Chest and breast pains: Can anyone reassure me... - Pain Concern

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Chest and breast pains

Lumi2019 profile image

Can anyone reassure me about costochondritis? I can’t find symptoms online like mine other than those related to the sternum. I was diagnosed with this a few days ago, however all the dr did was some physical movement tests and asked questions. I’d been having breast tenderness on and off and in lots of places (in both but mostly the left) and then it started getting worse near the middle of my chest. I get shooting pains sometimes and also a feeling of heavy pressure sometimes which builds suddenly and I think this makes me panic as I thought my chest was going to burst! (It’s happened 3 or 4 times). Mostly it’s the tenderness and shooting pains or aching worrying me, and it’s mainly the left side, but these aches and pains occur all over the place! The left side of sternum, over the top of my breast and feels like it’s sometimes behind my breast (it sometimes hurts for no reason or when coughing or laughing) and sometimes I feel an ache under my armpit (near the front ) and I’ve had aches around the side of my rib and the shoulder blade too. I’m totally terrified and keep breaking down. The Dr gave me naproxen. Please help, has anyone else had similar? Thank you

33 Replies

Hi Lumi, it certainly does sound like costochondritis as, after a year of having similar aches to you I have recently been diagnosed as having it. However, in order to eliminate other things I did have an ECG and a chest x Ray. I feel that your anxiety about it is not helping your situation and maybe you could go back to your doctor and have a further chat about it? I certainly felt happier when I knew there was nothing serious going on. I know that it is painful though and I hope you start to feel better soon.

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to 78901

Thank you. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been in discomfort for so long! Is there anything you find that helps? I may go back as I really don’t feel I know much about it or how to help it and it’s distressing. I’ve developed anxiety around cancer and think every pain that doesn’t go away must be that, and I did tell the Dr this too. I don’t even know what’s caused the costochondritis as my life this last year has been so inactivate compared to usual. I feel like stress, movement, certain positions and working on my laptop make it so much worse. Even my bras hurt some days, usually more as the day goes on. I just end up in tears all the time. Does costochondritis show up on xrays? I hope you have a good and more pain free day x

78901 profile image
78901 in reply to Lumi2019

Hi there, - no - a chest x Ray won’t show costochondritis - it’s actually diagnosed by elimination. First of all my Doctor thought I had gastric reflux but it didn’t go away when I took medication for that. And then I had the ECG and finally a chest x Ray. I am very careful about what I lift but there are times when I think it is definitely worse if I feel stressed. Could you ask for more tests to eliminate other things? I so totally understand how you are feeling about it as I was lying awake at night imagining I had all sorts. Apparently a lot of people end up in A&E thinking they are having a heart attack but it is actually costochondritis. I feel mine is so much better now I know what it is! Hope you can speak to your Dr - they need to know how stressed you are feeling about it. Please go back for reassurance- your mental health is as important as your aches and pains.

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to 78901

Thank you. Yes I definitely feel like my mental health has taken a massive bit through this and I wasn’t in the best place anyway. A couple of times I thought I was having a heart attack when I felt pressure in my chest and then became so worried a felt like something was going to burst, but I think that may be panic as it goes away if I calm myself down. The whole thing is awful though. I hope you feel better soon!

Batty1 profile image
Batty1 in reply to Lumi2019

Hi Lumi2019, Do you have arthritis? Sometimes costochondritis is caused by arthritis in the spine or RA.

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to Batty1

Hi Batty1, no I don’t have arthritis or RA. I think the cause could be a combination of extreme stress and poor posture? Not sure. The Dr didn’t confirm.

Batty1 profile image
Batty1 in reply to Lumi2019

You should inquire about arthritis of the spine or even RA … Arthritis does weird stuff to a person. I should mention I too get bra band pain/ tightness around my chest and I have psoriatic arthritis.

