Firstly, the exercises I normally do are running or sports such as soccer etc.

For probably the last 6-12 months, I've been having discomfort in my upper chest. Lately, it feels like it's getting worst. I think it's completely muscular, as it hurts across a wide area. I have a feeling maybe I strained a muscle in my shoulders or maybe it's the way I'm sitting at work? I'm not sure, it's been happening for long enough that I don't remember when it started.

I went to see the doctor (a GP) and basically, once he was sure it wasn't my heart, he was a bit apathetic about it. He told me to take pain killers for a week. I told him that it doesn't hurt, just causes discomfort, but he said, it was all in my head and after a week of taking the pain killers, my brain will "forget" that it's there. He even told me to continue doing sports and stuff.

Is that good advice? I feel like taking pain killers for something that isn't causing me pain isn't a good idea. Should I go to a physio? Should I get some type of massage? Should I do any type of exercise? Can anyone suggest any alternative treatments?

  • 2
    Props for actually going to the doctor before posting about an injury!
    – G__
    Aug 1, 2011 at 0:35
  • He told you that it wasn't your heart, but what did he say it was? If you think it is muscular, what muscle do you think it is that you may have strained? When does it hurt - when exercising or when sitting at the computer or all the time? What makes it feel better? Some more info will help to better answer your questions as to other treatments and types of exercise. As for your doctor's advice, unless you have a reason not to follow it, why not see if it works? Aug 1, 2011 at 5:47

1 Answer 1


Specifically taking NSAIDS (e.g. Advil/Ibuprofen) may be a very good idea. It's not just for the pain, but also to reduce inflammation, which can linger and cause that pain.

Within the last year or two, I've had (unrelated) injuries to both my knee and my foot. Both caused enough pain to prevent any sort of related exercise and had me limping. Both lingered (the knee lingered for well over a month before I got it checked out). In both cases, when I finally saw a doctor they prescribed a NSAID (double-dose ibuprofen in one case, naproxen in the other) and that fixed the problem fast. Because these injuries had lingered, I'm sure it was the anti-inflammatory properties of the drugs, rather than the painkilling aspects that did the trick.

In addition, assuming an inflammation-based problem, icing it can help. I iced both injuries, and it seemed to help a little on a temporary basis, but the NSAID was the real magic trick for me in both cases

  • mmm well he didn't explain the imflammation aspect of it, but maybe he does have a point. So yeah, maybe I'll try it. Thanks.
    – stickman
    Aug 1, 2011 at 0:47
  • Well, a week of off-the-shelf painkillers isn't going to be too expensive and isn't likely to have any serious side effects, so you might as well try it.
    – G__
    Aug 1, 2011 at 0:48

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