T Nation

Heartache

I realize that these aren’t medical forums, but medicine hasn’t really helped me with this, so i’m turning here instead. Several months ago, i often experienced something that would best be describe as a subtle, mild ache in the heart area - on the same heigh as the heart, just inches left (my left) from the center of my chest. It would go away and come back over the course of several months, and i decided to see a doctor about it before starting to lift again last month.

Well, he ran two tests: a classic cardiogram and a more-indepth test called an ultrasound. He told me that i aced both tests and my heart is absolutely, positively perfect beyond any doubt. He even jokingly added that if everyone got these results, he would be out of work.

Well, the good news is that i haven’t felt it since talking to him. I started lifting heavily and everything was fine up until two days ago. I was on the last set of french presses (elbow extension overhead), when i realized that i wasn’t going to meet my goal for the day - my muscles were failing and i still had several reps to go.

I’m used to exercising to failure, but this was different. I actually managed to squeeze out a few more reps past the point where my muscles would usually fail. And i was damn happy - i felt good. This was further than i’ve ever gone before, and i was a little surprised that i managed to handle that kind of pain. Well, here comes the bad news. My heart, or the area around it, has been aching on and off today.

I know what you're thinking - that was pretty stupid. But hey, i was working on a machine, and the doc told me i'm in perfect health, so what's the worst that could happen, right? And what did happen anyway? I'm not going back there with the same thing just to listen to him tell me i'm in perfect health again. So if it isn't my heart, then what is it?

Has anyone ever had anything like this happen to them before? I’m pretty sure it will stop by tomorrow, but if it doesn’t, i’ll give it a few more days, then go back there and refuse to leave his office until he tells me what the hell is wrong with my heart, muscle, whatever.

Max, it would be better to go to your doctor’s office and refuse to leave until he tells you what’s wrong – or even go to aNOTHER doctor – than to take well-intentioned guesses from people you don’t know on the Internet.



The Internet is a great resource, but in your case, your doctor is a better one. Get a referral to a specialist if you need to.



Take care of yourself and good luck!!!

TT is right, be persistent. Many physicians nowadays are far too cavalier with their diagnosis. There are EXECELLENT ones out there, but like everything else in life, there are good and bad ones. My suggestion is, when you go back, insist that he run some bloodwork to get a Creatine Kinase-MB fraction or Troponin-t and troponin-I levels. This will tell you quickly, and decisively if you are dealing with a myocardial infarction. It could really be so many things, from a hiatial hernia, to gas, to a more serious condition. Go get it checked out!

Sound advice as usual, Terry. If it doesn’t go away, i’m heading down there this week.

If you had a cardiac doppler ultrasound, the doctor probably knows everything there is to know about your heart. There are a couple things to consider AFTER you rule out any cardiac problems. 1) You might have adhesions of the fascia of the pectoral muscles, maybe the pec minor. A deep tissue massage on my chest helped me immensely when I had similar symptoms. It took my chiropractor to notice that my pec minor was actually spasming, which was an issue for me. 2) You might have a pinched nerve in the neck or across the clavicle. The nerves feeding the chest go through that area. In addition, the sternocleidomastoid (neck/jaw muscle) attaches to the clavicle, and the pecs also attach to the clavicle, so any imbalance between the two can stress the clavicle and irritate the nerves that run under the clavicle and cause pains or spasms.

After your doctor, try a chiropractor and see what he/she says. They are much better at tracing nerves than a regular MD.