Arthritic chest pain and playing

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by satchmo shaz, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    Hi all, I have just been diagnosed with arthritic chest pain and the doc seems to thinks it could be due to all the playing and wear and tear over the years! has anyone else got this?
    I also get palpitations and have a slight heart murmur.
    I have just been told to take pain killers and have more if I get really busy
    I am ALWAYS really busy!!!

    Any thoughts or ideas experts?

    Shaz x
  2. grausue

    grausue Member


    Since you ask for thoughts............I'd get a second opinion if I were you; this sounds wierd.

    PM me if you like.

    Hope it gets better

    Sue Grau
    Foss Dyke
  3. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    oooh meant to say I am nearly 47 (old crock! );) and teach brass/ music. I also conduct 2 bands and play in 2 bands, do shows etc so lead a busy life style
    I have athsma and an arthritic knee too, apart from that I am fighting fit!

    shaz x
  4. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    I'm sorry to hear about your problems, Shaz, but if your body's telling you your activities are doing you harm, perhaps you should listen to it. I wouldn't presume to give you any medical advice, but I do think you should assess your priorities.

    Blowing, waggling and teaching each have their own stresses, mental as well as physical. Which do you find exacerbates your condition most?

    Apart from the chosen few, we all have to earn a living - that must come first - hobbies come later (I know it's sometimes difficult to know where one finishes and the other starts). Adjusting your pace of life should give you a longer span doing what you obviously love. Push yourself too hard and who knows?
  5. Leyfy

    Leyfy Active Member

    Hi Sharon
    Essex Elvis ( Phil) here , using Leyfy's computer ( Hope thats OK mods ? ). Have sent you a PM
  6. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Hi Shaz,
    I'm 33 and suffer the similar problems (psoriatic arthritis, athsma). However, I play the trombone for a living, so unlike you hobbyists ;) I have to play whether I like it or not!

    Now, speaking with some experience, I find it a trifle far-fetched for your GP to say that playing a brass instrument is bad for you. It would be like saying that breathing is bad for you. Quite often, when a GP can't think of anything to say, as soon as you give them some ammunition (ie, telling them you play a brass instrument), they automatically blame the thing they no nothing about. Imagine a non-musician's idea of what we do, and you'll get the picture - all that huffing and blowing MUST have us hyperventilating and seeing stars, right?:wink:

    Seek a 2nd opinion and make no mention of playing. It's more likely the way you sleep, the way you sit in the car or at the computer, rather than something as natural as breathing. If it's ANYTHING to do with playing, it's more likely to be playing posture.
  7. alks

    alks Member

    Ooh, its horrible trying to play with chest pain and palpitations, since having an adverse reaction to antibiotics last march (although the doctors are sceptical / don't care and diagnosed me with M.E) i've been left with similar symptoms. Altthough aftter 20 months i'm now better than i was, and now just relaxe more when playing. One thing I have learnt is that you cannot put too much faith in doctors and you must look after yourself as much as possible.

    For anyone who's interested, the type of antibiotic i took were called fluoroquinolones and are more dangerous than people realise. Information here,

    Anyway hope it doesnt get to bad for you.

  8. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Could this be an RSI type injury, brought on over time from playing activities?

    See an Alexander technique specialist or at least go and see a sports physio and explain your activities. I've had back and neck problems as a result of playing purely due to posture and RSI. Ok, a trumpet / cornet isn't that heavy, but it is the accumulation of all those hours of practice, performance and tension etc on the same muscle group.

    I try and include some upper body muscle stretching before playing / practice in warm up.

    I still go to physio for an annual MOT! :)

    Good luck!
  9. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    I think you need a better diagnosis for starters.

    Perhaps something from the mouth of a consultant Rheumatologist or an Orthopaedic surgeon for example, perhaps on the basis of what parts are affected by what arthritic condition!
    Took me 38 years to get one, so I should talk, but seriously, "arthritis" is a very vague diagnosis in any location of the body, even more so when the chest is affected! Have you got any idea how many joints there are in the chest? A LOT even more if you take the cartilage "joints" too!
    Does he think the heart problems are related? Some Rheumatoid conditions do have heart implications, but of course could be completely unrelated! I suppose I would want to know! There are various tests for specific things, but without knowing what he has had carried out, it is all just conjecture.

