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Having anxiety. No lump found on breast. Worried for tension, pain and soreness between breast and armpit

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Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 2190 Questions

I suffer from anxiety, mainly about health. I was at the doctor on the 27 of march as i was worrying about my breast and wanted to discuss my anxiety. The doctor did a full check on them and said they are fine. No lumps, nipples are formed perfectly. Also I am 19, and no family history of cancer.
Now i am worrying about this tension/soreness/achey pain switching between right side, left side and middle side of my breast and armpit. It goes away, and then comes back as i notice it more when i am anxious. Is this just from anxiety ?

Posted Mon, 15 Apr 2013 in Women's Health
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 20 minutes later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

It is important to understand that anxiety can present with not only psychological symptoms but also with physical or somatic symptoms. Often, anxiety can manifest itself with purely physical symptoms - even without the usual psychological symptoms of feeling anxious or panicky.

Muscle tension, soreness, tighness in the chest and various other sensations are well known physical symptoms of anxiety. Moreover, you have had a full check up and were not detected to have any significant abnormality. Also, considering your age, it is very unlikely that you are at risk for any major medical problems. So, in my opinion, it is highly likely that the symptoms that you are experiencing are due to anxiety only.

Now, this does NOT mean that 'everything is in your head' and that you are simply imagining the symptoms. Not at all. It has been found that anxiety disorders are associated with certain neuro-chemical imbalance in the brain and this can cause the person's pain and sensory threshold to get lowered and he / she can become 'hypersensitive' to sensory stimuli, and therefore have exaggerated pain and discomfort. The underlying anxiety also causes a person to become more worried as to why his / her problems are undiagnosed after multiple tests, and then this worry / anxiety itself then starts worsening the symptoms more. Soon this becomes a viscious cycle, leaving the person with more symptoms and suffering.

I would advise you to try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, meditation, etc. If you feel that your anxiety is difficult to handle and causing you a lot of distress, then you can seek professional help. There are effective medication and psychological therapies which can help you control your anxiety and thereby, relieve you of your suffering and distress associated with it.

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having anxiety. No lump found on breast. Worried for tension, pain and soreness between breast and armpit 22 minutes later
Thank you so much for your quick responds and detailed message. It all make sense. You have put me at ease. I am signing up for a yoga class at my gym for tonight!
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 20 hours later
Glad that my advise has been useful to you...

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist

(Kindly close the query and leave a review if you are happy with my answer.)
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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