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bbbogh
@bbbogh

Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 16, 2018

Chest Discomfort/Pain for 3+ Months

Posted by @bbbogh, Fri, Nov 16 10:33am

I'm a 28 year old male with no history of heart or lung problems. I've been dealing with mild chest discomfort for over 3 months now and am in need of some answers. This pain sits in the center of my chest. It doesn't worsen with exercise but after sleeping the pain improves dramatically. Most mornings, I do not have any chest pain until about 8-9am. I do not have any other symptoms currently. My pain has never been very debilitating, mostly it's just a irritating pang throughout the day.

I have visited a doctor 4 times trying to diagnosis the pain. In the beginning, two coworkers and I started having chest tightness and stiff joints all that the same time, so we assumed it was something viral or bacterial. None of us had any sort of cough, fever or other symptoms. The pain would escalate throughout the day, some to the point where one coworker went into the ER thinking he was having a heart attack. Initially, we all suspected Walking Pneumonia. I did a round of antibiotics (z-pack) and was beginning to feel better. But, at the end of the following week, the chest pain crept back in. This was consistent with my coworkers as well. I also took Flonase for a couple weeks.

I then suspected some sort of mold exposure since we work in a fairly old office space. Blood tests for mold exposure came back at low levels, but nothing that should cause any symptoms. The office was tested for mold and those levels were again low, but not harmful. I then had blood samples taken to test for other allergies/red flags, chest x-ray, and EKG, all which came back normal. I was prescribed an inhaler to see if that would open my airways. The inhaler did not help. I tried changing my diet to see if it was my acid reflux acting up (which I've had most of my life and take Omeprazole to control). Initially my pain seemed to be lessening, but after a week of an adjusted diet, the chest pain remained and it might have just been a placebo affect.

I don't have any other lung issues that I've noticed with this, so I'm unsure if I'm in the correct discussion group. My coworkers are still experiencing this chest pain/discomfort as well. I'm fairly certain it is not heart related since all tests came back negative. Any suggestions for what might be going on? I'm having a follow-up doctors appointment soon, but I wanted to try my luck here since my doctor has not yet been able to diagnose the pain.

REPLY

Have you considered GERD?

Hello & welcome to connect:
I had similar pains for two years. I want to ask if anyone has suggested a Chest CT to rule out a nodule?

@merpreb

Have you considered GERD?

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I thought of GERD right away since I've been dealing with acid reflux for so long, although I've been able to manage that fairly easily for years. I've never had this kind of pain from my acid reflux though. I did adjust my diet and it seemed to help at first, but the pain is still there. It's definitely something I'll look into further.

@llwortman

Hello & welcome to connect:
I had similar pains for two years. I want to ask if anyone has suggested a Chest CT to rule out a nodule?

Jump to this post

I have not had a Chest CT. Is that a pain that's fairly mild? Does it come and go periodically? Thanks for the suggestion, I'll bring it up at my next appointment.

@bbbogh

I have not had a Chest CT. Is that a pain that's fairly mild? Does it come and go periodically? Thanks for the suggestion, I'll bring it up at my next appointment.

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It can come and go..why haven't scans been taken? 3 months is a long time to be in pain.

The pain can be very bad or mild..depending on a lot of things.

@bbbogh It's interesting that both you and a few coworkers have the same symptoms. Are you doing a physical job holding your arms overhead? Is it a high stress job? I'm asking this because I have a condition that produces symptoms in my chest. When your pain starts at 8 or 9 AM, what are you doing that might be bringing it on and how long time wise were you doing this? Do you think it could be work related? Are you and the coworkers who have the symptoms doing exactly the same job? Does this happen on your days off? Is it positional or does it come on with a certain posture? Do you get breaks to stretch at work? Are you practicing good ergonomics at work?

What I have is thoracic outlet syndrome and it is aggravated by bad posture and it becomes a problem through incorrect use of muscles that causes a nerve entrapment in-between the rib cage and collar bone. It causes my neck and chest muscles to be too tight and can put a muscle spasm right into my chest. It affects my breathing and I start using my neck muscles when I have trouble breathing which I do because of asthma instead of breathing from the diaphragm. TOS can cause pain radiating to the arms and cut off circulation a bit, but it also puts an ache into the front collar bone area, and you can have it on both sides. Often it is worse on one side. It might be worth asking about, but you would need to see a neurologist who understands it, and a lot of doctors don't and they think it is rare. It's not rare. Look for a medical center where they treat TOS to find a specialist who is familiar with it. If you have this, physical therapy helps. My PT does a lot of manual work with myofascial release. See myofascialrelease.com for info on that. If it's a physical problem, that would make sense that the inhaler and antibiotics didn't help. You can also be allergic to molds even though they have tested "low" in the workplace. Molds cause airways and lung tissues to swell. I feel that when I have problems. Here is some information on TOS https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thoracic-outlet-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20353988

@bbbogh– Hi again. Jennifer Hunter asked some very good suggestions about work. We haven't heard from you in a bit and wonder if you have been back to your doctor or have received any relief from your chest pain?

Hi:
Some people are extremely sensitive to small amount of mold. Or what about Rayon. That is very common in old buildings. What about mildew too. If you guys are getting sick then most likely it’s coming from the area that you are working from.

