Chest pain lasting 2 years...

Hi!

Basically, I've had an awful chest pain for at least two years now and it's gradually getting worse. It feels like a heavy, pressure pain right in the middle of my chest and to the left hand side. I've been to the GP about this and was told they think it's Costochondritis. Since then, it's getting worse. When I lie down it gets worse and a lot of the time I feel like I can't breathe properly, I get out of breath really easily and can't seem to take a deep breath.

I got referred to a Cardiologist last week and they gave me an ECG scan. It came back normal and he told me that there's nothing else they can do because my heart and lungs are fine. He 'thinks' that I've damaged the muscles around my heart and my chest wall. Which I don't understand because I've never had any trauma at all to my chest.

I'm quite scared because I've never been given an x-ray or ultrasound and I'm thinking it could be something awful. Any advice is appreciated :)

- Also! I'm 22 and have never smoked :)

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11 Replies

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  • Hi

    Sorry to hear you are suffering and for such a long time too.

    If your doctor suspects costochondrites, then you probably should have had a chest xrays. If that is clear, they could diagnose costo. It's one of those conditions where it is a process of elimination.

    Costo is a very painful condition, I had it for well over a year. There are several things you can try. Heat is good, wheat bags, hot water bottles etc. You could try a TENS machine. Also, corticosteroid injections can be given. Also, ask your dr for some good painkillers.

    Hope you get some relief soo

    Judi

  • I think I better try and push for an x-ray! Thanks so much for your help :)

  • If the cardiologist says that your heart and lungs are fine, then hang onto that. Costochondrities and pain generally gets worse if you are anxious, so if you keep worrying that it isn't that when the indications are it is, then that isn't going to help.

    And you don't have to have trauma to damage muscles, it could just be the way you sit and your posture generally, maybe you moved differently setting one group of muscles against another. We had a dog where they thought he had early arthritis, but it turned out that he had jumped over a style while turning his head sideways and that was enough to damage a muscle in his neck which took two years before it was finally right again. So it wasn't trauma, it was just him doing what he did every day, but with a twist, literally!

    Think carefully about getting x-rays. They expose the body to radiation, and if the treatment isn't going to change, then there is a move to not do x-rays. You are young and there will be many times in the future when you will really need one. It might be less invasive and more helpful to have blood tests as they might show up other things like low vitamin D levels which can lead to greater pain.

  • Thank you for your advice and I've literally just got blood results back and I'm severely deficient in Vitamin D

  • There's your answer! Low Vitamin D makes pain seem worse. Have they suggested that you take a very high supplement, prescription only, or just over the counter ones? My son has been taking OTC Vitamin D for many years now to try to keep his levels up. The pain that normally goes along with his condition is pretty much under control and the least of his worries now. Good luck. And at least now you can relax!

  • Thank god! They've just told me to get over the counter ones so I'm gonna get them today. Fingers crossed it'll get better :D

  • Just be patient, it will take a few weeks of taking them to build up levels. Humans usually make their own Vitamin D during the summer (there isn't enough sunlight from Sept to April in most of the UK to make enough) and then store it through the winter, so if levels are low they may take a while to build up again. But eventually you will realise that you are feeling better.

  • hey, i have had chest pain since your age. It's a horrible thing that makes everything including breathing harder. And can be quite scary too.

    If they thought there was a chance of it being anything awful they would have done the tests by now. Doctors tend to do react to chest pain, so will check your heart etc. Diagnosis is often a matter of eliminating other possibilities so involves lots of tests, i think of it as having a MOT!! Least you get to know how your body is doing. Every single test they have done on me has shown nothing, except a high white blood cell count and low blood pressure.

    The most important thing is to have a good GP that you trust, that works with you. Have you had referral to a pain team yet?

    Take Care

    Kate

  • Hello :)

    I've only been referred to a cardiologist from my GP and they did the ECG and said they think it's Costochondritis and I have severely low vitamin D levels.

  • So do I, my gp told me she had read that low vitamin D seems to be linked to chronic pain. Although they do not know why but they do know it can make pain worse. My pharmacist said that a high percentage of people in the UK have low vit D. When the medical profession hear chest pain they think heart. So they have to check it out. I have had lots of ecgs over the years, including a 24hr one, that have all been ok. They still insist on doing them whenever i am in hospital but just sticking the pads on hurts!!

    The upside of costochondritis is there are multiple treatments they can try. I hope they find one that works for you.

    Look after yourself, take it slowly, and make sure you have some fun. It's more important than ever when you live with pain.

    xx

  • Aww thank you so much :)

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