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Thought I was having a heart attack

I had an episode the other night that scared the crap out of me. Was doing dishes when this deep, burning, severe pain spread across my back, just below my shoulder blades, then down the back of both arms. I went to sit down and started to get clammy. The pain was excruciating. I couldn't move. I couldn't lift my arm. Husband asked if my chest hurt and it felt like the pain was wrapping around to my chest by then. He called 911. By the time the paramedics arrived, the pain had subsided, of course. They took my pulse, temp, blood pressure and did an EKG. Everything was normal. Said it could have been a pinched nerve. I honestly thought I was having a heart attack. I have had several milder episodes of this type of pain before, but nothing this severe. I was completely debilitated for a few minutes. Any ideas?


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    edited 04/09/2013 - 3:27 AM
    can mimic heart attacks.

    There is a semi-medical term, T4 Syndrome. Its about your T4 disc and when aggravated can create almost the identical symptoms of a heart attack.

    The first time I had this, we did go to the ER, all tests were done, they admitted me... But no problems were found. I had to do a stress test the following day, which again showed, no heart associated problems.

    One of my old time physical therapists (by old, I mean doing it for 35 years and in her 70's) laughed a bit when I described the problem. She pushed her finger in to the T4 region and those heart attack pains started to happen.

    Now, my both my neurologist and neurosurgeon never backed that theory.. But, sometimes, you listen to someone who has been doing her work for years... Experience counts

    But, you never want to downplay any potential heart problems. I would discuss all of this with your Primary to see if they recommend any further testing.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Wow. Thank you so much. I've done some online research on T4, and it all sounds very familiar. Will be checking with my health care professionals. I feel so much better just knowing that I'm not crazy and this is a definite possibility. Thanks again.
  • Over a year ago I had my first of 3 ESI lumbar injections. 3 days after the shot I had friens over and we were all hanging out. I got up quickly and twisted and felt a tiny pop in my back. Within minutes I retreated myself to the bedroom. I was sweating, my whole body was tingling, and it was tough to breathe. The wife came in to check on me and I told her something was very wrong. The admission kind of opened up the flood gates and I was freaking out, hyperventilating, overcome by the tingling sensation, covered in sweat. I also thought, this is it, Im having a heart attack, Im gonna die!!! We called 911 & the paramedics came, but by the time they got there my wife & best friend had calmed me down and the worst was over. It was just a panic attack. I had heard of them but having one was a whole different story!

    So was it a side effect of the shot or just my panic because of the pop, I do not know. But it was scary! Hopefully no more for me or you!!!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • I've had this problem, only it starts in my abdominal area. I actually get it quite often. I always assumed its due to my IBS, but I'm wondering if it could be a thoracic issue, because there is a spot on my middle back that when you touch it its like being stunned with a hot poker. Hmm, something to ask about I guess.
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