cleanses, the reproductive system stands an excellent chance to recover fully. Not surprizing, since the liver controls of the reproductive functions.

    I put two and two together and decided to do a detox, and I'm taking ginger concoction to get it all going.


    Last edited by Vdaka; 05-02-2011 at 07:23 AM.

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