Angina - what does it feel like? - British Heart Fou...

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Angina - what does it feel like?

Pippy36 profile image

Silly question I guess as probably everyone is different, but when I read the word 'pain' I am wondering just how painful angina is. I was sent to Chest pain Clinic with symptons of a tight feeling between breast and underneath. Just felt like as if I may have pulled muscle. Had a couple of hours one night in bed when I could describe it as an ache. Have have no other symptons. Clinic said I did not appear to have usual angina but want a test (stress test?) to check it's not unstable angina. If I have any unusual feeling it is a slight tight feeling which seems to be between breast or diaghram area. Is this what it feels like? Can't stop worrying about it. My bp is always low. I have ICD /heart failure and take various meds but feel well. I am hoping to have my appointment through soon.

38 Replies

My Angina was a crippling pain between the shoulder blades. I’d have to lie out flat for 5 minutes to get myself back together.

Rob6868 profile image
Rob6868 in reply to DavidG1971

Exactly what I get daily now..It's so debilitating

DavidG1971 profile image
DavidG1971 in reply to Rob6868

Sorry to hear that.

In my case it was extreme pain starting behind my right shoulder blade and radiating outwards. Stopped me in my tracks. Made breathing an effort and usually accompanied by feeling really hot. Had to stop for a few minutes and try to relax until the pain subsided - anything up 5 minutes.

Described it to a tee.

i usually get a tight or heavy feeling in chest going through to my back and pain in my jaw.. if it’s really bad when i’ve been out .. i have to either walk up a steep hill or climb 41 steps to reach my street.. i get fairly bad chest pain and cold clammy neck..usually have to lie down for 10 mins for pain to subside

Felt like bad indegestion or heartburn for me cold in the windpipe sensation and the more I did the bigger the pain in the sternum area .

Once they explained it was the heart being a muscle and not getting enough oxygen causing it to struggle to pump ,it all made sense .

Mine is a indegestion type pain in middle of the chest, between beasts. Quickly grows more uncomfortable and starts moving around all chest and back. Like a belt tightening. Hard to breathe. More intense centrally. Pain. Mines only with exhersion.

Urssy profile image
Urssy in reply to Urssy

Oh and hot and bothered....Lol

Mine usually starts with indegestion type pain and developes into a raging pain as if someone is standing on my chest then it is difficult to get my breath. I use the spray a couple of times and the attack usually lasts 15-45 mins. Mine is unstable and can come while I am just resting reading the paper.

Pippy36 profile image
Pippy36 in reply to james223

Thank you for your response - so much appreciate everyone that has trouble to give me some.info.

The 'feeling' that I get is so hard to explain and usually comes on when I am at rest . It feels as if my bra is a bit too tight. No more breathless than usual and no other symptons. There was just the one time it was too uncomfortable for mw to get off to sleep.

Have holiday booked in 2 weeks time and hope I have test done beforehand or I will be worrying 24/7 that I may have incident away from UK. Will have to check I am ok to.still.go.

Susieque21 profile image
Susieque21 in reply to Pippy36

Sounds similar to mine and cardio is suggesting could be Oesphageal spasm, I'm off all heart tablets and on omeprazole, but still have pain/discomfort that can last for hours.

Mine feels like I'm being pinched from the inside, usually on the left side and sometimes going up into my neck and or left shoulder. It comes on when walking uphill or too fast at the start of an exercise walk if I've not stretched and then walked slowly for the first ten minutes. Usually it's not what I'd call a sharp stabbing pain, more of a dull ache like being pinched only spread along a more lengthy pinching point than if I pinch myself with thumb and forefinger.

Since starting the beta blocker 30 April '19 (1 daily Bisoprolol 1.25mg) and cutting my salt (to less than 2.5g per day total spread out over the day), I have only had one episode and that came on during the treadmill ecg. Came and went within seconds but was the first time it was a sharp shooting pain. I'm waiting for the echocardiogram appointment now.

kenta profile image
kenta in reply to Sunnie2day

Hi Sunnie2day. This all sounds exactly what is going on with me at the moment. Been onBisprolol only about a week and awaiting a ct heart scan. Is that the same as a echocardiogram? Roger

Sunnie2day profile image
Sunnie2day in reply to kenta

I don't know if a ct scan and an 'echo' are the same thing - hopefully someone with more knowledge will come along soon and inform us both.

