Keep getting pain so intense I can't think

I'm 25, male, I've always been healthy until the last 2 months, since the first "attack" I have stopped smoking, drinking, pretty much everything, I was having chest pains, trouble breathing, pain under my ribs on both sides, lump in my throat, it was hell, went to 6 different doctors, had ct scans, x rays, labs, all found nothing. Finally got sent to an ENT doc who discovered I had GERD, it had gotten into my lungs, voice box, and mouth, basically inflamed everything, gave me asthma, chondritis, swollen gums... he gave me methylprednisone, hydrocortisone, protonix, and I've had ativan for anxiety. It's been a week since then and the GERD has calmed down, only now I keep getting these sharp stabbing pains all over my body, mostly in my left arm, like burning hot needles, and it's constant, it never stops. My heart keeps fluttering and giving me slight pains, it still hurts under my ribs on both sides, yesterday I went to the er because the pain was just so intense I couldn't stop crying, I'm a veteran, I've been through some rough stuff but I've never experienced that level of pain before. I just don't know what to do, the only thing they found in the er was a potassium level of 3.2, that's it. Kidneys were fine, nothing else in labs... they gave me an iv, potassium, and tramadole for pain. It helped to an extent, enough that the lack of sleep caught up with me and I started to doze off, but every time I started to doze off, the vitals machine would go off saying my heart rate was hitting 36-44 bpm and my blood pressure got down to 92/52. Yet doc told me i was fine and that if i was dozing then i didn't need to be there. After waking up today I felt drained, tired, like I didn't really sleep. Only to have the pains slowly coming back, it hurts so bad I can hardly think straight. I'm going to make an appointment to get tested for lupus and MS, but if this keeps up, I just don't know how much more I can take... all the doctors can tell me is that I have anxiety, I already know that, I've lost 28 pounds and now weigh 160, my mother is now basically caring for me since I'm struggling to even walk some times, I've tried to exercise only to end up with a heart rate of 160+ and on the ground struggling just to breathe or to stand back up... I've never posted about my problems before but no one seems able to help me and I'm just scared, any help is appreciated. Thank you for reading this and I'm sorry if it's a mess.

15 Replies

  • Hiya Jack,

    I am so so sorry your going through this at such a young age. When I read your post it broke my heart. I hope you get some sort of diagnosis soon, unfortunately whether your in America or U.K., tests take time and then it take times to find the right medication.

    In the mean time, take prescribed meds exactly on time every day and don't miss a dose. Only light exercise that won't strain your heart to much but just enough to keep you active but walk with your mum. If you go to your docs ask for some sedatives or sleepers to help you sleep and don't give hope. I know it's easy for me to say but I promise you there is a better day ahead, stay strong Jack 😊

  • I'm trying to stay upbeat, I really am, it just feels worse and worse each day. I've never considered myself to be depressed, but I'm getting there fast.

  • Hi JackDani, i have dealt with patients with the same disease unfortunately GERD is a lifelong illness and can cause all the painful symptoms you identified, the chest pains, heartburns and lump in your throat are felt because of the acidic reflux. The first advice i could give you is to prevent all this by avoiding food that consist of acids like alcohol, coffee, chocolates and spicy food. Also avoid getting too "full" when you eat. Do not lay down after a meal, maintain upright for 2-3 hours after eating as this allows enough time for your food to leave your stomach, do not eat or drink right before bedtime. If this cant be avoided try sleeping with two pillows under your head where you upper body is higher than your belly. Vigorous exercise may worsen the regurgitation so i suggest you take it slow to moderate. As for you anxiety, i hope this is not from a Post traumatic stress disorder as this can contribute to your stress during an attack and if this is the case i hope you are getting the right psychological support you need. Goodluck


  • Thank you, it's not the GERD that's bothering me right now tho, it's this burning needle like pain I keep getting, it's just so intense, I don't know if it's the nerves, muscles or a side effect of pills... I've already been avoiding all those things for the GERD as well as drink alkaline water to help with the acid

  • Toni, I am assuming you’re a doctor right? You mentioned that you have had dealt with patients that have had Gerd so that’s why I’m assuming you are a doctor. Anyway, many people with autoimmune issues get diagnosed with gerd. Why?

  • Now I'm not sure if your medication is causing you the pins and needless which in its self can be given the title of peripheral neuropathy, this condition is absolute agony, and can effect every where in your body, you can get shooting pains, muscle spasms, cramps etc,and it's very difficult to diagnose with all the various types of tests that are available, so whilst this is not properly the answer your looking for it might be worth looking at your medication to see if they have any side effects and if nerve damage is mentioned it might be worth considering going back to your doctor explaining your concerns, and unfortunately it's probably going to mean taking more tablets, this condition can make you feel physically tired and just make you feel depressed in general, as with any health conditions, I hope you start to feel better soon.