    Just what sort of arthritis does he mean, there are a number of auto-immune types, and of course osteo-arthritis too: just which joints, and then from there - what treatment? "Pain killers" is similarly vague - are we talking heroin or paracetamol? In reality more specifically is some variation of NSAID or a COX-2 inhibitor going to be more the thing, or even an immune supressing drugs?

    Unfortunately "arthritis" in this vague manner is one of those "convenient" cop-outs like having a "bad back" which means something like: "You have taken up your 6 minutes of time, I know you won't die of it, and I have a Golf game scheduled at Noon" :-( If it is a temporary problem, he knows you will get better, with a few Ibuprofen or Paracetamol, if it turns out longer term or more serious, then you will come back!
  10. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    I'm assuming you're appropriately medicated for your palpatations and murmur? Have you been referred to a cardiologist at all or has your GP been dealing with all of this? Have never heard the likes of a brass instrument being blamed, given that it can only help to improve your pulmonary and respiratory function, especially as an asthmatic! I can only recommend specialist follow up and see where that takes you.GPs are all well and good but are severely limited by time and often the public expect too much from them, as they can only know a limited amount about lots of things, although they are often their own worse enemy by not doing appropriate referrals to specialists.:D
  11. madsaz

    madsaz Member

    Wow, I'm amazed by some of this thread. I'm a specialist but I do think I need to defend GP's a little. I wasn't party to the GP & Satchmo Shaz's conversation so can't say whats right and wrong, but I can imagine how what the GP said became what Shaz heard and then the new interpretations given on this thread.

    I just don't feel comfortable leaving the idea of GPs as "their own worst enemy" unopposed, even though I know people wont neccessarily listen. They are often expert at knowing what needs referral or not, they are often prevented from making referrals by primary care trusts etc & my GP colleagues put a hell of a lot of their time into trying to keep up with a little bit of everything so they understand who and where to refer. We specialists just have to do our own field.

    Having said that, I'll tell you what I think your GP was trying to say with a few assumptions that I will highlight and what I think is worrying.

    When a lot of doctors talk about arthritis in the chest they are referring probably to costo-chondritis - thats pain where the ribs and cartilage join which is quite common. Position, posture etc may affect it and your GP may feel it wont settled if you are aggravating it.

    In my experience not all of this type of pain is chostochondritis, but chest aches are very common and are often musculoskeletal. Having said that, I would not give anyone this kind of explanation unless I was confident other, more serious, types of chest pain had been excluded and that may need the review of a specialist.

    I would not see a rheumatologist for chest pains, and I would run like the very wind from an orthopaedic surgeons - they simply do not see chest pain or any description and are not experts in arthritis purely because they do joint replacements.

    If you have a murmur and palpitations you need investigations - I presume you have not had these. A basic ECG is a start and then a 24 hour ECG & an echocardiogram are de rigeur. Given that you have had chest pain (which may be muscular but I am assuming you haven't had more serious stuff ruled out) I would think that ideally you need to see a cardiologist.

    It may well turn out that the chest pain is non-sinister and related to muscle use and posture (I get an awful lot of chest pain when I am very busy on call & am I certain its due to posture doing procedures and dashing around), but I don't see any harm in you asking a few gentle questions about these things and actually getting your heart checked out.
  12. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    Did not mean to cause offence but have occasionally found that some GPs (not all, sorry but I wanted to avoid too wordy a reply), particularly the "old school" brigade feel the need to try and do everything themselves. I apologise if you thought this was an overly generalised comment. In my workplace I regularly see poorly managed cardiac patients, and chest pain is not anything to be trifled with. If we see patients whose pain isn't of cardiac source they are never made to feel as if they are wasting people's time. It is always taken seriously. Which is why patients with Unstable Angina are dealt with with the same respect as acute infarcts.

    The moral is, use your cardiologists, if you turn out not be a cardiology case they will send you to someone else until you land in the right hands.

