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Are these Symptoms Familiar to Anyone else?
10 Replies
Ragtime - March 18

I was bereaved in June 2008 – I was, and still am, utterly devastated, beyond words. From June 2008 I was initially numb with shock and then in August signed up to do the London Marathon, nearly all my focus was on this. In October 2008 I started having discomfort under my ribs at the front, to the left and right of my sternum. I suffered quite badly with pressure here. It did affect my training for the marathon and sometimes made me quite breathless.

Finally went to the doctor when I had a right sided ache below the ribs and pain up under my right ribs, and burning pain in the left side under left ribs (abdomen area). The doctor thought it was without a doubt, ulcers and prescribed Omeprazole. I don’t think these really did any good. The pain I can only describe as a ‘bulging’ feeling under the ribs at the front like I have an inner tube there too big for the tyre! My symptoms seem to continually change. Returning to the doctor he arranged for an ultrasound to check my gallbladder – it showed no gallstones and looked ‘normal’ – although it apparently showed evidence of a fatty liver, although my liver enzymes from a blood test were normal.

I did the marathon, but afterwards my grief became more intense as did my symptoms. Pain under the right rib and around under the right shoulder blade (not connected with eating at all) – sometimes pain and bulging in the left side and one of the worst symptoms for me is burning and aching all over the chest. I am ok when I go to bed, when I get up in the morning it starts off ok and then I get chest pressure and pressure upwards from the base of my sternum; it is not comfortable for me to sit, I also have a tight bulging feeling under my right arm at breast level. This pressure eases off, but often starts again at around 6 –7 pm when I am winding down from a days work, the burning and soreness stays with me in different degrees of intensity throughout the day. Sometimes my whole rib caged feels so tight like I am in some kind of vice. These symptoms also make me quite breathless I should add at this point I have been extremely emotionally stressed and depressed. None of my symptoms seem to be affected by food and I don’t have any indigestion.

I have had an ECG & EKG, two chest x-rays and umpteen blood tests – nothing. My doctor has suggested fibromyalgia, maybe brought on by grief. I was convinced it was my gallbladder because of pain under my right rib and sometimes at night a very ‘breathtaking’ muscle cramp in the same place, which isn’t relieved until till I move and hold my breath for a several moments.

I permanently feel chest soreness inside, my bottom ribs feel very sore, my back is sore and aches and I feel sore and inflamed all around the base of my ribs. Even as I sit here I have soreness in the chest and tightness and burning all around & under my right arm at bra level, my bra, especially in the evenings feels like it is 10 sizes too small – it is on the left side as well, but worse on the right.

I also have crushing fatigue, my elbows and shoulders ache, my back my hips sometimes my knees, I don’t sleep well at all – in fact something seems to hurt all over my body at some point.
Thank you in anticipation of your thoughts and help, I am so miserable with all of this and don’t know where to turn.
Sorry for the long winded post and thank you for your time.


January - March 18

Ragtime - you came to the right place, there is good support here. Please read up on the costochondritis information in other posts. Yes, fibro can be triggered by traumatic incidents like yours.

Your sadness and distress comes through in your words, and I hope you are getting some good counseling. I say "good" because not all counselors are effective at what they do - some just sit there for an hour and then collect a check. When some terrible grief knocks you off your feet, it can take many years to come to terms with it. You need to be talking it through regularly with someone who knows how to help. If you can't pay for counseling, most churches offer pastoral counseling which is very effective for dealing with bereavement. I'd suggest if you aren't doing this now, that you start as soon as possible.

It sounds like your body is expressing the hurt you are feeling. If you have chronic fatigue, as some of us do, you should be resting your body instead of pushing it to run marathons! A little exercise is good, but right now, be gentle with yourself.

Glad you are getting other physical illnesses ruled out - that is part of the process of diagnosis - and I hope you have a sympathetic doctor who will listen to you and work with you. However, beware getting on a merry-go-round of endless testing and treatments. You need to be your own advocate here and take control of your own health care.

Most of us with fibro have to learn to slow down, get good rest and nutrition, and support our bodies with kindness and patience. Some of us need drugs and supplements for the pain, and to ensure we get the restful kind of sleep we need. (You don't say how you're sleeping - but if you're not sleeping well, that can run your body down very fast.)

I have been through terrible bereavements too, so I really sympathize, and am sending you my prayers. Please let us know how you are progressing.


Ragtime - March 18

Thank you so much for your kindness and advice. No I am not having counselling, I had one session, it felt so 'superficial' - I lost my dear precious Mum, she was my best friend, my soul mate and although two and half years ago, I just cannot accept or get over it. You are right, I shouldn't have done the marathon, I have suffered ever since with such pain, of course it is a vicious circle, the more pain I have the more stressed I get about it and so on. I keep on being referred for more tests and quite honestly have had enough - it is a repetitive treadmill. My doctor is very apathetic. I have never needed doctors before this. I just can't deal with this debilitating pain and discomfort. Sorry, I sound really pathetic when so many people suffer so much more. I guess I was hoping that by hearing from people with the same symptoms it would help.
No - I don't sleep well at all, coupled with the fact I am 50 so trying to get used to other 'age related issues'. I really appreciate your message, time and kindness. Take care and thank you for your prayers. God bless - Judy


January - March 18

I'm so very sorry about your Mum. Especially if you were so close, it must feel unbearable. Sorry you didn't get a good counselor the first time out - but please try again.

Also, if you have pain and fatigue, it needs to be dealt with quickly so it doesn't get worse. If your doctors are dismissing you, fire them and find someone who listens and works with you. We have all had trouble finding good medical help. It's hard to keep looking when you feel rotten, but you must advocate for yourself, so learn as much as you can. Perhaps there is a fibro or chronic pain support group in your area? If so, they might know who the best doctors are.

