Fibromyalgia/Costochrondritis/Both?

shuddupheidi

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Nov 13, 2021
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1
Hello, I am a 26 year old woman who has been dealing with chest pain for about 2 months now. I went from thinking it was my heart, to GERD to Costochondritis and now Fibromylalgia. I went to the ER 4 times within a week, had 4 EKGS, 3 xrays, 1 ultrasound, and 3 blood tests to rule out heart problems. Everything came back clear. So I had my primary doctor refer me for a Stress test, which also came back clear. I saw my GI dr yesterday and he said it sounded like Costochondritis. I have pain while applying pressure under my breasts, in the center of my chest, everywhere in my upper chest, my arms, wrists and back. As well as my legs lately too. I keep googling symptoms, someone in one of the groups I'm in mentioned Fibro...I have several of the Trigger points that hurt when pushed on. My chest pain doesn't get brought on by me pushing on it, sometimes it just..happens. Its sharp and burning. Its mostly in my left side of chest, closer to my arm pit and all up and down that area. Up to my shoulder and down below my left breast. Sometimes it's in the right side, and center of my chest as well. My anxiety is bad again, starting yesterday, my heart rate has been wonky. I am anemic, I take Iron Pills twice a day and Omeprezole once a day for GERD. This pain is way too similar to cardiac problems so I am freaking out...does anyone else have these exact symptoms?
 

Jemima

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Hi shuddupheidi,

Great username! I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time with your health. Chest pains are scary, but you're not alone in your experiences!

Costochondritis can be a symptom of fibromyalgia, as can all manner of phantom chest pains, including feeling as if there's something wrong with the heart or lungs, that the ribs or breastbone are bruised, or shooting pains radiating out from the chest. Not fun! I get this sometimes - particularly when I'm in a flare and all my symptoms are up - and can really relate on how horrid it feels. If you use the search function here in the forum, you can find other discussions about chest pains and fibro.

You mentioned that your heart rate is a bit wonky - can you describe a bit better what this is like? Fibromyalgia doesn't usually cause palpitations, but possible co-conditions can affect blood pressure, which can give us the sense that our heart is racing. Stress can impact the heart, and it sounds like you've been very worried. Medication can also cause these kinds of issues, so it could be worth reviewing what you're taking with your doctor. A quick search tells me that this is a possible side effect of Omeprezole.

Fibromyalgia is generally characterised by widespread pain, fatigue, and depression - alongside an array of other potential symptoms and co-conditions. The trigger point diagnosis is not really used by those in the know anymore, as it isn't very accurate - those with fibromyalgia don't tend to experience them consistently, and so it's no longer recommended as a diagnostic tool. Anxiety definitely seems to come in the mix, not least of all because experiencing the onset of the condition can be a rough ride. From what you're describing, I think fibromyalgia is worth looking into, but keep in mind that symptoms lasting at least three months is generally considered one of the diagnostic criteria.

Speaking of diagnosis, the thing about fibroymalgia is that it's a conclusion reached via elimination. There are other health conditions that can cause a similar presentation - like ME, MS, arthritis, lupus, lyme disease, etc. - so if you suspect you have fibro, it's necessary to go through the diagnosis process with a supportive doctor. If you have a presentation that meets the criteria for fibromyalgia, and the doctor can't find any other cause, that is when fibro would be diagnosed. Do you have a doctor that you feel you could discuss it with?

Finally, there are lots of things that we can do to help ease fibromyalgia symptoms - and they are all things that would benefit anyone who is having a hard time physically, so there's no harm in giving them a try right away! Managing fibromyalgia is all about supporting your body as much as you can, and learning to avoid or manage the triggers that impact you. Overdoing things or experiencing intense stress can be particular troublemakers. Helpful habits include things like learning new stress management techniques (meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques - whatever works for you), improving sleep hygiene, eating healthily, committing to a gentle but consistent exercise routine, and learning to pace your activity. Have a Google of "spoon theory" if you haven't heard of that before, and check out our moderator Sunkacola's great advice for newcomers.