    Slightly concerned that PCTs would stop referrals to specialist services? Maybe its different here but never heard of the likes. We even do Fasttrack GP referals for Cardiac Patients. But then this is Scotland, and we're big on Heart disease!
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  13. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    Thank you all, for your informative replies. I should add that I had all the tests back in 2004 and thats when they found a slight heart murmur but it was nothing to worry about. but I did change my life style, packed up my job and started teaching part time. At this point I didnt really get any chest pain and the palpitations seemed to be controlled by sotalol. Playing and lifting and walking up hills wasnt a problem. I also lost some weight

    I have had an arthritic knee for some time, which gets worse and I have plantar fasitis in my feet. I take vitamin supplements

    I went back to GP this year as palpitations and chest pain worsened, I was taken off sotalol as I am asthmatic and someone had died taking them so it was recommended all asthmatics dont take betablockers but there wasnt anything esle GP could so she referred me back to cardiologist who did echo, ECG, monitor on for a week and treadmill. All the tests showed despite the palpitations the heart was in good nick
    the consultant told me the pain was muscular skeletal and arthritis probably. Told me to take pain killers and go back to GP and just put up with the palpitations as they are not dangerous.
    The chest pain gets worse when I play and march, play high stuff and loud stuff, when I carry heavy shopping, grandkids, walk up hills etc or even sometimes going upstairs or generally dashing around!I take my inhalers regularly but still get breathless. My posture I am told is good. I have more aches and pains in the morning when i get up
    I did ask about lifestyle........... as I work hard and have been known to play hard too;) but cardio bloke just said its up to you, carry on just take more painkillers and see how you get on. he did say that if they continued they might consider angiogram.......... I dont fancy that much :(
    despite being quite active I am slightly overweight:oops:... and I am definately at that age!!! bit early I know but had the blood tests
    Apart from that I feel great:p

    many thanks hope the added info helps

    Shaz x
  14. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    Sorry to hear about your situation, shaz. Al I can say, is a second opinion never does any harm. Different drs say almost totally different things! Worth having one though.
  15. skweeky

    skweeky Member

    As a couple of people have said before, your body will hurt when something is hurting it. If you don't hurt when playing then you keep playing and making music, you must love it!

    If playing high and loud hurt only, that suggests a different playing technique could help, but the easier and more enjoyable way is to play lower and quieter :)

    You sound like you love your music and personally a few ailments shouldnt hinder that. I doubt it is a cause of your problems as there are thousands of healthy musicians and the life expectancy of musicians is normally quite high!! :)

    Get well soon Shaz!!
  16. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    Don't be scared of Angiograms! I always say if they can do them as a daycase than they're not that bad. I work with angio patients in a primary angio centre and very few find it anywhere near as bad as they expected.... often they say " is that me done?"! Don't discount it because its one of those procedures where the benefits FAR outweigh the risks involved. Not saying you need one but it's not a big heinous surgical event if they decide you do.....:D
  17. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Snap! Comes & goes... but not very much! Had it for years now.
    Tried all the suppplements too, and I dont' bother now, as they have zero impact!

    Someone said to me that people who have arthritis oddly seem to have lots of other pains, even in joints that are NOT affected by arthritis, and boy, he had a point, mine give me grief from hand to foot, erratically, usually without any obvious reason, even though I take anti inflammatory drugs too!
  18. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    And you're going deaf!....Oops! Wrong thread...;)....
    My shoulders are giving me gyp so I haven't bench-pressed in months. I've even had to take up cycling instead of gym visits (there are seriously BAD drivers out there!). Are there no supplements that help? (with dodgy shoulders, not drivers:))
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  19. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I find it difficult to differentiate whether my sore chest is caused by the asthma that developed after I stopped smoking (4 years now :clap) or the arthritis that runs in my family and which is slowly crippling my hands, feet, hips, arms, and back. I get a lot of 'surface pain' in my chest, which appears to be muscular, especially in the mornings and a lot of tightness across the chest when I have been sitting too still.
  20. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    Yeah I am achey all over especially in the mornings!
    Well I have decided to make some changes............. I have booked to see GP to see what the best pain relief is. (cant get in till 25th Nov!!)
    I have dropped a couple of pupils............ not much but a start! and I have decided to try and work term time only......... (yes I teach privately throughout the year as well as having schools to teach in!)
    Hopefully I will be able to carry on doing what I love doing:p

Share This Page