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Multiple pains including heart, chest pressures, dizziness and numbness. Can anyone help please?

Posted by Share_the_knowledge

For the past year and a half, I suffer from various pains including: Tightening of the chest, dizziness, arm pain, cheek numbness (left cheek), and sudden, painful and short head-aches (i.e like driving a rod through the brain). I have had numerous tests and x-rays, 1 MRI for heart, brain-scan and lungs. So far, everything comes out ok with no problems to the heart. However, I am still having daily pains that come and go, to the point where I also feel a "dark cloud" or feeling of hopelessness or "death"...

Many of the above are signature panick attack, or anxiety traits, but the "what if" is still very present in me... :( 

Quite a few doctors I have met told me it's all psychological. I can guarantee that the feelings I have are very real, even if psychological; when not worried (i.e. I do not think of anything particularly worriesome), when good news come out, I start the dread the downturn, the next set of feelings described through-out this post. A vicious-circle is settling, and I'm worried about :S

As many a doctor may refer to "stress" for lack of a better pro/diagnosis, I don't know where to turn. It is a fact that stress is a generic term that's over-used for conditions that have yet to be named... "Just wait 5 years and we'll name one" laughed a prof. I spoke with a while back -- he had a point. 

The symptoms come and go, but are generally present for the past year; they are:

- Intense or lingering pain in the heart region or oezophagus/stomach region

- Occasional pain in the left upper/lower arm

- Sudden and sharp pain to the brain

- Occasional numbness of the left cheek muscles (right under the cheek bone)

- Pressure in the solar-plex

- Occasional dizziness (hard to focus, with light tinglelings, almost like static-electricity and pressure on top of my head)

- Some numbness in both legs, a light-cramp feeling.

- Rashes on the limbs (arms and hands) such as urticary, etc... 


It may all be psychological and am ready to cope with that (as I have started for a while), however, so many of these symptoms can be  associated to other conditions (ex: Lyme disease), I really don't know where to turn.

I'm tired of having multiple tests, which lead nowhere -- I have even come to the point that during a crisis (night time), I tell myself that if "this is it, if my heart will stop, then so be it... I'm tired of running out to the ER in the middle of the night".

I welcome any and all comments, discussing these, having support helps alleviate these dreadful feelings for a while.

Thank you.

Best Regards,


Answers (4)
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Ian Health Maven
Hi F,

That is quite a list of symptoms. But not an unusual one when anxiety/depression are involved.

As you've concluded, anxiety is the diagnosis that doctors come up with when they can't find any apparent organic cause to account for a patient's symptoms. But most of the time they are right and I believe they probably are in your case.

We are gradually coming to understand how intertwined the immune system can be in some anxiety and/or depression cases. However, your account is not really indicative of Lyme Disease (or other infections such as Borna Disease and Streptococcal).

You state that several doctors have diagnosed an anxiety disorder, yet there is nothing about treatment. Have you been offered any?

There are effective treatments for anxiety and depression (and you appear to have both) falling into two categories, medication (antidepressants and/or benzodiazepines) or a behavioral psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy or Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Often the best bet is a combination of both drugs and therapy.



NOTE: I am not a doctor, and more importantly, I'm not your doctor so the above advice is necessarily of a general nature which may or may not apply to you. Always consult your health provider before acting on anything you've read here.

Hello Ian,

 Thank you for your reply!

On whether I have been offered treatment, yes I have. In fact, three doctors pointed me to three different types of light anti-depressants such as cypralex, cytalopram and other similar ones. However, the fact that each prescribe different variations are not helping me in making the decision (each defend one type over the next, it may just be a pharmaceutical company's preference, or their own judgement).

I am consulting with a psychologist for the past few months, it's a good start. A couple that's falling apart, a new business starting and other life issues do take their toll, especially when happening all together.

Unfortunately, I am an expat living in a country that does not have the same structure as some more developed countries such as the EU or North-America. Hence, I cannot find support-groups or programs offering Cognitive B. T. or Rational E. B. T. - Also, the language barrier adds to it all.

 But, I trust I can turn this around, just as soon as I get focused and defuse the domino's effect. Or at least, learn to understand and identify when one of these attacks will happen and act accordingly.  

Again, thank you for your support, time and thorough feedback :)



Ian Health Maven
F, no antidepressant is intrinsically better than another, but one or more probably will be for you.

The trick is finding it/them. On average it can take 3 or 4 attempts and 6 months to find one that is both effective and tolerable. There are gene tests under development that may shorten this process but they are still some years away.

Generally SSRI class antidepressants have fewer side effects than the older tricyclic and MAOI drugs, but it doesn't always work out that way. I can't tolerate SSRIs and while the MAOIs I tried were far an away the most effective, their dietary restrictions weren't compatible with my life-style at the time. So, IMO, you best initial shot would be a SSRI, perhaps fluoxetine (Prozac). If that doesn't work, then try another of that group. Fluoxetine tends to be the most stimulatory. If you find it too much so, then citalopram (Celexa) is about in the middle with paroxetine (Paxil) at the sedating end of the scale.

If you don't have any joy with SSRIs, then the old standby tricyclics (TCAs) would be worth a try. The first one developed, Imipramine (Tofranil), is still considered the gold-standard antidepressant. Most TCAs are more sedating than SSRIs.

Be aware that antidepressants often make anxiety worse initially, so my advice is to start off at a small dose and ramp up slowly, say at 7-10 day intervals. While many ADs are now available in low 'starter' doses, even these can be too much for the extra sensitive, so, if necessary, ask the prescribing doctor whether you can spit the tablets. Cheap pill-cutters available from pharmacies make this more accurate, and less bloody than using a knife. DO NOT do this without getting the OK from the doctor. There can be very valid reasons why this won't be OK in your case.

I understand the difficulty is accessing psychotherapy. That can be difficult even in big western cities. However, MoodGYM is a free on line CBT course that you may find helpful.



NOTE: I am not a doctor, and more importantly, I'm not your doctor so the above advice is necessarily of a general nature which may or may not apply to you. Always consult your health provider before acting on anything you've read here.

If the problem is not chemical then I agree that moodgym can help.

There are others like clarifylife

has more the comparison.

Nevertheless they both require being ok with using a computer to delve into issues.

If use of a computer to do that is threatening, it will not work. 

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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