There are lots of fantastic people here who will happily give you advice as you go through this. If you do discover that you have fibro, then there are lots of ways to find empowerment, even if the condition isn't curable at this time. Try not to stress, and be extra kind to yourself - worrying always just adds to the load our bodies are already carrying. Good luck with everything, and don't hesitate if you've got any more questions 🌻
 

Auriel

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Hello shuddupheidi, although I dont have any chest pains with my fibro I was getting a lot of them when having gallbladder issues (gallstones+infections) you mentioned gerds, I have read about people developing this after gallbladder removal but as you take Omeprezole it should be ok, there are other members on here who also get rib and chest pain with fibro, jemima included, I figured she’d be the perfect person to answer cos she gets those too, but we have hints and tips to try and help fibro, your so young to be going through all these things, I hope you find a resolve or at least an ease to your symptoms, 👼🍀🤞🏻
 

mariemeader66

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Hi Shuddupheidi-
I have never replied to anything on this website before now but your problem has affected me. At first I thought I was the only one with this issue so I never brought it up on this forum. Thank you for bringing it up. Unfortunately I have never gotten an answer from my Internal Medicine doctor other than she said it was caused from stress which disappointed me because I didn't consider that an answer. She is very thorough though so I thought about that alot too because I had extreme anxiety at that time. My pain was a burning pain in chest especially in the morning and lasted for about 2-3 hours after waking up. Along with the entire chest burning I also had pain directly in my breastbone even the pain would go into my back simmulating heart issues. Saw a cardiologist and he did some tests and said it was not my heart but did not say what it could be-saw a GI doc and he did an endoscopy and said everything ok there (Thank you Jesus). Went to a psychiatrist because of the severe depression and finally after one year of trying different meds he found one that works for both of those issues. Now i only have a few instances of pain in breastbone and so far no burning in chest.. I'm 73 years old so it took him awhile to find the right medication because I'm very sensitive to meds and get side effects. In he past though 20 years ago I took Cymbalta which was a miracle drug for me-Helped with the fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression. Had to go off of it because after 14 years of taking it it was causing my blood pressure to elevate But it was a good run while it lasted! I still dont know which came first the fibromyalgia or the anxiety and depression-chicken or egg syndrome. One thing that helps me is in the morning I shower and let the hot water go down my back (spine) and then turn around and let the hot water hit my breastbone and that seems to help alot. I know I also have alot of inflammation in my body because the blood test to check for that in my case is high. I hope that helps-Its good to check things out to eliminate things especially someone my age but also its kinda a relief to know that it isn't those issues-I personally thing the chest pain is from costocondritist but I'm not a doctor (but I play one on TV) just a little humor to get a laugh-
Hope this helps and ease some of your concerns.
 

sunkacola

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Hello, I am a 26 year old woman who has been dealing with chest pain for about 2 months now. I went from thinking it was my heart, to GERD to Costochondritis and now Fibromylalgia. I went to the ER 4 times within a week, had 4 EKGS, 3 xrays, 1 ultrasound, and 3 blood tests to rule out heart problems. Everything came back clear. So I had my primary doctor refer me for a Stress test, which also came back clear. I saw my GI dr yesterday and he said it sounded like Costochondritis. I have pain while applying pressure under my breasts, in the center of my chest, everywhere in my upper chest, my arms, wrists and back. As well as my legs lately too. I keep googling symptoms, someone in one of the groups I'm in mentioned Fibro...I have several of the Trigger points that hurt when pushed on. My chest pain doesn't get brought on by me pushing on it, sometimes it just..happens. Its sharp and burning. Its mostly in my left side of chest, closer to my arm pit and all up and down that area. Up to my shoulder and down below my left breast. Sometimes it's in the right side, and center of my chest as well. My anxiety is bad again, starting yesterday, my heart rate has been wonky. I am anemic, I take Iron Pills twice a day and Omeprezole once a day for GERD. This pain is way too similar to cardiac problems so I am freaking out...does anyone else have these exact symptoms?
Hello there,
I am sorry you are going through this, and I welcome you to this forum and hope that we can help. As Jemima mentions, FMS is a diagnosis of elimination, so in order to know what is going on there need to be tests done for many other things. It sounds as though you have had some of those already and I encourage you to continue with this process if possible.

