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does anyone feel like they're having a heart attack
10 Replies
ljkentucky - August 5

My chest hurts, I have pain under my lower rib and outer rib on left side. Sometimes shooting pains mostly just dull constant ache. Left arm and shoulder hurts. Most of these pains are in certain spots that I can point out and rub to the point of bruising. Sometimes these pains feel like indigestion. Ache runs all the way down my left leg sometimes. I've had these off and on for several years and have already had numerous heart and GI tests--all normal. It's really troubling that these are all signs of a heart attack, but if I went to the ER everytime I felt like this I'd be broke and they'd have me committed. My doctor mentioned that I might have fibromyalgia and is willing to treat it. Just wondering if anyone else has this type of pain.


Fantod - August 5

Costochondritis (kos-toe-KHON-dri-tis) is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum). It causes sharp pain in the costosternal joint — where your ribs and breastbone are joined by rubbery cartilage. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

Your doctor might refer to costochondritis by other names, including chest wall pain, costosternal syndrome and costosternal chondrodynia. When the pain of costochondritis is accompanied by swelling, it's referred to as Tietze syndrome.

Most cases of costochondritis have no apparent cause. In these cases, treatment focuses on easing your pain while you wait for costochondritis to improve on its own.

I completely understand that you are so concerned that this might be a heart-related problem. And, your doctor is to be commended for thinking that this may be related to Fibromyalgia (FMS). It is one of the many "perks" associated with this syndrome and many of us have experienced it. I would encourage you to throughly read through the blue boxes on the lefthand side of this page to see if you feel that any of your other health issues may match the FMS profile. The best doctor suited to treat FMS is a rheumotologist. Call your local hospital physician referral service and see if they can recommend a rheumy with an interest in FMS. There are other conditions that can mimic FMS (such as thryoid) which is why you should see a rheumy. Good luck and take care.


ufdacentral - August 5

Hi ljkentucky, I agree with fantod. Once you get a Rhuemy to diagnose these symptoms as FMS you will be able to put a name to the problem. I have been in the ER many times thinking it was a heart attack, and at my age they will not say it's FM until I go in and they can check me out. The pain you discribe is very typical for people with FMS.
Good luck and I hope you can find a good Rhuemy to help you sort this out. blessings


Katzra - August 6

I started getting these chest pains a few years ago and seriously thought I was having a heart attack, except I am so young and don't have the risk factors. So, I kind of blew it off. My doctors did the tests and concluded it was caused from stress and anxiety. I still get episodes where it will hurt for a few hours one day here or there. I was quiet relieved when I read about costochondritis on this site and found out that it is related to fibro. One thing I think is helping me is stretching those chest muscles, it seems like the pains are coming less often.


fibromite.u.k. - August 7

Yes, the same thing has happened to me. I used to get it very badly and once I ended up in hospital with it. The doctors didn't seem to know what it was and in the end put it down to being trouble with my hiatus hernia, but having read up more about it and discovering Costochondritis, I am pretty convinced that it is that. I have found that when I feel it coming on, that if I stretch out and raise my arms up etc, that it eases. It is a horrible pain though. I also have a friend with FMS who ended up in hospital with this. The only thing I wonder though is if I was really having a heart attack, would I know the difference?


Nancy-Ann - August 7

Hi. I have been diagnosed with costochondritis now for about 6 months. I was actually in the hospital for 3 days with it. I got rushed to the hospital by ambulance because I thought I was having a heart attack. It is a terrible terrible pain, that feels just like a heart attack. Actually it subsides, but once you get it, it comes back again over and over. I was told once you get this you have it for life (oh joy !). Nothing takes the pain away. Heat helps a little. I have fibro now for over 10 years. The doc said this is not part of fibro, but fibro does not help it any. I also have an enlarged heart, so anytime I get really bad chest pains, I run to the emergency room.


Katzra - August 7

I have wondered the same thing fibromite.u.k

It is a scary thought that a heart attack could happen and just be blown off as Costochondritis. There are times the pain has shot down my arm and made it difficult to breath. Scarry stuff!


katiebird - August 9

Hi there - If you read my notes that I just posted under "Are these problems caused by Fibromyalgia", you will see that one of the first things that sent me to a Doctor was the the muscle spasms I was having on my left side, top of my ribs. It was so bad at work that my boss and I actually thought I was having a heart attack. I could hardly move and it hurt me to breath or turn. It could be brought on if I was in a stressful situation or laughed too hard. By the time I went to my Doctor, the attack was over and I was fine. When it kept happening, and I noticed my muscles were sore all over my body, my family doctor sent me to a Rhuematologist and I diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.
I very seldom have muscle spasm attacks now. That might be because I am taking 7 or 8 extra strength Tylenol a day. If I do happened to have an attack now, I raise my left arm and stretch to the right. It hurts but it usually works.
Good luck. It is such a pain being in pain all the time. hugs


Fantod - August 9

katiebird - Why are you taking 7-8 extra strength Tylenol a day? OTC medication does not work for the type of pain caused by Fibromyalgia (FMS). Only certain classes of prescribed medications work. Using that much Tylenol can cause serious stomach and liver problems. Take care.


angdenmiller - September 13

I found it funny when you said "if I ran to the er every time I had pain"; this is the way I was finally put on the track of being diagnosis. About three years ago I was seen in my local er 17 times in 1 month, sometimes 2x a day. The doctor began to offer me medication to "calm me down". Which thru me into an even worse anxiety attack.
I have not started taken medication for Fibro. But I will tell you it is a daily battle between what I know is true to what I believe is going on with my body.
I spend quite a bit of time angry over the things my mind tells me I can and want to do as oppose to what my body is going to allow.
I hope you are doing better.
Good luck and God bless


samjul123 - October 17

I have had costochondritis since I was a teenager and it is scary an painful does go hand in hand with Fybro which I just found out ...for me what works usually is heat hot baths ..message and if really bad I will take advil although I try not to take anything for the pain ...some days are worse than others the cold really bothers me and makes me flare up ....damp weather as well.



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