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I am smoker having pain in chest, arm and neck. History of anxiety. How to get cured?

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I have a history of anxiety and it has made me over conscious of my health I am 20 years old I'm a smoker and recently have had some chest pain along with sore left arm, neck pain and also sharp digging in my shoulder blades I have become nervous and it is affecting my over all productivity in the day because I have increased anxiety attacks
Posted Thu, 18 Oct 2012 in Anxiety and Stress
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 3 hours later
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

Chest pain can be caused by problems with any of the structures in the chest, from the skin inwards.In terms of the skin,persons with a history of chicken pox ,may have a recurrent rash(herpes zoster) that can cause severe pain.
Pain can also occur as a result of costochondritis which is inflammation of the joints where the ribs join the sternum(the bone in the center of the chest). This can cause severe pain which is usually constant but made worse with movement. Because of the severity of the pain in some persons, there may be shortness of breath.When the center of the chest is palpated there is tenderness. This is one way of differentiating it from heart related pain which is not associated with tenderness.
Some issues with lungs such as infection, blockage of blood supply(pulmonary embolism), inflammation of the lining of the lung can also cause pain.These would usually be associated with other symptoms that would pinpoint to lungs which you have not indicated.
Spasm of the esophagus can also cause pain- this is uncommon however it can cause pain that radiates to the neck, arms, back or jaw. It may feel like a heart attack. There may also be a history of feeling as though food is stuck in the throat or difficulty swallowing.It is diagnosed by different tests that take a look at the esophagus.It is usually treated by looking at any condition worsening it like GERD, stopping smoking (because this worsens reflux) weight loss if there is excess weight, medications to relax the esophagus, and stress reduction techniques because anxiety can worsen it.
In terms of the heart , it would be usually for someone of your age to have significant heart issuses unless you have a history of congenital heart problems,a significant family history of heart disease, have other severe uncontrolled illnesses that increase your risk such as uncontrolled severe hypertension, diabetes, severe high cholesterol. Heart related pain may be as a result of angina which is pain that occurs because of reduced blood going to the heart- this pain would come on when you are active and stop when you are at rest (in severe cases the pain eventually occurs at rest as well), it is associated with shortness of breath and palpitations.
A heart attack would cause severe pain that feels like a pressure or tightness in the center of the chest, associated with profuse sweating, palpiations, shortness of breath.Normally a person would have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol,advanced age (not usually your age) , smoking.Though the pain can radiate to the neck,jaw and left arm ,it is not usually felt as a soreness, just like the same pain in the chest.
Anxiety , which is common, can also be associated with chest pain, but normally other conditions are ruled out first before saying that the pain is related to anxiety.
There are different types of anxiety illnesses. Anxiety is generally treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy.If it is severe enough to affect your functioning at work and home then you should consider speaking to your doctor if possible to either start or alter therapy.

In terms of the chest pain, you doctor will examine you and will be able to accurately tell you the source of your pain based on the examination findings.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions

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