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Pain in chest while breathing. Why has it become frequent? Why does heart jump? Why is neck muscle tense?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 189 Questions

I have some questions regarding my chest and ribs.
All my life, at least what i can remember, i sometimes get stinging pain in the sides of my ribs.
Most of the time the left side, but sometimes the right side.

It dont happen very often anymore. But when it does happen i cant breath properly. It last for about 5-30 seconds. sometimes when i concentrate on my breathing, and i inhale past where the pain occurs, the pain goes away. but most of the time i simply wait it out.

since 2 year ago, give or take, i began to experince that stinging pain when i was lying on my left side, when going to sleep or relaxing on the couch. My heart can sometimes also move/jump wierdly, as if going out of rythm for a second when im lying on the side. So i avoid doing that.

Now the pain comes more frequently. Sometimes when i bend over sitting down, especially after eating. Or twist my upper body to the right, it can tense up in the right side, not often though.

Today and the last 2 weeks it comes more often and it feels as if there was a weight in the middle of my chest. A pressure going inward. Today ive also felt a bit lightheaded. I dont feel too well. My neck muscles is also more tense. I have always had a good appetite and eat plenty. It feels like the pain in my side is more likely to happen after ive had a meal.

Not long ago i went to doctor and got my heart checked. I got some sensors/electrodes on my chest, i believe its called a screening, not sure. and he listened to my heart and did a blood pressure test. My heart was in tip top shape.

I eat healthy, drink plenty of water, dont smoke and i exercise. 25 year old male and not overwheigt.

I hope someone can offer a little insight or suggestion for what i can do myself to find the source of it. I will regardless consult my doctor, but cant anytime soon.

Posted Fri, 8 Jun 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Sathyadharan Panneer 12 hours later
Thanks for writing in.

1. From your history it seems you might be suffering from intermittent muscle spasm or intestinal (GI) disease /gastro-eosphageal reflux disease (GERD).
2. Left sided pain usually can be due to problem in heart or gastro-intestinal disease. From your history the most probable cause can be MVPS or GERD. Intermittent muscle spasm can occur on any side.
3. All these causes can cause a very short lasting pain which usually resolves my itself.
4. Symptoms aggravating around meals usually directs your problem towards upper GI disease or GERD but rarely do they cause light headedness.
5. Its better that you get a proper cardiologist & gastro-enterologist opinion to rule out MVPS & upper GI disease after proper investigations. Intermittent muscle spasm is usually insignificant. A Chest Xray can help us rule out other causes if any.
6. Avoiding coffee / caffeine products, spicy foods. Sitting upright for 30 min after meals, doing breathing exercises might help you to reduce the symptoms.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if you need more help.

Get well soon

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Pain in chest while breathing. Why has it become frequent? Why does heart jump? Why is neck muscle tense? 1 hour later
Thanks for the answer!

I have a habit of constantly tensing my stomach muscles, even when i sit down.
been doing it for most of my life, can that have an effect or related to
upper gastro-intestinal (GI) disease /gastro-eosphageal reflux disease (GERD)?
i tense it so much that my stomach area feels wierd when i dont.
Answered by Dr. Sathyadharan Panneer 2 hours later

1. GERD usually occurs when the sphincter muscle in lower part of the oesophagus (food pipe) where it meets the stomach becomes week. Usually that part of muscle opens only when food enters stomach, but never allows the food to go back into the esophagus (food pipe) except in cases of vomiting or occasional regurgitation.
2. Weakness in the muscle usually occurs due to intake of caffeine / spicy foods / alcohol / smoking / fried foods etc.
3. Till now there is no direct evidence between tensing the abdomen muscles & GERD. But few researches believe that increased abdominal pressure during tensing can lead to GERD, as in cases of weight lifters who have increased incidence of GERD.

So it might be a reason. Its better you get the opinion of gastro-enterologist and proceed further.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if you need more help.

Get well soon

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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