Minor Ache or Major Problem? 6 Symptoms Exercisers Should Pay Attention To
Symptom: Chest Pain
Scenario: You're heading into the last mile of your run when you feel a weird twinge in your chest.
Your downplay: I'm exercising. My heart is just pounding very hard.
Doctors' double-take: Well, no. We know now that when women have heart attacks, they may not experience classic chest pain. But some do have it. "Running is like a medical stress test," Dr. Paras says. "If your heart hurts consistently during your routine, it may be failing that test."
What to do: Before you jump to any scary conclusions, Dr. Rosenbaum recommends pressing the area with your hand. If it hurts to the touch, you probably strained the muscles of the outer chest wall. This can happen in any number of ways: doing push-ups incorrectly or twisting while getting into a car. One or two days of rest, some ibuprofen, and a soak in a hot bath and you'll be fine. But if you can't find a sore spot, if the pain radiates or is so intense that you have to stop what you're doing, or if you also feel dizzy or breathless, take an aspirin and get to the ER fast.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2010.
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