Heart & Cardiology/Chest Pain

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Question
Dear Dr. Richardson:

Five minutes into my usual treadmill run I felt a very sharp (piercing and scary) like pain simultaneously in my chest and upper right back side (shoulder blade area).  It was a very quick sensation but it REALLY caught my attention.  I felt fine before and continued to run for another 35 minutes with nothing out of the ordinary.  Everything was normal and the pain never returned.

It scared me.  Does this sound like a heart problem?  If not what could have caused it?

Thanks,
Meghann

Answer
Hello Meghann,

No, not heart.  Chest pain in a young person is usually cramping of muscles in the chest wall.  If pushing on the painful area modifies the pain (makes it better or worse), or if the pain is relieved by bending the body away from the painful area, that proves the pain is from chest  wall.  Even if these maneuvers donít affect the pain, itís still probably chest wall.  Pain caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart is extremely rare below age 40. Chest wall pain is no threat to life or health, just a big nuisance.  Safest management is just to ignore the pain, though Tylenol, aspirin or ibuprofren usually help.

Please write back if this doesnít answer all your questions.

David Richardson

Heart & Cardiology

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David Richardson

Expertise

Adult heart function and disease. Not very good about children lesss than 12. Hypertension is o.k. Heart rhythm a special interest.

Experience

Certified in cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Was chairman of division of cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia. Am now mostly retired.

Organizations
Fellow of American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and member of American Physiological Society..

Publications
Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

Education/Credentials
M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Residency training at Yale Uhniversity School of Medicine and Medical College of Virginia.

Awards and Honors
Gold Heartt Award from American Heart Association in 1995.

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