Are you experiencing any relief with the Bisoprolol? I was surprised at how much better I felt so quickly after starting it. By the time I got to my RACP appointment (just a few days ago on Tuesday) I was feeling so much better I felt a little guilty at taking up their time. By the time they can fit me in for an echo I'll probably be feeling so much better they really will be annoyed with me being well and taking up their time:)

An Echo cardiogram is like an ultrasound scan and a Cardiac CT scan is where a dye is put in your veins and you go into a polo mint machine and have pictures taken whilst you breathe in and out. I have had both, by choice I prefer the Echo.

I've now had the echo, and seen the cardiologist - who is suggesting a cardiac catheterisation in autumn to find out exactly what is causing the angina. Not something I'm looking forward to and I've had a few friends with the same condition(s) I have suggest I ask for a cardiac MRI instead.

Which I think I'll do if the cardiologist is still trying to work out what is causing my angina - which I haven't had since starting the Bisoprolol and my latest recurrent pericarditis episode has resolved. I like my cardiologist quite a lot but I know me and I know the angina is down to the pericarditis, only. If I can talk him into the MRI instead of the catheterisation, he'll see I've no blocked veins - and I won't go home with a hideously achy wrist!

You're so right about the echo being the nicer of the tests, I don't look forward to having a dye injected (cardiac MRI) but I really don't look forward to the cath!

When I was asked in A and E how bad the pain was I struggled to answer as its not what I'd call 'pain' as in ouchy pain. When I exert myself even slightly like a few stairs or brisk walking it's like someone sitting on my chest getting heavier and heavier with a burning sensation. Sometimes tingling down left arm. And raging heartburn! Funny how we're all different

Urssy profile image
Urssy in reply to Clarky61012

I wonder if we feel it differently due to what is causing it.

Mines in the LAD.

Very interesting thread.

Clarky61012 profile image
Clarky61012 in reply to Urssy

Hi Urssy

Mine's LAD too, 95% blockage. Angioplasty and stent in 4 weeks time. Can't bloody wait!

Rob6868 profile image
Rob6868 in reply to Clarky61012

Good luck

mine was in LAD same percentage too.

tried to move on and did.Then wallop Angina...so out of the fire and into the frying pan..not good

Clarky61012 profile image
Clarky61012 in reply to Rob6868

Did you have a stent Rob? I'm hoping to samba out of the cath lab when it's done! Probably dreaming though lol

Rob6868 profile image
Rob6868 in reply to Clarky61012

Yes I had a stent last may after I started getting chest pain at work

I had a very physical job and as far as I was concerned I was fitter and stronger Probably stronger than the average 50year old. But then came my heart issues. I don't drink nor did i smoke and my diet wasn't particularly bad at all.I wasn't overweight or classed as obese but through my persistent they eventually gave me a CT scan and found a 99% blockage .No one including all the cardiologists at the time believed me but I was right and I was then taken in for stent procedure. To be honest I had the usual worries but afterwards I thought it was a doddle and started to move on within a couple of weeks.Sadly something still wasn't right? constant chest pain...To cut a long story short I've been through all the tests you name it.And once again I'm right because it's pretty much confirmed I have Microvascular angina or coronary artery spasm. I'm actually having yet another nasty attack now as I message you.It has completely changed my quality of life and I'm now struggling to get through each day at work and at night.

I'm still under investigation. I hope everything goes well and you are one of the many lucky ones on here who only need a stent and can move on..

Clarky61012 profile image
Clarky61012 in reply to Rob6868

Oh mate so sorry to hear you're going through such a tough time. Really hope you get some solutions and feel better soon

Pippy36 profile image
Pippy36 in reply to Rob6868

Hope you get sorted out soon. Sorry that you have to put up with the pain. My best wishes to you.

