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Getting sharp pain around breast. Muscle spasm?

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Dr. Aarti Abraham

OBGYN

Practicing since :1998

Answered : 6000 Questions

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Posted on Thu, 31 Jan 2013 in Women's Health
Question: 46 yr old female with a rather sharp pain inside my left breast. It sort of moves around but not to my arm, jaw or back. However, it feels worse when I take a XXXXXXX breath or raise my arm. Might this be a muscle spasm or crap?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 19 minutes later
Hello
Thanks for writing to us
There are various causes of pain in the breast.

Normal premenstrual breast tenderness, which might be more noticeable in the peri menopausal age , as you are around 46. This is not present all through the cycle.

Cyclical breast pain ( cyclical mastalgia ) is when pain persists for more than 7 days each month. It typically occurs in the Upper and outer area of breasts, and is bilateral, often referring to the neck area.

Non cyclical and unilateral pain as in your case could be due to mastitis ( inflammation of the breast ), trauma, thrombophlebitis, breast cysts or breast tumours.

Various conditions outside the breast tissue might present in this way. Costochondritis is pain over the rib, and is often not radiated anywhere, and as you mentioned, is increased by breath intake or movement. Ay other chest wall muscular pain also presents similarly.

Rare causes could include nerve pain, herpes, referred shoulder pain, cardiac pain ( angina ) presenting atypically, Peptic ulcer etc.

Intake of hormone containing medications might cause similar breast pain, but it is also more likely to be bilateral.

As the causes are various, and range from mild to serious ones, you need to consult your Gynecologist, for a thorough check up, examination and palpation of both breasts, surrounding tissue and general examination to rule out other causes. An ultrasound or mammogram might be suggested if the clinical work up indicates that.

Take care and feel free to ask for further clarifications.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Aarti Abraham 16 minutes later
Thanks for the through answers. My main concern was that it would not be heart related, it feels more like a sharpness, kind of sciatica type inside the breast. I just didn't want to panic throughout the night.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 5 hours later
Hi,
Cardiac pain normally does not increase with breathing or movement.
However, only a detailed evaluation can rule it out, as it is notorious for atypical presentations.
You could also have a muscular or nerve pain - the description fits that.
Please go for a consultation as soon as possible, so that you are assured.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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