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Chest pain for 3 months

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I'm a 28 year old female. Never had any former health problems, not even a broken bone.

First "attack" (what I call them for lack of anything else) happened in November. Woke me up early in the morning. The majority of the pain is right down the center of my chest to the bottom of my sternum then out to the sides. Kind of like an upside down T. It felt like my lungs had cramped up, making it hard to breathe and the pain was pretty bad. This first attack lasted about 10 or 15 minutes. It went away and all was fine for about 2 weeks. Happened again...same exact thing...pain came on suddenly, lasted 10 or 15 minutes then went away. Third time was, again, about 2 weeks later. This is when it started to scare me...I was light headed, couldn't catch my breath, felt like I was going to pass out, and the pain was doubled. Ended up in the ER. EKG, chest XRay, blood work. All normal. I went to the ER 2 more times in the past few months. They've done the same tests and all come back normal. The attacks that happen now last 3 to 5 hours and are happening once or twice a week up to 3 in a 2 day period. The pain is excruciating. Imagine the worst calf cramp you've ever experienced and move that to your chest. There's no warning or provocation, I can be sitting at home watching tv, asleep, walking around a store...it's completely random. And I now have almost constant pains in my chest. The attacks pain level is a 10...the constant pain is around a 3 with sharp pains just below my collar bone and all around the bottom of my ribs at about a 5 or 6.

I've been to my doctor. He's done a stress test on my heart and EKGs of his own. All normal. I've been given anti-spasm medicine to see if my esophagus was spasming. Nope. Muscle relaxers to see if the muscles in my chest wall were cramping. Nope. Ibuprofen 3 times a day to rule out costochondritis which didn't help at all. During the attacks, I have tried putting an ice pack and heat pad, walking, sitting, laying in every possible position, stretching...anything that might help make it stop or even just not hurt so much. I have a prescription for vicodin for this pain which, as soon as the pain starts, I take 2 or 3...I know that sounds bad, but I have no tolerance for pain medication and they put me to sleep. I don't have heartburn, I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't do any drugs, I'm a pretty laid back person. I have a doctors appointment in about a week and am pretty tired of just being medicated.

Is there any suggestions as to what this could be? Whatever it is, it's is progressively getting worse...Nov-Jan I had 3 - 4 attacks. Feb I had 7 and the pain is spreading. It hurts straight through the center of my chest into my back and up to right above my collar bones. It's getting to the point that I worry about going places...am I going to have an attack while I'm driving? In the middle of a store?

Hope someone can help and thank you for any feedback.
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replied March 27th, 2011
Hello and thank you for posting your health query on E health Forum.

From the history provided here, it seems that your pain could be due to peptic ulcer disease or diffuse esophageal spasm.

Proper testing for such conditions include barium studies and Upper GI endoscopy.

You might consult a gastroenterologist for proper evaluation and specific treatment.

I hope this helps.


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