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Chest pain and palpitations

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by CarlPanzram, May 18, 2021.

  1. CarlPanzram

    CarlPanzram New Member

    Hi folks. Here's a fun one. What's everyone's thoughts on chest pain/tightness, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations? I had my heart looked at 9+ months ago (echo, ECG, treadmill) and everything was fine but NOW I'm getting potentially concerning cardiac problems. Can anyone relate to the following story?

    Wake up in the middle of the night with mild chest squeezing and shortness of breath sensations. Take a deep breath or 3 and everything is back to normal. Still feel a little adrenaline dump in the chest.

    Has anyone found their freaky heart stuff to be TMS? I've been working through my MindBody practices well over a month now and think this might be symptom substitution but I'm TERRIFIED.

  2. banjoman

    banjoman Peer Supporter

    I had this in December, ended up in the Emergency Room on New Year’s Day!! Everything checked out normal as I knew it would, but it’s scary as hell. For me, it’s 100% TMS. And a new symptom of course, because TMS is incredible adaptable and once I’ve debunked a symptom it moves on to something new and exciting!!
    Covid was the fear system that got under my skin, because if you’ve shortness of breath for the last year it “could be” Covid. That’s terrifying right? Even though I had no possible vector for picking it up. I’ve had 3 Covid tests because of TMS symptoms.
    Fear, fear, fear. It’s all fear. TMS lives, thrives on fear.
    I had a consult with Steve Ozanich at this time. Ti reaffirm that it’s TMS, that “asthma” symptoms are TMS, chest tightness, heart palpitations etc etc
    It’s the obsession with the new symptom that drives it onwards.
    I could put on a movie and sink into the story and my chest tightness would release. That’s the definition of TENSION!!

    I had to go back to the basics again. Lots of TMS podcast/video/book listening, switching off the news and looking at the stress in my life. Trying once again to get to the place of self compassion that will release it.
    Tears are great and the hardest thing for me to do. The fear and obsessive thinking drive the symptoms

    I’ve had every test done for heart and lungs. I’m healthy as a trout. I had to do all of that so I could accept the TMS diagnosis and focus on the emotional reasons for the symptoms - basically I’m terrified of dying from Covid. Because that represents the ultimate abandonment- being in hospital on my own and dying with no one to mind me or look after me.
    For me it’s always down to abandonment and rejection.

    Have the tests done and then relax and know that you’re ok.
    CarlPanzram likes this.
  3. CarlPanzram

    CarlPanzram New Member

    Thanks so much. This reply is so damn reassuring. I've never had a symptom so freaky and so much like a "real" issue.
    banjoman likes this.
  4. banjoman

    banjoman Peer Supporter

    Yeah I had the same thought with this. It was brand new and literally thumping in my chest!! Totally TMS and totally benign.

    for what it’s worth I had the tight chested feeling this morning after an intense row at home - because my deep fear of abandonment and rejection was triggered. I recognised this, talked to a friend about it and the issue resolved itself again. The adult is back in charge. At least for now
    CarlPanzram likes this.
  5. CarlPanzram

    CarlPanzram New Member

    Is it even worth it to go get tested now that I'm feeling normal the morning after? Or wait again til it happens?
  6. banjoman

    banjoman Peer Supporter

    It’s always worth getting medical clearance just in case. I did and then I could relax as focus on the TMS work
  7. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Same thing happened to me right after my wife's health crisis. We called 9-1-1. Paramedics called it anxiety attack. Went to the ER anyway. Everything checked out Ok.

    When this happens follow Dr. Kelly McGonigal's advice: your body is preparing you for handling greater things. So embrace it as a good thing.

    So any time I wake up during stressful times with heart palpitations I welcome it with a smile and it goes away.

    She explains more in her book The Upside of Stress and in this TED talk.
    Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend | TED Talk

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  8. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    I'd get this after taking melatonin at night. Palps + feeling a little too drowsy felt weird, turned out my body made sleep hormones just fine. Belly breathing works for me. It lowers your heart rate especially on the exhale.
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  9. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    This was me last year with the fear of getting COVID and going through a nightmare of medication withdrawal/mild Covid I potentially got around the same time. Thankfully I was too scared to go the ER after reading so many stories of people going there due to panic attacks (didn't want to potentially get exposed, see people having emergencies etc.), and it happened too often for it to be a heart attack etc though it screwed up my sleep. I had so many tests done with good results and I got a bid mad at myself, but my body improved after getting the symptom imperative following some acupuncture, and now I'm left with a little burnout, the occasional sharp sensation, a little thinner skin, a tiny bit more hypermobility, and the all familiar anxiety thoughts. I consider myself recovered but must take better care of myself physically and in general.
    banjoman and TG957 like this.
  10. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    About 15 years ago, I was going through a very stressful period in my life. I was repeatedly experiencing chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and nausea. At some point I ended up in ER suspecting a heart attack. They checked me out and then put me on the treadmill. As they kept ramping up the speed of treadmill, I started walking faster and faster, and subsequently feeling better and better. The doctor who was observing me concluded that he would have been happy to do as well on the treadmill as I did. My "heart attack" was just anxiety. Took me another 9 years and a major bout of TMS before I finally learned that I needed to deal with my anxiety in order to stay healthy, thanks to Dr. Sarno. Now I am a big believer in mindfulness and meditation -the only ultimate solution for anxiety.
  11. Lauren