  • Pls try cannabis oil drops under the tongue its a great natural pain killer. It doesnt have the THC in it that causes the getting high part. If you need more info let me know. It works wonders for me.

  • My first thought was about your blood pressure and heart rate dropping so low while you were sleeping made me think that perhaps you are suffering from sleep apnea. This would have no effect on your pain level but it is something to consider being tested for.

    As far as the rest of it is concerned I don't think you've given the medicine long enough to work. One week is not very long. I myself have lived with chronic pain for 11 years so I do know how hard it is to deal with. And the pain down your arm is not likely from gerds. It is probably sciatica coming from your neck. So as far as the arm pain goes you might do well seeing a physical therapist who can help you with exercises to help relieve the tension and possible pinched nerve in your neck. And lastly I want to congratulate you on your quitting smoking

  • Believe me, it wasn't hard to quit after that

  • Hey JackDani, im sorry if my first message wasnt any help. As I read your story again i realized that it could be some of the meds you mentioned but im not totally sure. In my opinion based on what you presented, Firstly, the Ativan or most common to me as Lorazepam, it is a CNS depressant and sedative, you are right that it may be use as an anti-anxiety as you are suffering from that but have your doctor explained to you that it can cause your low blood pressure and this may contributeu to your low heart rate, probably need a dose adjustment? Now the Protonix is used for your GERD but one of its common side effects are joint pains like arthritis and i have heard of patients using this medication in a long term has developed osteoarthrits which increases their chances of bone fracture. I suggest you discuss your medications and re-check to make sure that the proper dosage has been prescribed for you and to ask for a medication to counteract the adverse effects or symptoms. Now to address the stabbing pain in your heart and left arm, did you have any cardiac test like ECG or an echocardiography? to rule out any cardiac problems. You see a chest pain usually radiates to the left arm because the left arm is much more closer to the heart, so its not the arm thats in pain but its actually the heart.

    I hope you get well soon. Take care.

  • They hooked me up to an Ekg I believe, but i don't think they found anything

  • Hi you have had lots of great advice from people on here. The one thing that all of us who suffer from chronic pain is a lack of understanding from doctors nurses and people in general about pain. The comment the ED Dr said about you drifting off and you don't really need to be there irritates me. Patients are exhausted by the time they reach out for help from constant Pain especially if this is very much a new situation to be dealing with. When your given IV fluids containing potassium your muscles start to relax including your heart muscle. The brain relaxes the chemical balance returns. The Tramadol he's given you is probably a pain relief you've never had or had on a regular basis so all this put together will allow you to relax allowing you the opportunity to nod off. The body requires a balance of potassium sodium magnesium etc. Low vitamin D levels can cause pain intermittent malaise muscle spasms exhaustion and many more symptoms. Try to avoid researching things like MS etc you'll only worry yourself. Having pain and living with chronic pain increases the wrong chemicals to be released in to the body which doesn't help especially when the head is full of anxietys. Keep a diary of how you feel. Look up managing chronic pain try and find a support group locally or /and online . Chronic pain online has loads of sites to gain informative helpful advice. In order to help with pain we must help the mind cope with it otherwise it's a circle of stress anxiety and pain and the train never stops. Take control. All on here living with long term conditions have to take control. The Medical profession will help to a degree in order to help our health we must take control which may seem like there is no help at the end of the tunnel ...... there is.

    Good luck


  • I really like your answer and wanted to tell you. I am a chronic pain patient and have been for about 11 years and I spend a lot of time reading posts on different sites. And a lot of times there will inevitably be at least one person bashing the chronic pain patient and saying stuff like all you need to do is this or that and it will cure your pain. And if then there will be bashing the person taking pain medication or anxiety medication. Or you have a different kind person who will do everything to talk about themselves and their experiences and never even try to relate it back to the person's question. So essentially their hijacking the thread. Thank you for not doing that here.

  • Hi Amkoffee

    Thank you very much for your kind words. I to find very often people will reply to a post giving their advice which is what you want however sometimes the topic of information given is about what works for them which is great but may be of no help to the author of the original post. HU is a great site with lots of great people helping each other with advice re websites and/or advice letting others know they are not the only one going through the curve ball they've been thrown. Take care x

  • If anyone is interested, I found pills called fibroxia, they help take the edge off.

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