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Panic attacks and arm & shoulder pain (Page 1)

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i suffer from panic/anxiety which started about 2 months ago. i've always had a little anxiet but never panic the first once scared me. i've been to the hospital acouple of times, the gp a couple of times, and the cardiologist and everything with my tests check out good. what is scaring me me is my left arm and shoulder aches that come and go and they trigger sometimes full blown panic attacks , i feel like i'm having a heart attack. the thing is i had these aches before the panic attacks started, but now when i feel that twinged of pain i panic.why? i'm 43 have my b/p under control cholesterol under control and take a beta blocker, xanax and also exercise and eat right. although heart disease runs in my family. why does this ache scare me so much when i've been reassured that my panic is just making it worse. i know at at premeno age and have palpitations also is this a symptom? does somebody know what i'm talking about. Have you been there? sometimes i feel like i'm out of control.
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First Helper stevendude
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replied January 6th, 2008
Common In Panic Disorder
Hi, I have the same symptoms. i was just on another blog on this same site that was a full page of people who have panic attacks, anxiety, and chest pain accompanied with left arm pain. I am only 24 and i am pretty sure I dont have heart disease, but just because of the chest pain i get from anxiety, I recently started panicking that I may be having a heart attack or some problem with my heart. Originally it was just chest pain. Then I looked up heart attack on the web, and I think that the knowledge of left arm pain psychologically brought it on as a symptom. If you look into panic attacks/disorders, one of the major symptoms is thinking one is having a heart attack, to the point of the person going to the er. It is quite common. So far i have had and EKG which came out normal. I think if you have had all the necessary tests done to rule out any real heart disease, even if it means having second or third opinions so you can really sleep at night, you need to seek new anxiety/panic treatments until you find something that works for you. You might want to look into interoceptive desensitization. It does not sound like a fun treatment, but to me it sounds like the most effective treatment out there, because your psychiatric professional basically induces a series of attacks on you, thus teaching you that the symptoms you frequently feel are nothing serious, and you survive, etc. I have read that this is very effective, and often cures the patient. If heart disease runs in your family, you are smart to take your symptoms seriously, and you should not consider yourself crazy. But based on what you have described, it is probably the anxiety. The problem is that people who suffer from this, myself included, think that the anxiety comes from some specific source, like remembering a traumatic event, or feeling a physical symptom like chest pain and thinking they will die, or whatever. But I have recently discovered that a lot of those symptoms eventually start to just come on their own, even if I am out at a party with friends, feel perfectly fine, have not been thinking about the stress in my life, my anxiety, have no symptoms of anything, and out of nowhere, boom, a symptom for no reason. I think that when the disorder is in developing stages, you are more likely to have what seems like a clear reason to have an attack. But over time of not having it treated properly, I think symptoms like left arm pain, along with any number of other possible symptoms, just recurr on their own because of the subconscious fear that you have developed and that has been associated with your fear in general. I myself know at this point that I need professional help. I was just on the wikipedia.org site titled panic attack (please read it) and between physical, mental, and emotional symptoms listed, I had about 21 symptoms that I experience in any given week. I think there are tons of people out there with this problem, who are constantly trying to diagnose problems, and they (actually we) need to focus on being treated for anxiety/panic disorders. Hope this is helpful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_attack
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replied January 30th, 2008
I go through the same exact thing. I get a pain in my chest, then arm, maybe some shortness of breath and then boom, a panic attack. I am 24 and went to the ER in september, they ran tests and said I was okay. I went to my physician and they cleared me as well. I was still worried so i got a third opinion, and they cleared me. I got two EKGs, had 2 blood tests and they listened to my heart and family history and gave me the all clear. I am in counseling now, I go once a week. It helps. I am also on cymbalta and and ativan (when needed), and I recently got on Calms Forte, although i only started that like 2 days ago. I started it so I wouldnt have to be on ativan my whole life. With all this info I still get scared that Im having a heart attack. I dont know why.
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replied February 3rd, 2008
im 25 and ive been dealing with this since i was about 14- you know the funny thing is, i didnt start having the pains in my arm and chest until i was about 22 or 23, old enough to realise my own mortality. and i really think that that is all that this is, my own mortality. i dont know what really gets the ball rolling. but i tell myself when my head spins around and the panic stes in that "this is only a ten minute thing" and "you think if you were having a heart attack that you could actually sit down and evaluate your symptoms?, no, youd be on the floor gasping for air"and that usually helps my re-center myself a little. i find that the attacks are worse when im having a hard time dealing with things like excess stress or if i have too much coffee during the day.
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User Profile
replied February 3rd, 2008
What a pain .....
I have had the same thing for about 2 years...pain in the left shoulder down the arm funny feeling in the fingers, chest pain is another thing...I have Costochondritis, it's a condition that I have inflammation of the cartliage between my sternum and ribs the pain at times is so intense I fell like I'm having a heart attack and that brings on anxiety...then I feel detactched from my environment (light headed) I have been checked out by almost every specialist and they said it stems from anxiety....at times I didn't beleive them and I thought they were just trying to brush me off...