Meanwhile, there is a lot of hopeful and helpful advice on this site - from many different angles too. Please take good care of yourself - and share any new ideas you come up with. This is a journey and it can be a positive one!


lacey - March 28

welcome to the club Ragtime.

In 2003 my son fell and broke his arm. a few days later he started vomiting and his doctor said it was a reaction to the anesetic. It wasn't but, he did end up in hospital 2 weeks later with meckles diverticulitis, that nearly killed him.

Things went from bad to worse and it wasn't until he told his girl friend's mother that he wanted to hang himself that things really started to spin. we saw doctors, specialists, phsyciatrists, cousellors, you name we did it all. Some were free, some we paid but it made no difference, they just didn't seem to care and constantly keeping everything going, is so totally stupid.

And then one day my sister told my about a friend of her's who took her daughter to see a man who did clinical hypnotherapy. he was good. In 12 sessions he had my son almost bake to his normal self. All my son had to do was, continue the way he was going and always look forward, not back.
The difference in my son after it was all over was amazing. This man truly gave us our son back and gave my son, his life back.

And the one thing this man did was, he never asked why my son was upset. If my son wanted to tell him, that was OK but he never asked and to my son, that made all the difference.

Your case maybe different but, in my son's case, he didn't want to keep going over and over it all, week after week. Unfortunitely this man has retired and moved away or I too would be going to him. I too lost my mum in 2003, the year my son almost died. We also lost one of our dogs, who had been in the family for 17 years ( my son found her, drowned in the river) and a few months later, his dog died. it was all of 5 years old. So yes, 2003 was a shocker of a year for us all. I had a really bad time getting over my mum's death plus having 2 kids with depression but, I have suffered this syndrome for 12 years and only just got worse 12 months ago. I have no idea why it did get worse in 2003. Just lucky I suppose.

Think about hypnosis. It's possible it might work for you. Ask around though and see if you can find someone, people are happy to recommend.

When i joined here, I thought things would change i have no idea why I thought that) but after reading some of the posts by other people and all the info, I actually feel a lot sadder to find I am going to suffer this for the rest of my life.

And one other thing, from today i am not going to try and tell anyone what my complaint is. if they are interested I will tell them fibromyalgia and then tell them to google it. I am sick of trying to explain it and then get told I look fine. I don't want sympathy ( lol well maybe just a little) I really just want understanding.

Good luck to you, in what ever you choose to do

PS. look for a new doctor but don't be a hard-to-get-along with patient. Give them a time limit and if they haven't done anything worthwhile in that time, ditch them.


ldylarke - April 13

I have nearly identical symptoms. Intense chest pains, like someone has a vice on my entire torso from the lowest rib to my collar bones. The pressure and pain is 24/7. Tylenol 3 sometimes doesn't touch it, it's never enough.

I haven't been able to wear a bra for months. I've been on medical leave from work for 6 months. Diagnosed with Fibro and costochondritis with chronic fatigue syndrome.

I too lost my mother, in 2006. I grieved but I wouldn't say I still do, though I miss her of course. She was also my best friend.

I think I've had fibro and CFS for a decade or more. I just thought the chronic pain was something I had to put up with. I never knew what it was and I had NO idea how much I was suffering. Not really.

Get a referral to a rheumatoid arthritis specialist. That's what worked for me, finally. After 6 mos of doctors and numerous tests. There is treatment: prescription drugs, acupuncture, cortisone shots etc. But from what I've read not many help most people.

I have good days, but mostly bad. I hope to find some support here. Like you. We are NOT alone.


January - April 13

Hi ldylarke - I've had FMS/CFS for at least a few decades I think. It got REALLY bad 20 years ago. I have been fighting like crazy to find things that work to help me feel better - and I have found some.

Yesterday I had such a (relatively) great day, I was thinking "YESSS! I've beat you now!" and what did I do? Of course, way more than I should have! LOL. Today I am EXHAUSTED.


Karkel - May 26

Do you have breast implants ? I did ,had them removed but I had the same pain you are talking about.


deigodirty1 - May 26

I can relate because i feel some of your pain, people think am crazy but i know how i feel and sometimes i just keep it to myself and push on but sometimes i feel like i need to run and hide.


bigted - May 31

I get those chest/rib pains too. Never could get to the bottom of it. An idiot rheumatologist I used to see told me it was my gall bladder. In my ribcage I said, as the pain is clearly on the outside of my ribs and not under! Needless to say I switched docs and I now have a specialist who understands diagnoses and treats fibromyalgia. I still can't wear a decent bra but at least I know why. Since I was only diagnosed last week I'll give the guy a break and give him some time to get it looked after :).


Pikespeak - June 1

Hi Judy! Losing a mother is never easy. My mom passed away at a young 51 (breast cancer) in 1974. Think of how blessed you were to have her for so long! I have often wondered how that would have turned out for me. She would have adored her grandchildren and gr. grandchildren! I keep her alive by relating stories about her to my children and grandchildren. I keep up with the genealogy of the family, as I know the history was very important to her. Perhaps you can offer your talents in an activity that was near and dear to your mother--but only promise what you think you can physically do.

As for sleeping, it is the most important aspect in feeling better! I take Ambien and LOVE IT! No residual effect in the morning, and most days I feel rested (unless awakened with pain in my glutes). I use a roll-on product called BIOFREEZE, which I keep next to the bed. Much easier to use than gooey gels/lotions! The active ingredient is Natural Menthol. It's moderately priced ($9 US), but does last a long time.

Have you thought of biofeedback or meditation to lower the stress? I do a form of self hypnosis/deep breathing and positive affirmations.
Best of luck! Write back and let us know how you're doing--we care!



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