What causes tingling numbness in back and pain in ribs, back and chest?

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Posted on Thu, 12 Nov 2015 in General Health
Question: I am a 24yo female. 5'6" 145lbs. I have been suffering from anxiety most of my life. I have a hard time falling asleep and rarely feel rested unless I get 9-12 hours of sleep. Recently I've been waking up at random hours gasping for breath, usually after a nightmare or feeling like I'm conscious but I can't wake up. I had sinus surgery in 2006 and the breathlessness does not seem related to any sinus blockage. I have also noticed rib or back or chest pain, and during the day tingling and numbness in my back and other muscles. I get migraines from tension in my neck and shoulders and pain in all my joints. I go to a masseuse at least once a month and have sought chiropractic adjustments when I'm most desperate. I eat very healthy most of the time, I exercise moderately and I take b12, women's multi and calcium/d vitamins daily.
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Have you been treated for this anxiety?

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXXXXX

I am sorry you are having so much trouble.

Many of your physical symptoms can be from anxiety or panic disorder: difficulty sleeping, gasping for breath, muscle tension and headaches, tingling sensation.

You wrote that you have had anxiety most of your life, so given your symptoms, and that anxiety does not seem to be an acute passing thing, I would recommend that you consider taking an SSRI medication such as escitalopram (Lexapro). The reason I mention this one is that it has one of the best side effect profiles, but others may help too. These antidepressant/anxiety medications do not help immediately, may take a few weeks, but may help prevent the daily tension and overall anxiety/stress symptoms.

In addition, as the SSRI will not kick in right away, you can take a short acting anti anxiety medicine in the benzodiazepine family, such as alprazolam or lorazepam. Sometimes these are given scheduled around the clock, or some people take them just before bed (usually lorazepam in that case). Also, they can help until the SSRI starts working and then you may need less (or none at all) after that.

I would also add a B-complex vitamin. I see that you take B12, but with stress, sometimes the body needs more of other B vitamins as well.

It is good that you exercise regularly. Talking with a counselor can also help, and in some cases, cognitive therapy is as effective as the antidepressant medications.

Also, if possible, consider a supplement that provides some magnesium. Magnesium can help with muscle relaxation. But start with a small dose as in excess it can also cause diarrhea.

I hope this information helps. If I can provide further information or clarification, please let me know.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3133 Questions

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