I take Adivan (PRN) and that usually helps....we are not crazy when we have these syptoms but trying to explain to anyone about the way you feel when you suffer from anxiety they just look at you and say I know what you mean...uh, you don't...
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replied February 4th, 2008
It's gone
My arm pain and chest pain is gone. I just figured I'd let you guys know. I would like it to go away forever. I read up on Cymbalta and it mainly treats depression, but I need something to help with depression AND anxiety. I'm going to talk to my doc about it.
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replied April 13th, 2008
I have had the same symptoms as other posters here.

I usually try and reassure myself that it's my anxiety showing itself.

Yes, it's scary because it's what we're told a heart attack is like.

I have been given beta blockers, but I'm forever forgetting to take them. This is usually a reminder for me that I need to start taking them again.
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replied April 15th, 2008
Experienced User
anyones
Anyones shoulder pain and anxiety pains get worse while walking?
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replied May 19th, 2012
worse while walking
yes my pain/numbness is on the upper left side of my back and runs threw my left arm and does get worse at times when i am walking it is scarey and make me want to always be with someone just incase
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replied September 23rd, 2009
Yep
Yes Jodie, I've walked while having a anxiety attack and it definitely does not help. Its probably due the fact the walking increases your heart rate and in addition to the anxiety it really makes the experience a bit worse. I suggest if you're having an attack, try to find the nearest bench or chair and sit down and take a breather.
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replied November 21st, 2009
thanks for all your posts i am just starting with this. I to feel the same and it is terifing. The arm pain and the fear of having a heart atack is the worse. I am only 23 and just want this to get under control. I am having my first son in 2 weeks and i am scared of having these and being able to take care of my son. My wife is still trying to understand what i go threw what treatments have help you guys? i take zolof right now but it hasent kicked in yet thanks alot. Mike
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replied December 28th, 2009
Re: What a pain .....
[quote="Therapyanyone"]** i can totally relate to this post,i ,m going through the same thing again!!!! i just moved and had a really hard time getting outta a abusive sometimes relationship, lost my pop less than year ago and,i,m trying to get a doctor out in the new state being new mexico, and its really hard and they do just look at you as what ever here take these,??? i have severe muscle spasm and muscle tenderness poain in sternum chest and mainly moreso in between my shoulder blades disabilitating pain so tight it burns and wiggles ,freaky,and i have bad bad back pain that radiates into my hip left side and down my leg into l kneecap and into heel of l foot and its horrible making me angryt sore and distant from people,as i know only 2 people here and have no help for talking about it,any one know any place in santa fe area for help that they can give you w/out treating you like a drug addict or pill seeker??? i,m in bad shape and want help??? really dried up resources here and its that terrible stessed time yr xmas and new yr.....any one have any ideas id appreciate hearing from you, i cant take the pains and the anxiety fear attacks much longer the er,s never help you...just wait around few hrs and then the bills start flowing in and bamm more stress.....thanks the bad back......
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replied February 19th, 2010
I myself had these problems for the last 2 years now, when my brother in law suddenly died of heart attack, at age of 32, then my friend also died with heart attack. i t was a big blow to me and I started to feel scared, actually I'm an ICU nurse and I see those patients suffering from chest pains, but now with all these tragedies i developed anxiety, I felt pain on my left shoulder especially when i'm in a very stressful situations, i cannot even sleep the whole night,and when I start to think of my health conditions i feel the palpitations and panic attacks. but now I realized that I have to control this feelings because it only makes my condition worst, so i tried to go to gym for some exercise after my work and it helps me a lot, because by the time I finished my exercise i already feel sleepy and it really feels good, I tried to mix with all my friends during weekends and with my family.If i feel the anxiety attacks coming i quickly divert my attention to other things... anxiety will kill us if we dont strike it now... prayers,exercise and a positive mind can fight anxiety..
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replied March 28th, 2010
I too have been suffering from this illness for a few years now. I'm a 48 year old male and it first happend to me about 6 years ago when I fell sick with a thyroid disease which caused problems with my eyes (I now suffer from dry eyes all the time). At the same time this was happening the company I worked for was going under, so lost my job and had health problems. These two events triggered anxiety and panic attacks and I had several in just a few days until I saw my doctor and he explained I was not having a heart attack but panic attacks.

The pain in my chest, left arm, hand and foot had me convinced I was having a heart attack, but it was all in my mind and I had to learn to control it.

I have worked hard over these years to control this but just recently it started up again last week and I've had many attacks with pain in my chest, left arm, hand and foot as before but much worse.

This is very very scary, and the only way to understand is to go through this. Other just can't understand.