Nanny23 profile image
Nanny23 in reply to Batty1

My shoulder dr. Wants me to see a Reumatologist funny you mention RA. I have same pain as Lumi2019. Had hip replacement in Sept. I have those awful chest and shoulder pains. I tore my rotator cuff in Dec. nothing I do is helping that. I sure would love to find out why. Hope you and Lumi2019 feel better

I have had costochondritis with all the above symptoms and similar testing eliminations for the last 2 years. I am 63 and have come to the realisation that it was caused by over exersizing and age 'wear and tear'. I use Voltarol joint pain relief and TRY to be mindfull as I go through my busy life. (Naproxen causes stomach issues)

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to mbooks

Hi, I’m so sorry you have this too. I’m 38 and until covid was used to heavy exercise and had no troubles in this area at all. The last few months have been distressing for me and I wonder if a bought of crying to the point I couldn’t breathe a couple of months ago triggered this as the discomfort started after then but was so mild it bothered me more mentally than physically and I put it down to hormones. I’ve been given meds to protect my stomach from the naproxen but I don’t want to live on medication. At the moment I’m in pain even at rest - especially if stressed/upset and the Dr did say have anxiety. I wonder if relaxation would help with healing? But I’m shocked by the amount of people I’ve seen saying they’ve has this for a year or more! Everything online says a few days or weeks or months of really bad. Does the Voltarol really help?

Nanny23 profile image
Nanny23 in reply to Lumi2019

Hope you feel better soon. I have same pain as you but no diagnosis of costochondritis. Just a torn rotator cuff. It really is very painful. Hope you get some relief.

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to Nanny23

You too, please take care, and if it’s not easing see a Doctor. You may need something else to help you improve.

78901 profile image
78901 in reply to mbooks

I too am the same age as you and have come to the same conclusion- I am much more careful now about what and how I lift!

Hi Lumi2019

I’m sorry to hear your having problems I would definitely get a second opinion just to confirm or ask for more tests to rule out anything potentially nasty. In reference to Naproxen causes stomach problems so it may be worth asking for something like Lansoprazole to help protect your stomach or it might make symptoms perceive to be worse due to the medication causing a separate issue.

I hope that helps a bit sorry I can’t offer any more advice 😊

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to Rh2907

Thank you. I was given something to ensure the naproxen doesn’t irritate my stomach, slit hot different names to Lanzoprazole (Omeprazole?) so I’m hoping that part will be ok

Rh2907 profile image
Rh2907 in reply to Lumi2019

Brilliant, yep that will work 😊 I hope the medication helps with your condition 😊

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to Rh2907

Thank you

This too shall pass Lumi, as a retired Cardiac ICU RN. especially when working Military hospitals the wives seem to come to ER with chest pains more when troops deploy so naturally, we had to work them up, usually, young women and you could tell the pain was real, b/p usually always elevated. Dr. usually sends them home on something for inflammation, pain, and or anxiety. The area around the sternum bone in the middle of the chest is inflamed causing pain with big even small movements.

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to nurse1946

Thank you nurse1946, I couldn’t figure out anything other than stress which could have caused this and it feels more plausible to hear that from a nurse. I get a lot of pain and tenderness around the sternum and also above the breasts, but pain seems to radiate all over and through my chest and causes even more anxiety. I refused anxiety meds as I know they can make things worse for a couple of weeks and I could t cope with that right now, but I think I need to find ways to relax... I’d normally do some deep breathing, but can’t! It’s too uncomfortable. I’m just worried the naproxen won’t be enough and I’m desperate to get back to normal life and exercise in the gym again.

nurse1946 profile image
nurse1946 in reply to Lumi2019

Yoga is the worse. working out maybe how you hurt yourself or stressed, picking up something, it hard to tell the actual cause This condition is almost always caused by injury to the costochondral joint, such as from trauma or surgery. Sometimes that trauma can be due to something that seems minor, such as severe coughing. Inflammation is often associated with infection, and sometimes costochondritis can be caused by an infection. Before bed at night, close your eyes concentrate on being aware of your breathing when the thought crosses your mind and they will.. don't concentrate on them just go back to noticing your breathing... there is a space in your mind where God lives... try 15 minutes to start.

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to nurse1946

I don’t do yoga. I haven’t had an injury to my chest. I did strain my neck a few weeks ago but this didn’t come on until maybe a couple of weeks later. It actually began after my covid shot. I’ve been extremely stressed and my asthma was irritating me one day, I was coughing a little but not to the point that I would think it could cause inflammation, I’ve coughed far worse before. I’d had some discomfort before that but this did start to get worse a couple of days later. Maybe it’s a combination of things? Thank you for the advice, I’ve definitely been trying relaxation techniques so will try it.

I have similar pains. I tore my rotator cuff in a fall on ice in December. I was attributing my pain to that. After reading your post I’m not sure. I get the breast and under arm pain also. I never heard of costocondritis before. I hope you get some relief.