I have had chest pains, although not as strong as yours sound, and each time for me it was stress causing it. Not saying that is what it is for you, of course.

Just want to mention also that the "trigger point" test has essentially been debunked. It's not accurate because many of us will react strongly to those points one day and not on another day. (I am like that myself). Have you seen a cardiologist? I would recommend this, so as to find out for sure whether your chest pains are cardiac-related or not.

It is possible that, if they are not actually caused by a heart problem, they are stress pains. The way to alleviate that is to work on reducing stress in all aspects of your life, which anyone with FMS needs to do in any case. Stress comes in man forms, not all being something we automatically think of. Eating a poor diet causes stress in the body. Being around certain chemicals also causes physical stress. And of course, emotional stress is to be avoided. Worrying about what something might be is extremely stressful on your body and will exacerbate any existing symptoms. So no matter what is actually going on with you physically, reducing that stress is pretty much necessary. The post I made that Jemima linked to above has tips on how to go about that. Sometimes medication is helpful with this as well.

fibromyalgia and stress/anxiety/depression are indeed a chicken-and-egg thing as mariemeader66 says above. What we do know is that they all exacerbate each other, and we need to do all we can to interrupt that vicious circle.
 

Rhyl

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Aug 15, 2020
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12/2021
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I have both, and the costochondritis causes me more issues at times than the fibro does because doctors seem to have a hard time diagnosing it, and it very frequently causes chest and left arm pain. I have the very same symptoms you do; the chest, upper back, ribcage pain is the costo, and it's possible the others could be fibro. I know how scary it can be, but if you have had all the testing and your heart is ok, I'd look into treating it as costo.

I have to be careful about my activities - because so much aggravates the pain - and I use cold packs to get relief.
 

LolaMerle

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DX FIBRO
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12/2021
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WA
I also was in and out of the ER with the same symptoms - chest pain, left arm pain, plus sometimes nausea. They did all the tests - EKGs, MRIs, stress test, blood, and they all came back clear. This was over about ten years. Everyone, including my primary doctor, couldn’t figure it out, and I went through many more tests for everything, and everything was great as far a heart issues go. Now that I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, i am surprised that not a single doctor until a month ago even thought to mention it. Costochondritis had been mentioned but they seemed to think that was something brought on by an accident or injury and I hadn’t had either. I also have GERD. The only thing that helps is omeprazole, but I have read that omeprazole depletes the absorption of calcium, so that’s something to be aware of. But what I have learned through all of this is to keep searching and reading until YOU are comfortable with what your doctor is telling you. If also helps to find a doctor that is open to all possibilities, not just what the tests are showing (because when all tests come back clear, you are left asking “then what is wrong with me?!”).
 

