What could my mystery chest pain be?
June 16, 2009 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Chest Pain Filter: So I continue to have this weird chest pain at the bottom of my breast bone area, perhaps a little down and to the left of my nipple. What could it possibly be?

Additional Info:

I do occasionally do push-ups. I don't have enough data yet to see if there is a corrolation.

I do have occasional, most likely stress related, heart palpatations and am on beta blockers for them, yet they still occasionally pop up.

I am 6', 34 years old and probably about 40 pounds overweight, if you believe the gov't. (I am 228)

I have asthma and under so-so treatment for it.

The pain is not continuous, in that its constant. When it does happen however it lasts for hours hurting for a few seconds then going away for maybe 30 seconds to a minute then returning.

Feels like someone is poking me with a needle or like a pinched nerve might feel.

I have been to the cardiologist. They did an ultra sound (echocardiogram), stress test and a halter monitor (the thing you wear for a week). That's how I ended up on the beta blockers.

There does not seem to be much relation between this and running on the treadmill. I have run up to 25 minutes lately with no pain.

I do have high cholestrol, but only very slight elevated blood pressure (124/80)ish.

I do have an upcoming yearly update with the cardiologist...I am hoping for some advice before I go see him.

So what could this current pain be?
posted by UMDirector to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: ooops...this should not read:

The pain is not continuous, in that its constant.

but rather:

The pain is not continuious, in that its NOT constant, but rather comes and goes through the day and sometimes even skips a day or two.
posted by UMDirector at 2:05 PM on June 16, 2009

Heartburn? Try some Pepcid or Zantac for a few days, see if that helps.
posted by Unred at 2:08 PM on June 16, 2009

I had pain in my chest in a similar area. Mine was very sharp and stinging, massaging it seemed to help some. I went to cardiologist and they did all the workups, but in the end it was muscle/nerve issue, and nothing heart related. My Dr said that if massaging it helps, it's probably not heart related. In any case, I would recommend pursuing the issue as if it was serious, until the doctors have ruled out the heart or other serious condition as the culprit.
posted by forforf at 2:25 PM on June 16, 2009

Response by poster: @Unred...yeah I am also on heartburn medication...script, not OTC.
posted by UMDirector at 2:28 PM on June 16, 2009

Response by poster: @forforf: did they ever actually find THE cause...prove it was muscle/nerve pain via some test or did they just rule everything else out?
posted by UMDirector at 2:29 PM on June 16, 2009

Have you had a fall lately? I went to the doctor once for a recurrent chest pain that was actually a pulled chest muscle. I slipped on some ice and caught myself before face-planting but hadn't notice the stain at the time. How long has it been happening?
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:32 PM on June 16, 2009

...erm, the strain at the time.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:33 PM on June 16, 2009

I'm going to go with a pulled muscle. Hurts like hell. It may be a rarely-used muscle, so you'll only feel it when you rarely use it again.

It might even have been strained when you were doing your occasional push-ups.
posted by jabberjaw at 2:49 PM on June 16, 2009

Response by poster: @Bonobo No fall.....this has probably been happening a few months (maybe longer...seems to come and go).

@Jabberjaw Might a pulled muscle recur frequently? And not hurt like hell but just be rather annoying?
posted by UMDirector at 3:00 PM on June 16, 2009

Could be Costocondritis, which is inflammation of the cartilages that connect your ribs together.
While the true causes of Tietze's Syndrome are not well understood, it often results from a physical strain or minor injury, such as repeated coughing, vomiting or impacts to the chest. It has even been known to occur after hearty bouts of laughter. It can occur by over exerting or by an injury in the chest and breast.
posted by vytae at 3:08 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was going to suggest Costocondritis as well, but I was beaten to it. I've been in the ER twice (while still under age 30) twice for chest pain. After 6 hours and all the tests, they decreed that was my problem and sent me home with Advil. Does it hurt if you press on your sternum?
posted by cgg at 4:25 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Precordial catch syndrome?
posted by infinityjinx at 5:55 PM on June 16, 2009

They didn't find the cause, but I only went to the dr because I thought it might be something serious. The diagnosis made sense to me because the pain did emanate more from the ribcage, rather than deeper inside. Also the pain was not related to physical activity or any other cardio-vascular events.
posted by forforf at 12:20 AM on June 17, 2009

I had similar pains and was worried about my heart for a while, but like bonobothegreat, it ended up being a pulled chest muscle too. I have no idea when I pulled it, other than perhaps when I was sleeping. It didn't hurt too badly, but would flare up at times and be painful enough to make me catch my breath. It lasted for three months before it finally went away. So yes, it can "recur" frequently, in that it takes forever for it to heal and you don't necessarily feel it every day since it may not be a muscle you use often. And it may not hurt like hell but just be annoying, as mine was, depending on how badly you pulled it.

Once my doctor diagnosed it and showed me which muscle it was, it was actually kind of interesting to feel when that muscle was used (even though it hurt...). I'd never been that aware of my chest muscles before.

And good on you for going to the doctor and getting it checked out -- chest pains aren't something to mess around with. Hopefully yours will have a benign cause.
posted by fraula at 12:57 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Once I woke up with baffling chest pain. I thought I was having a heart attack or something, but a nurse friend told me I had probably pinched some muscle or ligament in between two ribs, by lying in a weird position. The pain lasted about a week, fading over time, and I only felt it when I moved in a certain way. But now sometimes it comes back, just every now and then if I lie on my side the wrong way.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:14 PM on June 17, 2009

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