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to Nanny23

Hi Nanny23! I’m sorry to hear about your fall. Rotator cuff injuries are nasty so it could still be that? Makes sense because of where your pain is. Costochondritis seems to be an odd condition, and seems to affect people a bit differently too, a friend of mine had it but all her pain would concentrate around the sternum - she felt like it might crack!! It frightened her and used to wake her in the night. She had tenderness in the area too and said it hurt when the Dr pressed her ribs. My Dr examination didn’t hurt much but I find some days are much worse than others, I guess it depends where the inflammation is and how bad it is. Do you get any pain in the chest or ribs? Maybe see someone again to double check... perhaps you need some anti inflammatory medication? I don’t know, but if you’re still sore after 6 months it sounds like a bad injury. I hope you feel better soon

Nanny23 profile image
Nanny23 in reply to Lumi2019

Thanks. I have pain in upper right quadrant of stomach. I have Barrett’s esophagus and a hiatal hernia. It’s probably that. My shoulder pain is not getting better. I don’t know what next step is. I can’t take NSAIDS or anything but Tylenol arthritis. My stomach is a mess and won’t tolerate it. I have an appointment with my shoulder dr. Next Thursday. Thanks.

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to Nanny23

I’m glad you’ve got an appointment booked, hopefully that will shed some light on what’s wrong and your doctor can help. Constant pain is so awful, I hope you get some relief soon x

nurse1946 profile image
nurse1946 in reply to Nanny23

As long as you had your mammogram because most women fear breast cancer/not at all

Nanny23 profile image
Nanny23 in reply to nurse1946

Had breast cancer in 2002. Had a double mastectomy two sifferent kinds of cancer. Thank god been cancer free since. But just found out my implants are textured and are recalled. Can cause a rare form of lymphoma. Getting them removed in October

nurse1946 profile image
nurse1946 in reply to Nanny23

I'm sure you've heard of Probiotics which are mainly good bacteria. Try eating clean as we call it, with a lot of good bacteria you find in Yogurt with Alive Cultures, can't see anything moving the bacteria is microscopic, read the back of the bottles it will show what good bacteria is in the yogurt. Eating processed food with bad bacteria keeps us sickly, bloated, and overweight. I started off eating a couple of forks full of Sauerkraft daily for about a week, not cans, glass bottles only, it's to compete with the bad bacteria which is mostly in your gut. Careful with the yogurt, don't drink 8oz then go to Walmart.... you should have diarrhea, maybe a couple of days...after that start eating good bacteria, a lot of vegetables, mainly Fermented Foods.

Nanny23 profile image
Nanny23 in reply to nurse1946

I do take probiotics. Eat gluten and dairy free also. Which has helped some. Eat non processed food also. Just bought a new probiotic to help with irritable bowel. Eat yogurt mostly everyday too. Thanks I should try the sauercraut

Lumi2019 profile image
Lumi2019 in reply to nurse1946

I eat well, I’m quite conscious of what I have, my biggest downfall is liking chocolate. I’m finding I have to eat more food at the moment otherwise the naproxen makes me feel sick (even though I’m on tablets to also protect my stomach). I’m really fed up with how I sometimes have a day where I feel a lot better and then the next day I can be really bad again. I can’t even brush my finger tips lightly over my sternum tonight as it’s so painful - but it was quite good all day. It makes no sense and I’m so tired of it. It’s getting me down and I hate feeling so unfit. I’m trying all I can and nothing seems to be helping.

nurse1946 profile image
nurse1946 in reply to Lumi2019

Eat anything like 30 minutes before taking the pill. Naproxen, as I remember will screw up your stomach, and if it's not really helping trash it and eat more Fermented Foods which is good bacteria, back in the day the rave was sourkraft they would bury it in the back yard, just cabbage with salt, etc. They also Sagen their house, they thought it kept evil spirits away because they were not sick during the winter. Our systems are full of bad bacteria, try yogurt with Alive Cultures notice the bloat goes away. Google Fermented Foods.

Hi, I've just come across your post and the symptoms you have described are exactly what I'm going through now. My anxiety at the moment is through the roof because I literally feel like I'm going to have a heart attack. The doctor has just sent me home with naproxen and told me to take 1 twice a day, that doesn't seem to be helping! I was just wondering how are you doing now?

Hi, I was diagnosed with Costcochondritis 6 weeks ago. I had a fall & hit my chest but that was 6 months ago! I'm confused as to how I got this condition . At the minute I have also left breast pain and awful heartburn so I'm not feeling good or making much progress. I am just taking painkillers & volterol gel. Any advice anyone? I had an ECG & all ok there!

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