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Old 09-29-10, 08:53 PM   #1
cvcman
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Weird chest pain when biking

Ok Ive been going 6 days a week for about 3 months now and Ive dropped about 27 pounds. I am at my target weight now. I ride about 20 miles a day everyday but one. Lots of hills,lol

Anyway just the last week or so I have noticed after riding about 3 miles I get a pain right in the center of my chest ( 51 yr old man ) about the diameter of your finger. I do not have any shortness of breath etc

I keep riding and maybe about 10 more minutes it seems like its gone. I went to my GP ( Dr ) yesterday, he listened to my heart, did an EKG, and told me he doesnt think its cardiac related but muscular or something

Does this seem reasonable or should I go to a cardiolgist ? Ever heard of this symptom before ?

The pain is not like heavy pressure or squeezing or anything like that
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Old 09-30-10, 09:37 AM   #2
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I'm not a doctor but the only chest pain I've ever had was due to some kind of acid reflux. Some prescription antacids fixed it. Might be worth a try to eat some tums if it happens again.
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Old 10-01-10, 10:00 AM   #3
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IANAD either, and while I lack family history of cardiac problems, we are at that age where this stuff is not to be taken lightly. A lot of GPs seem to base their diagnoses off the general sedentary population. I got much better info when I switched to my current internist who is an active middle-distance runner and "gets" normal for more active folks is different. I've discussed my general situation with a good friend who happens to be a cardiologist, he also gets it (he's also a cyclist) and while I have no reason to see him now, I have a general idea of when a professional vs social visit may be recommended. As you describe it, I am a little suspicious that the GP did not discuss doing any testing when you are physically exerting yourself (unless that EKG was a stress test on stationary bike or treadmill).

If I was dis-satisfied with my doctor's assessment, I'd at least consult with another. A good physician should recognize the value of second opinions and when a patient's situation may go beyond their immediate expertise or experience. My preference is towards docs like my internist who are active in endurance sports and have a better understanding of my lifestyle, concerns, and potential risks and ailments.

AND, I would not rely on ANY medical advice you get here or at most internet forums (can't say all as I know of a few medical/illness-related forums moderated by professionals who know what they're talking about).

Ride safe!
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Old 10-01-10, 10:15 AM   #4
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Anything I say about this is worth squat, because I am not a medical professional. Even were I a medial professional, it would be worth squat because we've never even met, let alone conducted an examination. However, it seems to me you're fine. I get occasional stabbing pains in the chest myself, and I have a heart like a lion.
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Old 10-01-10, 10:38 AM   #5
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I'm 65 and get the same discomfort every year at the beginning of the riding season. After about a few weeks, once I begin to build up my leg strength and breathing it goes away. I mentioned it to my cardiologist and he said it sounded like the early stages of angina. He isn't worried since I ride to stay in shape and it goes away after a few weeks of training.
But you should ask your doc about it. May be a little more serious.
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Old 10-01-10, 11:14 AM   #6
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Try not eating within a couple hours before a ride. As gregf83 said, it could be heartburn of sorts. Try it once, if it still happens. If it does, then you may want to consider a Cardiologist.
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Old 10-02-10, 11:01 PM   #7
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At the beginning of this summer I started a lot of Mountain Biking. After a few weeks on one ride I stopped and did some really deep coughing caused by allergies. My chest started to hurt really really bad in the center around the zyphoid process where all the ribs join up. I was scared and went to the doctor and had a bunch of tests done.

It all turned out to be costo chondritis. This is a condition where the cartilage that joins the ribs in the center gets inflamed. It can be very painful. (This condition is created from a variety of reasons, but the week before I had done some downhill at a ski resort with a rigid front suspension. Bad idea when you are out of shape; I got pounded. This didn't cause the inflamation but it did help reveal it it was probably due to allergies and a summer cold I had a week or so before. They don't really know exactly the reason. The deep coughing I did actually caused it to get very bad on that ride in question; the coughing just revealed the problem it didn't cause it.) My case included a bunch of the cartilage; but if you had a problem with a single rib joining it might be the size of a dime.

