Strange Chest Symptoms for a Month
About a month ago now, I started getting a dull, constant pain that felt like it was behind my sternum. It was coming and going on a daily basis, and seemed to feel better when I would eat food, but then come back. Some background– I’m a 26 year old female, no underlying health issues, and while I do eat fast food or “junk food”, I mostly have a healthy diet. About a week after that pain started, it shifted into a pain that felt like it was moreso in my lungs, and I started to feel a dull pain sometimes when breathing in deeply. Again– comes and goes, but for the most part it’s a consistent annoying pain throughout the day (felt moreso with deep breaths). Since it turned into more of a “lung pain” (I use quotation marks because I’m not sure if it’s my lungs or just feels like my lungs– I’ve had no trouble breathing) it hasn’t seemed to improve when eating food as much as it did before. As of right now, it bothers me dully throughout the day, but I’m still getting the pain when breathing deeply, some days worse than others. Again, no trouble breathing or any other symptoms, and I’m sleeping well. What bothers me most is that it’s gone on this long (4 weeks now) which seems unusual, and with what’s going on now, I don’t want to go see a doctor unless absolutely necessary. A lot of what I’ve seen online tends to point to it having to do with acid reflux (which I do get sometimes based on what I eat)– but again, could that cause a constant chest issue for 4+ weeks now? It seemed to come on suddenly without any major diet change, which is what steers me away from that a bit. Thank you in advance for any and all input! And I do plan to see a doctor once the COVID-19 pandemic starts to slow down (hopefully), if it keeps persisting.
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Interesting, thanks for the reply! Is this something that's constant for you, or how long does it tend to last? My main concerns are that this has been happening for a full month now, and that it hurts when breathing deeply. I do definitely suffer from anxiety– I've never been officially diagnosed for it, but I've always been a very anxious person and it affects me all the time, sometimes physically.
I was your age when my digestive issues started. It was one thing then another throughout the years. I sure wish I had understood the role anxiety played. I would highly recommend you begin a meditation practice. If you are in a large city you can find meditation groups you can attend to help you learn about meditation. Getting a handle on anxiety early will be a great help to you. Secondly there are therapists who can help you understand how emotions affect your body and how to control that. This does not mean the chest pain is in your head. It’s very real and if it is from esophageal spasms, I think the hyoscyamine will help. But anxiety can cause the spasms or other digestive issues. Now all that being said there’s a possibility that it’s not digestive but possibly an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the rib to the breastbone. I also had that in the past. My treatment was ibuprofen. Heating pad also helped. And it can last for weeks. And for me the pain from esophageal spasms remains a dull pain for weeks. When pain gets worse I use the hyoscyamine.
@baxtersmom @tess0831 Omeprazole is actually the generic of Prilosec. Lansoprazole is the generic of Prevacid. They are very very similar.
I too have Barrett’s but mine is currently in remission. My Gastroenterologist wants me to continue to take omeprazole though. he has mentioned a couple of others I could take instead if the potential long term effects of omeprazole concern me, but the others need to be taken twice daily.
I too am having constant pain in my right chest. It started on March 31st. No fever, No breathing problems and No high blood pressure. It’s driving me crazy!
@tess0831 Since you mentioned anxiety and that it hurts to breathe deeply, I though I could give you another possibility to think about like a physical breathing problem. Anxiety will just make it worse and you start breathing by yanking up from your neck to expand the rib cage instead of using your diaphragm for slow deep inhalations. I have some issues with this because I have thoracic outlet syndrome and that affects how my rib cage moves because of muscle tightness between my neck and chest that is tighter on one side. I get to where it hurts a bit to get deeper inhalation lower down in the lungs as they expand until it is used to expanding there. Brisk walking could help because you can get deeper inhalations and kind of retrain your body how to breathe properly. Anxiety pushes it toward tight upper chest exertions, and exercise will promote diaphramatic breathing. I'm sure you've had a lot of other good suggestions to consider and with COVID-19, you have to pay attention to breathing issues if they point to those kinds of symptoms. I do know when you breathe using your upper chest muscles, it speeds up your heart and causes some anxiety. If you are able to go for a walk to test this theory, you might be able to answer your questions. Listening to music and doing deep relaxed breathing in time to the music also helps reduce anxiety.
Hello @peaceharmony, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I’m happy you’re here and joining the discussion. I read that you’re having constant chest pain on the right side since March 31st. Can you describe the type of pain or share any other symptoms? Have you chatted with your provider yet?