Chest Pains and Anxiety

My boyfriend has been experiencing these chest pains, directly below his breast, toward the middle of his chest. They are short, shooting, sharp pains. It has been there on and off for 3 days now. He says its not really pain, but just annoying and he is scared it might be his heart.

He has anxiety as well, and has been to the ER for chest pains in the past, and they have done EKG, Echo test, CT scan, CAT scans, blood work, etc, and it was actually recent in January, and they found nothing. Could it be part of his anxiety like I think it is? There is no history of heart attacks in his family. Thank you.

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Stephanie from Paterson, NJ

February 21, 20080 found this helpful

Like the Tension headaches, these chest pains are classic symptoms that people with severe anxiety have. They sound like Panic Attacks. Just like the headaches, the worrying about whats wrong just makes the symptoms worse because of the increased anxiety. It is very typical to want to attribute these problems to a common cause such as a heart attack, or with the headaches, a tumor.

He needs to be persistent with getting medical attention. Someone is going to see all of this for what it is, but it may take a few visits. That was my experience anyway.

Relaxation techniques and possibly an anti-anxiety medicine, if only for a short time may be what is required to get him through this cycle. It helped me a lot!

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February 21, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with the poster below me, it sounds like panic attacks. They can be very scary but they are not life threatening.

He really needs to talk to his doctor about this, however, to rule out anything serious.

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February 21, 20080 found this helpful

Gall Bladder problems or Stomach ulcers can have similar problems. Ultrasound of gall bladder should help diagnose that problem. But if the CT scan went into his abdomen then that should have been evident. Stomach ulcers are sometimes harder to diagnose. Sometimes a fecal blood test will be positive if there is severe bleeding. Sometimes just taking a Prilosec daily will help decrease the acid and let the stomach heal. Ask the doctor first!

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February 21, 20080 found this helpful

Anxiety, stress, acid reflux, and ulcers can cause these symptoms. So can certain foods, like tomatoes and citrus and spicy things. So can alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. But please see a doctor one more time to rule out anything serious like heart trouble. Hope your man realizes how lucky he is to have someone who cares so much. God Bless you both.

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February 21, 20080 found this helpful

He is actually taking Paxil CR 12.5mg for his anxiety right now. He has been on it for over a month now. It is helping pretty well so far, with all the occassional side effects like his tension headaches, and nervousness, and now the chest pains. He sees many doctors and he will be seeing his psychiatrist next week. Maybe he will need a higher dose of the Paxil. Thank you all for your replies. I have been telling him its his anxiety, and the sooner he believes that, the sooner he feels better.

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February 22, 20080 found this helpful

Quick tip, heat a cup of water to warm stage and put a few drops of peppermint oil in it.You can find it in, with the vanilla, in a grocery store. I get that, and if I push on my breast bone or sides of ribs or stomach, I get a burp or belch. It isn't heartburn but I call it trapped gas. Works for me and is cheaper than prescription antacids like Zantac.

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February 23, 20080 found this helpful

Panic Attacks can have a physical origin. The Cleveland Clinic diagnosed me with a form of autonomic dysfunction that affects my heart and blood pressure, which in turn causes anxiety and chest pains (not the other way around; it wasn't the anxiety causing the heart to race). It can be diagnosed with a Tilt Test by a cardiologist IF they are very familiar with such conditions (NCS and POTS). It is just becoming more understood and often gets misdiagnosed as a psychiatric problem. However, for your boyfriend it would be a good idea to rule out any cardiac or gastrointestinal etiologies first. NCS and POTS are treated symptomatically according to the particular patient's symptoms, and this is often trial-and-error.

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February 24, 20080 found this helpful

Ok, well he actually couldn't take it anymore, so on thursday he went to the ER. The doctor told him it was gas, and it feels like its stuck by his chest, because he also has acid reflux. They did an EKG, and cardiogram, also chest xrays. His heart is fine. Thanks to all of you, once again.

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June 26, 20100 found this helpful

{RE: Quick tip, heat a cup of water to warm stage and put a few drops of peppermint oil in it.You can find it in, with the vanilla, in a grocery store. I get that, and if I push on my breast bone or sides of ribs or stomach, I get a burp or belch. It isn't heartburn but I call it trapped gas. Works for me and is cheaper than prescription antacids like Zantac}. I was at work, taking a break in the cafeteria, when I noticed a physician colleague getting a cup of hot water and sipping it. I was curious about this and was told this was the best treatment he has found to break up trapped gas.

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July 25, 20140 found this helpful

I began having panic attacks after 9/11 and then a run of allergic reactions. I also had chest pains sometimes.My Dr finally put me on a medication called Remeron which is made specifically for panic attacks. I took a number of different med's before this one and they did not help very much. For the trapped gas problem, I've always used baking soda and water. It's cheap and effective.

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