diagnosis of "cervical angina" from cardio doctor, but neuro disagrees

by Brian
(Spring Garden, Alabama)


I have been battling a condition that mimics cardiac arrest now for over 3 years. After multiple hospitalizations and tests, I have been given an all clear on my heart and lungs. The last heart doctor interviewed me and was specifically wondering if I had any neck injuries. Well, I have had a neck injury. One that basically follows the same timeline as the chest pain and shortness of breath I have been experiencing.

So, I return to my spine doctor and he basically says he has never heard of it. To add to his statement of no knowledge, he also said my MRI doesn't show anything that would be causing this pain.
I have trouble sleeping now due to the pain in my left arm, all the way down to my hand, where it becomes excruciating if I turn the wrong way in my sleep. My fingers are now almost always numb. I have a very sharp pain between my shoulder blades that now rarely eases up. I have tightness across the upper part of my chest and it just feels partly numb. Upon exertion, especially any that might involve using my arms, I become very symptomatic, with rapid heart rate, chest pain, shortness of breath and arm pain. If I carry anything of any weight at all, especially up steps or stairs, it brings on major symptoms.

I am literally at the end of my rope. If they (spine doctors) say they haven't heard of this and my MRI, while showing some things, does not, in their opinion, show anything that would cause this, then what do I do?

I need answers. Do any of these symptoms seem familiar? Could they be related to a neck/spine/nerve injury? Has anyone there heard of the diagnosis of Cervical Angina?

Any comments welcomed.

Dear Brian,
I feel better having read your letter. Firstly because I too had never heard of cervical angina! But yes, it's a very real condition, well described on the net as non-cardiac front of chest pain, brought on by exertion or emotion and relieved by rest.

But you have mid back pain, so it's not an exact fit.

Does the xray report say anything about the joints of Luschka, uncovertebral or para vertebral joints, or the foramena, IVFs?

I have three tests for you to do. Please do all three before answering, keeping to this same thread.

1. Turn your head to the left, and then look up. What happens? Be precise.

2. Do the Upper Limb Tension Test; you'll find it below. You'll need a helper.

3. Press firmly on the joints between the ribs and your sternum. Are any particularly tender or swollen? Which?

And lastly, exactly which fingers feel numb?

Alas I leave tomorrow for three weeks break. You may not get an answer for a month.

Dr B




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»Diagnosis of "cervical angina" from cardio doc, but neuro disagrees

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