Heart & Cardiology/Sharp pain in chest


Hello. I am a 29 yr old female in what I think is good health. I have never had an serious health issues besides prehypertension. I also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. 8 days ago I had what I assumed was the worst panic attack imaginable! It came out of nowhere for no reason. Nothing to trigger it. It was a horrible sharp pain in my chest located on the right side near the bottom of my left breast. The same place i feel pain when having an attack. The pain was so much worse. I could barely breath and i could not move. The pain was almost as bad as the contractions i felt when giving birth. I am not one to complain about pain but this was bad. It lasted about five minutes. No other pain or discomfort just the chest. I felt very tired and worn out afterward. I took a xanax and it all seemed to pass. My problem is i am having chest pain every day since. The same spot but not nearly as severe. Like i said before i do have panic attacks BUT i have never had the chest pain everyday like this. Also i am not having the other syptoms like sweating palms, naseau and nervousness that i normaly have with the chest pain. My question is, could this be something more than anxiety? Fyi...I don't have insurance so that is why I have not seen a doctor yet. Thank you.

Hello Kayle,

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.

I don't think anxiety plays much of a role in this chest pain.  Why some people have it and others don't is unknown, but it's VERY common.

Please write back if this note doesnít answer all your questions.

David Richardson

Heart & Cardiology

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David Richardson


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


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.

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

Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

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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