Precordial catch syndrome (PCS), also referred as Texidor’s Twinge, is a common (usually misdiagnosed) condition causing a sharp chest pain in the left side. It is always benign.
The pain on the left side will increase when you are breathing in deeply and it is similar to heart attack since it has similar symptoms. It generally lasts for 1-3 minutes. The pain does not radiate like heart attack pain usually does and is localized.
PCS usually occurs during a sudden change in posture or rest; nevertheless, it never happens during sleep. This benign syndrome most commonly affects adolescents and children. It may start as young as five years old, however, it generally occurs in the late teens to early twenties.
Many children and teenagers with this type of chest pain are worried that they might be having a heart attack. Luckily, heart attacks occur rarely in young people, whereas this syndrome is prevalent.
Note – the level of anxiety (even panic attack) in the sufferer may be considerably increased if there has been a cardiac event in the family or close friends.
PCS was 1st named and described in 1893 by Henri Huchard, a French neurologist and cardiologist, who named it “précordialgie” (from the Latin word “praecordia,” literally translating as “before the heart”).
Symptoms of Precordial Catch Syndrome
- shortness of breath.
- localized pain – the pain usually starts in the cartilage between the rib cage and the bones of the sternum. Generally, the pain is in one place on the chest, needle-like pain. Moving also intensifies the pain.
- the pain can last from 30 seconds to half an hour (in rare cases), however, it commonly only lasts for about three minutes.
- the intensity of pain will vary from dull to extreme one.
- the frequency of episodes varies by individual, generally happening during the day, with a few episodes daily. It can also pass a few years between episodes.
- at its strongest, this syndrome can cause loss of vision for a few moments.
- very rarely, breathing in or out suddenly will cause a small cracking sensation in the chest, that results in the pain going away.
Causes of Texidor’s Twinge
This benign condition is not related to any type of heart problems but it is from the escaped air from the lungs which gets trapped between the ribs. The pain comes from nerves in the inner lining (pleura) of the chest cavity (contains the heart and lungs) that becomes irritated or pinched.
Moreover, it is a strong association of this syndrome with anxiety and stress. Additionally, individuals who are generally inactive or have a sedentary lifestyle are more susceptible to this condition.
It is important to conduct a proper diagnosis of PCS, in order to be 100 percent sure that an affected sufferer is suffering from this condition and not some other conditions, like heart disease.
Treatment of PCS consists of a combination of instructing the sufferer to take a deep breath as soon as the pain starts. Occasionally, slow and gentle breaths can also help the pain disappear. In most cases, the pain resolves completely even without any treatment.
Important note – people affected by this syndrome must be aware of the fact that PCS is just a momentary and benign problem which resolves with time. Thus, there is absolutely no need to panic.
PCS is linked to stress. Therefore, lowering your daily stress levels may prevent this condition.
Note – untreated chronic stress can lead to conditions including insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, muscle pain, and a weakened immune system.
A few methods to lower the stress include:
It might seem contradictory and strange, but putting physical stress on your physical body through moderate physical exercise can actually help relieve mental stress.
The main reason is that physical exercise releases endorphins which interact with the receptors in your brain that make you feel good.
Note – since numerous studies concluded that frequency is most important, it is more efficient to walk daily for half an hour than to wait until the weekend for a two-hour fitness session.
Aside from the obvious adverse effects of smoking cigarettes, nicotine also acts as a powerful stimulant and brings on more stress symptoms.
Note – to quit smoking, you must be ready both mentally and emotionally, and some individuals are more ready to stop than others.
This ancient art combines rhythmic breathing with a series of postures, reducing your stress notably.
Spending time with family and friends who give you a sense of belonging and fun also provides the stress relief you need.
Deep breathing is the base of many other relaxation practices and can be also combined with other relaxing techniques, like – mantra chanting and aromatherapy.
It is an excellent method to relax and to minimize the emotional and physical tension you are experiencing from day-to-day activities.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation is one of the most straightforward and efficient mental techniques for lowering stress levels, plus, it requires only 20 minutes per day.