I'm going for some tests on Monday next week to rule out any other problems.

So I can see that many people suffer from this and we have to find a way to overcome this.

Good luck to all.
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replied January 24th, 2011
Re: Panic attacks and arm & shoulder pain
yes friend i do know exactly what your talking about. im 25 and in seeming great health. i have been to the er twice on account of these strange occurences. my left arm will start out aching, then my wrist will hurt. my fingers start to tingle then my whole arm goes flush. at this point im in an all out panic thinking im having a heart attack. ive had all the blood work you can think of done, plus ekg. they tested my pulminary and thyroid. do you know what the diagnosis was? stress!! i have anxiety. i thaught i was too young for stress but i guess not. but ill tell you what helps me and it may help you too. when you feel the sensations coming, do ANYTHING to get your mind off it, and fast cuz you only have about 30 seconds to do it. grab someone and start talking about last weeks game, sing a favorite song, or punch a wall. the trick is not to think about it and its a hell of alot easier said than done and it takes a while to master, but when you do you will feel like a new person.
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replied January 24th, 2011
That is exactly what I do.. and it does help alot.. My doc says it's all in my mind.. It's very difficult to control but as you say, you must do it real fast..

thanks for the reply
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replied August 22nd, 2011
I had my first serious panic attack in January. I felt severe pain and numbness at the same time down my left arm then I couldn't breathe. I thought I was dying! ever since I had the full blown panic attack I'm worrying and getting stressed in between attacks waiting for the next attack to come on. It's making me feel miserable! I'm on a lot of medication yet I still get symptoms and when I do the first thing I think is that I'm going to die. It's sounds insane I know! I've had tests done and I'm a perfectly healthy 23 year old so why do I still think I'm going to die?
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replied May 12th, 2012
I know this is kind of outdated but whatever im gonna post anyways because it seems to ease my mind hearing people with the exact same symptoms as me the only difference is mine lasts for quite awhile i've had this problem for about 5 years now currently 21 years old. I fear for my life everyday constantly checking my pulse all day i havent been to the psychiatrist or therapist in years due to the fact that where i live now lacks GOOD psychiatric care I just want to tell people you can get through it and like one guy said if we were having a heart attack we'd be on the ground gasping for air good luck to all
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replied May 19th, 2012
Yeah ive done a lot of research i use to abuse cocaine for about 4 years only on weekends and during party time but im convinces that the cocaine abuse is what has caused me to have these panic attacks and pain/numbness and tingling in my left arm back and chest i also used to smoke marijuana never was a big drinker tho...anyway i have quit all drug abuse i am a non smoker and don't drink have been completely sober for 2 months now but still have the same symptoms im only 25have been to the doctors and ER because i thought i might have heart problims although all the test came back i am okay i also have no history of heart atacks in my family but anxiety issuse is in my family tree. i just hope i havent done so much damage that i cant get back to normal good luck to all!
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replied October 17th, 2012
I have had the same EXACT thing as many of you. I hurt my shoulder skiing years ago. Now it aches once in a while. Combine that with the fact that I lean on my left arm all day while I am on the computer (I use my right hand for the mouse), plus I always lay on my left side when watching TV. I know all these things..yet still, whenever my arm starts to throb for no reason I end up in a panic attack. I can usually fight them off, but every once in a while it turns into a full blown panic attack. I have been to the hospital several times, always turns out fairly normal, heart is always okay. Why do I do this to myself? Why can't I control it? I have never been a coward, but this just defies reason.
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replied November 10th, 2012
I just had my first severe panic attack today.
I'm only 17, and I was at school. I've had minor anxiety attack and heart fluttering/shallow breath since I started adderall at the end of August.
Because Adderall is linked to heart disease, my left arm has been sore and hurting, and I was getting tingling/sharp pains in my limbs, I was convinced it was a heart attack (which made me panic more). The panic attack lasted 5 1/2 hours (on and off) and my school counselor gave me a paper bag to breathe in so that I could get CO2 to my head (I was hyperventilating and I didn't even realize it aha), and checked my pulse, which was about 100 (not horrible, but my heart rate is usually very low because I'm anemic and I used to bike a lot). Anyways, the breathing and heart racing have subsided, but my chest still aches a bit and my arm feels heavy and consistently aches. From reading your posts, I guess it's in my mind, which is a freaky thought. I've also considered that it may be related to my bad back (a compressed nerve, maybe). Not sure, but my mom doesn't think getting checked out by an EMT isn't necessary. I think maybe knowing that I'm fine would help the panic. I read a bit too much about heart attacks online, and I read that women's symptoms usually aren't as clear as men's... I just wish my arm would stop hurting. Anyways, I'd like to not start panicking in the middle of math again, so if anyone has any tips that I can use to assure myself that I'm fine and not having a heart attack/heart condition issue, let me know.
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