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Severe / worsening chest pain

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Good day, and thanks in advance for the help.

What I'm feeling and about me:

For nearly 3 years I've been experiencing significant pain in my chest and back. It's constant, from morning to night, but does seem to be worse when I lay down in the evening to go to bed. The chest is definitely the more debilitating and worrysome of the two. Initially, it was an an area that I could pinpoint, but over time the parts in pain have seemed to spread.

The pain started on the left side of my body, upper chest just slightly below my collarbone. It seemed to be more towards the surface, and affected the same location in my back. Since, the pain has spread and now underneath my ribs on my left side are in pain as well as my left arm, from elbow down to pinky (only the outside of the arm, not the "thumb side"). It also is now felt as constant pain in my sternum.

It's becoming increasingly difficult to breath at times and I've found nothing that I do relieves the pain. I have been on increasingly strong doses of percocet for the past 2-3 years, and would like to stop taking these, but it's the only thing that seems to provide any relief at this point.

I am a 28 year old male. I was a smoker until about 6 months ago, roughly 1 pack / day for 10 years. I am 6'9", and have many symptoms of Marphan's Syndrome, but every test has come back negative.

What I've had done:

Roughly 6-8 months prior to the onset of the current issue, I did have a nissen fundoplication performed to relieve acid reflux and constant nausea. The reflux and nausea have been significantly better since, though I do still have the occasional bad day as far as these issues are concerned.

I have seen numerous doctors in regards to the pain and have had every heart test imaginable (CT, xrays, valve dye test(?), EKG.. others that I can't recall the names of) as well as both cervical and thoracic MRI's. I've tried going to a gluten free diet, but seen no difference in the way I felt after about 6 weeks of doing this. I've had chiropractic care with no results. The only thing that did seem to provide "some" relief (maybe 30% better) was an injection in to my collarbone area of what I was told was some type of steroid. Though the doctor did not want to continue to do this because of the risk and for how long I felt the relief (lasted about 4-6 weeks when I was told it should've lasted 3-6 months).

I don't know where to turn at this point, but the pain is getting to the point where I cannot focus and sleeping is becoming increasingly difficult. It's already contributed to my divorce, and now I'm afraid of what it's going to do to me both physically and mentally.

Please provide any sort of insight you can. And again, thank you for your time. Feel free to ask any sort of questions if additional information is needed.
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replied November 17th, 2010

Welcome to the ehealthforum and I am really glad to help you out. Your concern is regarding the chest tightness that you have after eating some foods. All these symptoms are of gastritis due to acid reflux from the stomach. It is usually after eating a heavy fatty meal and sedentary lifestyle. It can also be caused by drinking too much alcohol, prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or infection with bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).

Eat small nutritious meals at frequent intervals instead of a heavy single meal. Exercise frequently and take your dinner atleast 2 hrs prior to bedtime. Also raise the head end of the bed by 2 blocks.
Take some OTC antacid like Mylanta.You can also take ranitidine or omeprazole. Also keep your fluid electrolyte balance optimum by drinking lots of fluids.

If the symptoms worsen then it may be due to H.Pylori infection.You need antibiotics in that case after prescription from a physician. It is very difficult to precisely confirm a diagnosis without examination and investigations and the answer is based on the medical information provided. For exact diagnosis, you are requested to consult your doctor. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care.

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