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Thread: Chest, shoulder, back and arm pain

  1. #1

    Chest, shoulder, back and arm pain

    Hi all,

    Bit of background, 43 female, overweight but not obese, live in South Wales, suffered severe HA for years but with a lot of work it hasn't troubled me for quite some time now. I am diagnosed with M.E, POTS and Diverticulitis along with a few other incidental niggles, I was also born with an innocent heart murmur that requires no medication and doesn't bother cardiologists. I am a smoker, god help me I've tried to quit but it's hard being a lifelong habit, my go-to crutch for anxiety and I have very little support available.

    3 weeks ago I had Covid, prior to that I had a very bad cough which lasted several weeks. On Saturday I started getting a bit of pain in the left side of my chest, I just thought it was muscle tension as I had changed a wheel on my car.

    Fast forward to the last few days. On Sunday I drove 200 miles north to holiday with my partner in a tent thinking the rest will do me good as I have been under a huge amount of stress lately. The pain in my chest was very bad, going into my neck, shoulder, back and down my arm making my arm feel heavy and numb, I was also totally exhausted and a little short of breath. I pushed through the next 2 days feeling quite awful, even a few steps I was out of breath. That evening I called an ambulance as the pain was unbearable. I went into hospital and endured a 22 hour wait in A&E. My partner was sent back to the campsite 35 miles away. My anxiety started to kick in.

    My ECG results are all abnormal, t-wave inversion in most leads. Bloods including D-dimmer and Troponin all normal, chest x-ray clear. I was admitted to CCU.

    I had an ultrasound on my heart which also came back clear.

    The consultant wanted me to stay in until Monday to be transferred an hour away for an angiogram. I honestly don't have the money to extend my partner's stay at the campsite or pay my cat sitter for me to stay up here. That was when my HA kicked in like a massive blast from the past and in full blown panic mode I discharged myself.

    I'm now sat at the campsite, still in pain and worried sick. I'm remembering all those years with HA and how everything awful was mostly anxiety or panic and even when I did have some serious health issues it was attributed to anxiety and I was dismissed so many times. My Dad had a heart attack aged 44 and had a bypass and valve replacement. I also lost my ex partner to a heart attack, he suffered it while on the phone to me, he was left in a permanent vegetative state. That was only in 2019 and has had a huge impact on me and covid really sent me into a spin.

    I'm not really sure what my questions are except am I going to drop dead? Did I do something stupid discharging myself? I have a discharge letter to continue investigations once back home which I will absolutely follow up, so long as I don't drop dead in the next 4 days remaining of camping.

    It really feels muscular this issue, it's there all day and night but I get pangs where it's really intense, that mostly happens when I'm driving with my arms up, I don't know how to distinguish between heart and musculoskeletal pain. Everywhere I push on my left side isn't painful at all so that's leading me to think oh my god it's heart related and now I've discharged myself like an idiot.

    As for the ECG, I had a full cardio work up done last year, I had an abnormal ECG then with t-wave but this hospital couldn't access them to compare. I'm also worrying because I know that Covid can cause serious complications such as heart issues, plus I'm a smoker and I have been really sedentary for the last couple of years as I was working only part time and from home.

    Thank you if you read the whole thing, I try to condense it but also hate leaving out info I feel is relevant.

    Thank you 🌺 💜 ;

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Re: Chest, shoulder, back and arm pain

    I've had two heart attacks, triple bypass and triple stents. What you described was similar to my first heart attack at roughly the same age. Pain/pressure in the center of my chest that radiated more to the left side and through to my back and down my left arm. I was short of breath and dizzy as well. The difference is that the tests showed 100% something was up. That and I was at the ER within a very short time from the onset of symptoms as the pain and discomfort were that intense. Definitely follow up with your GP but again, both times for me, there was no mistaking something was really wrong and tests confirmed it right away.

    Follow up with your GP for your reassurance and peace of mind and speak with him about ways to improve your lifestyle. As a former smoker, I get it but after two heart attacks and Stage IVa H&N cancer, it was a no brainer. I admit I'm a lazy boomer at this point on my life but I still get myself out there walking the dog, doing yardwork and an occasional hike in the mountains. Increasing physical activity is a win/win all around both physically and mentally.

    Last edited by Fishmanpa; 06-06-24 at 20:17.
    "Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings God gives you in this life. Live, love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest is meaningless... Like chasing the wind." King Solomon

    The best help is the help you give yourself!

  3. #3

    Re: Chest, shoulder, back and arm pain

    Hi FMP,

    Thank you for your honest and insightful reply, I really appreciate that.

    I am always the first to admit that my smoking is my weakness and there are no excuses, I always find them though! I need a kick up the backside and although I am sat here now with a cup of decent tea and a cigarette I have taken the first step and sent my details through to Quit Now. I did well last time with a vape but it actually made me quite unwell with a cough and a chest x-ray revealed Atelecstasis (spelling wrong) so I won't be going that route as it seems equally harmful.

    I will follow up with my GP as soon as I'm home and I will also look to start my anxiety meds again, I stopped them as I was doing so well but come to realise it will probably always be there in the background.

    I need to beat the blues and get my fitness back, I was doing well but I've recently moved to a town centre, I have no garden and the area is horrible, as a female I can't go out alone there. I think I will join some local groups and see if I can find a walking group or something similar. Motivation always comes best when with others!

    Thank you again for a very inspiring reply, goodness you have been through so much and come out with a positive fighting spirit, I admire you 🤗

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Re: Chest, shoulder, back and arm pain

    That's the right attitude and approach Firefly One of my favorite quotes is "Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we handle it" - Charles Swindoll. I'm not a sufferer at least in the sense I see here but I have struggled mentally with depression after my illnesses and life's stresses definitely take their toll on my mental health at times but I truly believe a positive 'attitude' is the key to getting through and enjoying this life.

    Stay strong!

    "Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings God gives you in this life. Live, love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest is meaningless... Like chasing the wind." King Solomon

    The best help is the help you give yourself!

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