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ask: My Brother Is Having Random Chest Pains

By Anonymous
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My 20 year old brother doesn't want to see a doctor yet, but as his older sister I want to advocate for his health.

Randomly, when he is sitting down relaxing he has experienced chest pain on his left side near his heart that's lasting 5 to 10 seconds. This has happened three times in the last week.

He stays very active and works out constantly, never experiencing the pain then. He also says the pain worsens if he laughs when it is occurring. He is not experiencing any additionally symptoms.

He returns home this week and says he will make an appointment with the doctor to get his physical. However, I was wondering what this might be and if you could suggests any specific questions he might ask when he goes.

I also told him to get an ekg that is usually done during physicals by his doctor when he goes.


Add a Comment7 Comments


I had that same pain you describe your brother having. For me it was to the left side of my heart/chest (but then switched to right and back to left). It would jolt, a pain completley out of the blue. Does the location ever change for your brother?

For me, it was my first symptom of Lyme Disease. But I also had an achy (edge of my) rib cage and also a swollen/tender sternum. Found out years later it was from swollen lymph nodes, due to the Lyme bacteria.

April 11, 2009 - 2:28pm
EmpowHER Guest


He does carry a backpack to class and I will mention to him that this could be a reason for his pain. However, I know he doesn't have any heavy text books to lug around.

Either way, thank you for the additional suggestion and I will make sure he is on top of going to the doctor and let you know the results.

Thank you all for your support and suggestions!

April 9, 2009 - 9:18am
Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter

Hello Anonymous,

I think it is great that you are advocating for your baby brother. He is very fortunate to have you in his life, even though he might not realize it yet. I agree with the other replies that this could be nothing at all, or it might end up to be something that needs medical attention. Either way, it's important that he see a doctor to get the necessary tests done to find out what's going on.

Does he by chance carry a heavy backpack, like maybe in college or something? A friend of mine did that when she was a teenager and she ended up with really sharp chest pains that would come and go and she could not take a full deep breath at times. Turns out it was the backpack.

Please keep us posted on how your brother is doing and what the doctor finds out. And again, big hugs to you for being a great older sister! Michelle

April 7, 2009 - 11:45pm
EmpowHER Guest

So far, he has only felt these pains when sitting around doing nothing. Saturday night he was playing video games when it happened and last night we were watching the NCAA basketball championship when it happened.

I think he would have kept ignoring it had I not been with him last night.

Thanks for your suggestions! I will make sure he is on top of making his physical appointment and have him bring it up then.

April 7, 2009 - 5:35pm

I certainly hope your brother gets in to see his doctor soon. He could have a serious heart condition, or as Anon suggested, acid reflux or indigestion. Even acid reflux, however, can have some serious consequences.

Have you noticed if he feels these pains after eating or activity?

Please also feel free to ask our Expert panel your question.

April 7, 2009 - 5:19pm
EmpowHER Guest

That's what I asked too, but he said it seemed to high and too far to the left. But maybe.

Thanks for the suggestion!

April 7, 2009 - 5:13pm
EmpowHER Guest

Has he ever had problems with acid reflux or indigestion? That could be an issue -- it can contribute to chest pain.

April 7, 2009 - 4:31pm
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