    Lauren Newcomer

    Thank you so much for this! I have a very similar story. After having all the heart tests performed and being told my heart is healthy and fine – three years later, I'm once again experiencing stubborn heart arrhythmia and palpitations. Sometimes it lasts all night long, and is accompanied by a light feeling of dizziness. I also feel some general soreness in my chest area. It definitely makes it harder to sleep well, and even though I'm mostly sure it's still TMS, it's really feeding into my anxiety. I've been trying to journal and meditate, to get to the root of my fears and other emotions, and so far it's not really helping this time. The first time around just reading Sarno's MindBody Prescription practically eliminated all the symptoms I was having (which also included neck and shoulder pain, arm and leg tingling, sound sensitivity, muscle spasms, etc.). So my main question is, since three years have passed, do you all think it would be a good idea to go through the heart tests again just to be safe? Or is that feeding the power of the TMS and fear, just avoiding the underlying issues? How long do you all recommend usually waiting between physical testings for TMS symptoms?

    Thank you again!
  12. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Lauren, since we are not medical practitioners we have to be very careful about questions like this. With that caveat firmly in mind, I'm willing to tell you my story.

    I'm 73, and I've had a lifetime of heart symptoms, mostly extra beats, which I've understood since my twenties to be stress-based. I was 60 when I finally discovered Dr Sarno. However, the only time that I had a full workup was in my early thirties, including the stress test and a Holter monitor, followed by an Rx for beta blockers which I only took for a short time. I was fifty-something when I had an episode of strong extra beats for almost two hours in the middle of the night. They freaked out my husband, who could feel them, but I had no other signs of actual heart failure. A phone call to the 24-hour urgent care hotline calmed me down a bit, and I promised to go in for an ECG the next day, but by then there were no signs of any issues. They said I should come right in the next time it happened so they could get it on record, but of course a lengthy episode like that never happened again! The only other time I ever had an ECG was in 2019 after a fainting episode. The ECG was fine (as was everything else except for marginally low potassium, the entire incident having been brought on by lack of sleep due to a bad cough and a heat wave. I eat more bananas and avocados now).

    Over all these years I have had the experience of going a really long time without any heart symptoms, only to have extra beats show up out of the blue - which I can nonetheless always connect to elevated anxiety and slipping into mindlessness. Deep breathing is my go-to remedy, and expressive writing exercises if it continues.

    Like many of us, I can see how my list of different TMS symptoms come and go, kind of in rotation, as if my TMs brain knows to give me a rest from one symptom so I'll forget about it and then be more worried the next time it shows up in the rota, LOL.

    When to seek medical care is a very individual decision. We always say that new symptoms should be checked out - but even then, there are a lot of symptoms which by their nature can be given some time to see if a mindbody approach makes a difference. There are other symptoms which should never be treated this way, and while every adult should be aware of the difference, age and experience do make a difference. In any case, signs of heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, or respiratory distress must always be treated as an emergency.

    Back in 2010 and 2011, just before I discovered Dr Sarno and this forum, I was experiencing bad panic attacks with all of the associated tight breathing and tight chest - yet I never once called for emergency help, because I had enough life experience to recognize what they were, and I was willing to calm myself down and do some deep breathing and massage my inner wrists (good acupressure point to distract you from the panic sensations) - and to get out of it.

    Have you ever heard of Claire Weekes? Her book, Hope and Help for Your Nerves has saved thousands and thousands of people from anxiety and panic attacks for decades since it was first published in 1969. It's a wonderful little book, full of compassion and insight about how anxiety causes physical symptoms - and a simple technique to banish it. It was the second book that saved my life, after The Divided Mind.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2024
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  13. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't think anything is wrong about checking out your heart. If there is a problem, you will take care of it, if not - it will help to deal with TMS.
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  14. Lauren

    Lauren Newcomer

    Hello, Jan and TG,

    Thank you both very much for taking the time to share and reply (so quickly, too!). It means so much! Just knowing that others like yourselves who relate and care enough to write makes me feel better already. I will keep both of your statements in mind during this time, as I think there is a lot of wisdom in both! It's very helpful to hear the way TMS has manifested for you over that period of years, Jan. It's good to realize that in one way or another, TMS is something we'll be working with for our lifetimes – even if, hopefully, symptoms may only show up now and then. I guess I thought maybe once we 'solved' the issue, it would be mostly gone forever. But as it's said, "healing is not a linear process." It's not a failure or abnormal for symptoms to return for various reasons. I will definitely look for Claire Weekes book right away. It sounds marvelous. Thank you both again!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  15. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are right on, and most of us eventually figure out that this is the measure of success. It's a lifelong learning process, but the skills to recognize and allow symptoms to come and go will come more easily and more automatically as you do the work.
    TG957 likes this.

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