kathybird

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Aug 2, 2021
Messages
4
Hello, I am a 26 year old woman who has been dealing with chest pain for about 2 months now. I went from thinking it was my heart, to GERD to Costochondritis and now Fibromylalgia. I went to the ER 4 times within a week, had 4 EKGS, 3 xrays, 1 ultrasound, and 3 blood tests to rule out heart problems. Everything came back clear. So I had my primary doctor refer me for a Stress test, which also came back clear. I saw my GI dr yesterday and he said it sounded like Costochondritis. I have pain while applying pressure under my breasts, in the center of my chest, everywhere in my upper chest, my arms, wrists and back. As well as my legs lately too. I keep googling symptoms, someone in one of the groups I'm in mentioned Fibro...I have several of the Trigger points that hurt when pushed on. My chest pain doesn't get brought on by me pushing on it, sometimes it just..happens. Its sharp and burning. Its mostly in my left side of chest, closer to my arm pit and all up and down that area. Up to my shoulder and down below my left breast. Sometimes it's in the right side, and center of my chest as well. My anxiety is bad again, starting yesterday, my heart rate has been wonky. I am anemic, I take Iron Pills twice a day and Omeprezole once a day for GERD. This pain is way too similar to cardiac problems so I am freaking out...does anyone else have these exact symptoms?
I know how you feel! I am 62 and have had fibromyalgia symptoms since my 20’s…. My first symptom were in my rib/ sternum area and I really thought that I could be dying…. there was an emotional aspect to my pain…. it was when fibromyalgia wAs just being “discovered”…. my doctors had no clue, but I finally found a rheumatologist that was interested in my case…. he had to look at textbooks while he examined me… I was so grateful…I have had had too many symptoms to list, but the what you are experiencing lines up with what I have every few years…. it has ghe symptoms of chondritis, and goes away in a few days…..it’s been 42 years now….I’m glad you found this forum… symptoms are different for everyone…. I hope this helps……
 

TJB

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Aug 17, 2020
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Hi,
After reading your post I’m replying with about similar sym (long term).
Diagnosed with ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia, GERD (severe), Bile Malabsorption and too much more.
I had my gallbladder removed a few years ago.
Aside if the obvious things suffered with my diagnosis I complained for a couple of years with chest, rib and costochondritis type symptoms, quite often really bad. Rheu, GP’s insisted costochondritis but I always felt didn’t completely fit.
My GERD was bad. I went back on Omeprazole and within a week my chest pains improved! I still get chest pain at one point but I believe that’s a fibromyalgia pain point.
Both GERD and Bile Malabsorption can be a result of gallbladder removal…no acid filter!
Bad thing is I’m not happy taking Omeprazole long term, it a bad med. Already my saliva glands are painful and I have nasty sore patches in my throat.
Wanted to let you know that costochondritis is too easily and over diagnosed. I suffered for years largely because the Dr’s didn’t bother to consider the full picture and previous gallbladder removal.
Just my experience, maybe worth you looking into.
At least my severe chest pain is currently received.
x
 

CreativeOne

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Joined
Nov 27, 2021
Messages
16
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
10/2011
Country
US
State
NV
I used to do Jobs where I held my arms up and pushed/pulled. When my Fibro became very apparent about 6 years later, I suspected it was a combo situation where its an arthritis in my ribs. I get these ribs flaring about 4x a year and end up on heating pads a lot while it seems to be going on. I am not sure exactly what gets the pain started though.
 

iamitpal

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Jan 27, 2022
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Hi @shuddupheidi ,

I know how stressful chest pains can be. I'm sorry you're going through this.

I actually also found myself in the ER a couple months ago for chest pain after a muscle relaxant medication didn't improve my symptoms. After a slew of tests they found nothing definitive and suggested I might have Costochondritis. I then had a visit with my primary care doctor who seemed to think I have Costochondritis on top of Fibromylagia, maybe a possible symptom of Fibromyalgia as @Jemima mentioned though my primary care doctor didn't seem to think they were directly linked. I also happen to have sciatica at the same time and maybe an autoimmune disorder (tests are still being processed). My primary care doctor prescribed me 500mg of Naproxen and told me some over the counter Turmeric would help with the inflammation. I've noticed since January my chest pain has gotten better I think as a result of medication and physical therapy I've been doing weekly. I also live with anxiety and do notice that my chest pain tends to worsen when I'm more anxious.

I haven't heard of Fibromyalgia and heat rate being linked but I do know that in my experience, my heart rate tends to quicken when I'm anxious. I've been finding that especially with Fibromyalgia, my state of mind has a big effect on my bodily pains and vice versa. I hope you're able to find some relief with clear and supportive medical guidance and some insight in this forum.
 
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