You’ve just described my life which in a strange way is comforting! Sorry you are going through this too, it’s a bugger!!! I’m also falling down/ blackouts a lot which they now think could be blood pressure but fractured my shoulder 3 weeks ago so all stuff has had to stop whilst this heals!!!! Gggrrrrrrrr is about all I can manage right now! And yes chest pain as I write this ! Im up to third GTN spray already! Not sure where you live but I have been referred to Bradford Specialist Angina Clinic. Dr Sainsbury is great

Urssy profile image
Urssy in reply to Clarky61012

11 th June for me!!!

I too can't bloody wait

Clarky61012 profile image
Clarky61012 in reply to Urssy

10th for me! Let's keep in touch and compare notes x

Urssy profile image
Urssy in reply to Clarky61012

Yes ;)

Plum53 profile image
Plum53 in reply to Clarky61012

Mine is LAD too 80% blockage being treated with medication . My angina pain was a tightness under neck like a weight pressed there . I was walking up incline once I stopped it went . That was first sign. 2nd was strong ache between breasts doing same thing once I stopped it went. That was why I was investigated and blockage found. 2016 had angina in Jan19 this time was ache in right side of chest a bit over from middle . I took GTN spray sat down and rested for five mins and it went . I find I get panicked when it happened as was in Carabean .

My Colin has Angina, his pain goes through his chest to his back, says it feels a bit like the heart attacks he has had. He has a spray when it comes on , we ring for ambulance if it does not work they always ask him to chew 4 aspirins To see if that helps, if not they come and check him and normally take him to hospital . He says it is an awful pain, like really really bad indigestion.

Hope this helps.

Pippy, I do hope you get sorted out with this and get a proper diagnosis.

My experience is that I had a heart attack five weeks ago, and just happen to have contracted angina, out of nowhere. My gp's either can't be arsed to look any further into it or are waiting until after a cardiac mri for further reports.

My symptoms are similar to the others in that I get a discomfort that starts in my chest and then goes through to my back. It seems to be on exercise but I have just been sat and experienced something milder yet similar.

All the best to you, and take care.

Mine was similar. Had this slight ache for some six years. Always been an active hill walker and put it down to a pulled muscle putting rucksac on back. Had several ecg's over the years and apart from the odd ectopic beat nothing significant No other cardiac symptoms.

Felt slightly out of breath going uphill but put that down to age. I'm 65 male, BTW. The 'ache' wasn't related to exertion and it appeared to pick and choose when it appeared. Eventually GP sent me to pain clinic. Was put on a treadmill, ok for first 6 mins then threw an ectopic and heart had a wobble. Was asked if I felt any pain or unwell, nope I said. Had an echocardiogram, all ok. Angiogram revealed 3 narrowings. Was recommended for CABG so its off to Wythenshawe it 10 days time. Wish me luck.

Pippy36 profile image
Pippy36 in reply to Neptune54

Thank you so much for replying - I hope all goes well with you.

I get out of breath but have done so for year or so but I believe it's due to heart failure. I don't really know what the test is that I am going to have except I am given a drug to make heart beat faster and a scan (?) is done.

I feel less worried now I have read responses as it seems I will KNOW if I have an angina attack.

It' good to share your worries.

Thank you all SO much x

The cardiologist is convinced I must be having angina attacks but I never have any pain. I just get really breathless and have to breathe through my mouth. NO pain or even feeling of pressure. They refuse to do any tests to prove that the breathlessness is angina. My clopidogrel was stopped at the beginning of April and the breathlessness seems to have stopped too about 2 weeks later. Breathlessness is not a listed side effect of clopidogrel

My angina feels like a heavy weight or pressure on my chest, which is exactly what my heart attack felt like. Hope it goes well with you at your appointment

Bloody hell I'm getting those chest and back pain attacks constantly every day. And you say it feels like your heart attack. Well at least now I know

After driving for about 30 miles and realising the pressure probably wasn't muscular I went to A. and E. My E.C.G. was normal so I was getting up to go home! I'd never heard of Troponin but these heart enzymes were raised which confirmed a H.A. I'd no previous signs and led a really healthy lifestyle so it was a massive shock. Keep pushing for an early appointment but try not to worry too much because as I've learnt from this forum everyone's different so your signs probably not H.A.

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