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Ask Dr. Muneeb Ali Your Own Question
Dr. Muneeb Ali
Dr. Muneeb Ali, Doctor (MD/DO)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 7370
Experience:  MBBS, MD, ECFMG certified. 11 year experience in dealing with cases related to all fields of medicine
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I have been having episodes of some pain in my left pec. the

Customer Question

I have been having episodes of some pain in my left pec. the other day I had to stop driving because every time I took a breath the pain intensified. now today I feel slight pressure in the middle of my chest. I am a 52 year old male nationally ranked marathon...typically, run 60-70 miles a week with high intensity intervals. this all started during my rest phase, while taking a month off from running.
JA: Have you ever dealt with this before? Are you having any shortness of breath?
Customer: i don't think so
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: while being a marathoner my heart is obviously a larger muscle than most people's. I have been anemic but that is under control now. Had a bout of skin cancer
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 11 months ago.


Im sorry to hear about your symptoms. Can i ask have you had your heart evaluated after the pain occurred with a EKG or echocardiogram? Also do you have tenderness on pressingthe chest in any particular area? Any shortness of breath or sweating?

Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 11 months ago.

Since you seem to be offline, ill leave a response here which we can discuss later on.

Now the pain which you are experiencing does not seem to be associated with the heart as that usually doesnt worsen on deep breathing. Pain which worsens on breathing is usually either associated with the chest wall/ribs or the lungs. The first thing which i would like to exclude in your case would be a proble associated with the ribs. Acute inflammation of the cartilages of the ribs can lead to the sort of pain which you are describing, this is known as costochondritis. This can cause pain and tenderness in a particular location in the chest and would worsen on deep breaths. This an be diagnosed easily with the help of a simple clinical examination and then treated with OTC anti inflammatory medications like motrin or aleve. Another cause of the pain can be a severe muscle spasm which can persist for several weeks in some cases, if so this can be treated with the help of increased water intake, use of electrolyte rich fluids like gatorade as well as motrin or aleve. in some cases prescription strength muscle relaxants are needed.

Now while the heart is less likely it should be excluded with the help of a EKG and echocardiogram , the reason being chest pain of any sort above the age of 52 should be considered as cardiac in origin until proven otherwise. This is less likely to be heart pain but it should be excluded with the above tests.

Now it is also possible that you have an inflammaed pleura. Pleura is the thin covering of the lung and it can be inflammed due to various reasons. The commonest one being a simple viral infection and it would cause pain which worsens on breathing. Usually it can also cause cough but it is not necessary. this is known as pleurisy. The diagnosis is easily made with a clinical examination and a simple chest xray. The treatment is with steroids among other drugs.

Now i would suggest that you use the anti inflammatory meds but DO see your doctor for a EKG and a clinical examination for a final diagnosis.

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