@jenniferhunter

@bbbogh It's interesting that both you and a few coworkers have the same symptoms. Are you doing a physical job holding your arms overhead? Is it a high stress job? I'm asking this because I have a condition that produces symptoms in my chest. When your pain starts at 8 or 9 AM, what are you doing that might be bringing it on and how long time wise were you doing this? Do you think it could be work related? Are you and the coworkers who have the symptoms doing exactly the same job? Does this happen on your days off? Is it positional or does it come on with a certain posture? Do you get breaks to stretch at work? Are you practicing good ergonomics at work?

What I have is thoracic outlet syndrome and it is aggravated by bad posture and it becomes a problem through incorrect use of muscles that causes a nerve entrapment in-between the rib cage and collar bone. It causes my neck and chest muscles to be too tight and can put a muscle spasm right into my chest. It affects my breathing and I start using my neck muscles when I have trouble breathing which I do because of asthma instead of breathing from the diaphragm. TOS can cause pain radiating to the arms and cut off circulation a bit, but it also puts an ache into the front collar bone area, and you can have it on both sides. Often it is worse on one side. It might be worth asking about, but you would need to see a neurologist who understands it, and a lot of doctors don't and they think it is rare. It's not rare. Look for a medical center where they treat TOS to find a specialist who is familiar with it. If you have this, physical therapy helps. My PT does a lot of manual work with myofascial release. See myofascialrelease.com for info on that. If it's a physical problem, that would make sense that the inhaler and antibiotics didn't help. You can also be allergic to molds even though they have tested "low" in the workplace. Molds cause airways and lung tissues to swell. I feel that when I have problems. Here is some information on TOS https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thoracic-outlet-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20353988

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I have a fairly cushy office job. We don't do much physical labor throughout the day. Summers can be high stress but for now, it's relaxed. We have roughly the same jobs/responsibilities. I do get the pains on my day off, it doesn't seem to come/go with a change in posture or position. I do get up and move every hour or so and I'm cognizant of that throughout the day.

I saw the doctor again. Since all my previous X-rays, EKG and blood work have come back normal, he decided to concentrate on my acid reflux. The doctor doubled my Omeprazole to 40mg a day instead of 20 to see if that would get the acid under control. He said any extra acid can cause spasms and cause pains similar to what I'm experiencing. He said to take a few weeks to see how it works out.

It's been about a week since my appointment and, so far, my pain has been lessening with every day. This has happened before when I've gotten treatment, only to have the pain return in a few weeks. I'm wondering if its some sort of placebo effect now or if the stress of thinking of the constant pain is causing further pain. I will add that I have 10-month-old twins at home and am living with my mother-in-law. So added stress could be causing my acid reflux to spike.

Of the two coworkers who were experiencing similar symptoms, one feels back to normal while the other is still getting constant pains. Although, his pain has moved nearer to his abdomen. His doctor has yet to find anything of note, he is getting an ultrasound Friday.

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts, my apologies for my late response. I'll report back in a week or so.

@redhead63

Hi:
Some people are extremely sensitive to small amount of mold. Or what about Rayon. That is very common in old buildings. What about mildew too. If you guys are getting sick then most likely it’s coming from the area that you are working from.

Jump to this post

Even though mold levels were shown to be low, I'm still convinced that we were exposed to higher levels of mold months ago and that was the beginning of our symptoms. Now, we're dealing with the fallout. There was a leak in the ceiling a month or so before we all became ill. It was never fixed and the water damage was in the workspace for quite some time. It's hard to verify, but it is really the only thing that fits with all our symptoms and timing.

@merpreb

The pain can be very bad or mild..depending on a lot of things.

Jump to this post

My doctor said we would move onto scans/more testing if this round of meds doesn't straighten me out (see my other post for my current treatment). My pain has never really gotten severe, it's usually just a dull annoyance these days. Early on it was enough to keep me awake, but still wasn't searing or anything.

@bbbogh

I have a fairly cushy office job. We don't do much physical labor throughout the day. Summers can be high stress but for now, it's relaxed. We have roughly the same jobs/responsibilities. I do get the pains on my day off, it doesn't seem to come/go with a change in posture or position. I do get up and move every hour or so and I'm cognizant of that throughout the day.

I saw the doctor again. Since all my previous X-rays, EKG and blood work have come back normal, he decided to concentrate on my acid reflux. The doctor doubled my Omeprazole to 40mg a day instead of 20 to see if that would get the acid under control. He said any extra acid can cause spasms and cause pains similar to what I'm experiencing. He said to take a few weeks to see how it works out.

It's been about a week since my appointment and, so far, my pain has been lessening with every day. This has happened before when I've gotten treatment, only to have the pain return in a few weeks. I'm wondering if its some sort of placebo effect now or if the stress of thinking of the constant pain is causing further pain. I will add that I have 10-month-old twins at home and am living with my mother-in-law. So added stress could be causing my acid reflux to spike.

Of the two coworkers who were experiencing similar symptoms, one feels back to normal while the other is still getting constant pains. Although, his pain has moved nearer to his abdomen. His doctor has yet to find anything of note, he is getting an ultrasound Friday.

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts, my apologies for my late response. I'll report back in a week or so.

Jump to this post

@bbbogh – When I have bad reflux with spasms I take FD Guard. Directions on the box teal you about eating with it. There are two kinds of guards- this one is for pain above the belly button. I also take omeprazole twice a day. I'm glad that your pain has lessened. Congratulations on your twins!

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