Solution for me was to take 2x ibuprofen 3 times a day for a few weeks. (Since I was starting out riding a lot this wasn't a bad idea anyway.)

I haven't had any problems since about two weeks after I went to the doctor.

Last edited by keithlm; 10-02-10 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 10-03-10, 12:14 AM   #8
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I've had ongoing chest pains and irregular heart beats that have scared me enough to finally see the doctor on two different occasions. Both times I feared that my heart might stop. Like you, I also never experienced any shortness of breath. Plenty of tests later when nothing bad was found, I was told stress and/or acid reflux may be the problem. I worked on correcting these issues as much as I could. It's been years since then, I still have occasional symptoms and my heart is still working fine, I'm 50 years old and have always been at a healthy weight and active.

By all means see another doctor, or even two if that's what it takes, but I know from experience that it is easy to sike yourself out worrying about this, and I won't be doing that again. I also know that when the doctors tell you it's not a heart related problem, they know what they're talking about. Pedal On!
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Old 10-03-10, 10:10 AM   #9
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It seems like when I do the Nordiac Track my heart is still beating about 140 BPM but I dont have it then. I do have a slight pain in the area when I cough heavy.

I think the reason my GP didnt seem alarmed is that it goes away after 5 minutes or so and I continue riding for another 40 minutes.. He said " if it were cardiac it wouldnt stop unless you stopped riding then after a few minutes it would stop"

Hes a young fit Dr and seems to not take chances usually, hope this time is not the exception...
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Old 10-11-10, 03:10 PM   #10
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I went straight to the Doctor after my last hard ride (multiday) and told him that I had periodic chest pains during the ride. He did all of the tests and everything was normal. i cough a lot during rides (dry /cold air/bugs/etc). He suggested that the issue may be bronchial spasms.

However - I know or know of 5 people who have had heart attacks this year - 2 died. All were endurance cyclists who thought they were in the best of health. While this could be an anecdotal random observation, you have to wonder.
Good health everybody!
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Old 10-13-10, 09:31 PM   #11
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WOW, I have a simular problem in which I would have an ache in the center of my chest for about five miles. It didn't happen often but it would come and go. the doctor suggested acid reflux and I had a stress test. I am paying more attention to my diet, no more coffee.
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Old 10-13-10, 10:03 PM   #12
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Chest pain needs to be addressed......period. It's better to be embarrassed by seeing a doctor for indigestion than to be dead on the side of the road from a heart attack out riding.
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Old 10-18-10, 11:01 AM   #13
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Well I was peristant and saw a cardio Dr and had an echo stress test, saw something he didnt like, sent direct to hospital, now have stent in my lad !!! Still cnt believe it, my HDL (good) cholst was 94 !!! He said he has never seen one that good LDL is 110 weight good, bike everyday,,,,
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Old 10-23-10, 12:21 PM   #14
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Good for you for being not only persistent but smart!

I was young, thin and fit like you, but dumb and ignored the chest pain. Once you have a heart attack, you get the same stent & medications but you never get back that dead heart muscle. There are people who develop blockages for reasons that are not understood, just happens. Enjoy the rest of your life knowing that your good sense saved it!
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Old 10-23-10, 03:59 PM   #15
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Yea just hope this stent doesnt plug up or any other arteries.... I take it you had a HA ? Are you biking again ?? How old are you ?
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Old 10-24-10, 02:29 PM   #16
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I am 52 and had an MI at age 47. I ride a 20-mile round trip commute a couple of times a week and run three miles on Sundays. It is definitely a freak-out to have this happen, but there is a lot that you can do to prevent a recurrence. You might want to consider cardiac rehab even if you're already fit. I was skeptical but ended up learning a lot!
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