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UserID: PVCs_bite Type: CurePVCs Joined: Sep 28 2019
Thread Started: Sep 28 2019 Last Post: Sep 28 2019 Last Post By: PVCs_bite
Origin: General Topics Total Posts: 1

PVC's One Man's Journey to Control Them

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Posted Sep 28 2019#1 of 1
PVCs_biteUser Since: Sep 2019Posts: 1First of all I must say that what you will read next may or may not work for you or even be similar to your experiences with PVC’s (Premature Ventricular Contractions). I write it in the hopes that it may help at least someone out there that has been struggling with PVC’s.

History

First a little history to provide some background on my experiences with PVC’s. I was in my late twenties, in fairly good health (5’10”, 165 lbs). I played volleyball about 3-5 times a week and was fairly active. One night I awoke with an unusual feeling in my chest. It felt like my heart was skipping a beat and then a very hard heart beat about 0.5-1 seconds later. This would happen about every minute or so. At first I laid there for about 10 minutes hoping that I could just calm myself and they would go away. But when they didn’t go away I began wondering if I was having a heart attack. But I wasn’t sure so I called my mom to get her thoughts. After talking with her for a while I decided that it is better safe than sorry so I told her I was going to go to the ER. 10 minutes later I’m in the ER explaining my situation. They promptly hooked me up to an ECG and began monitoring. They said they could see the irregular beats but wanted a longer view so they brought me back to a bed and left me connected for a while longer. About 5 minutes later a Cardiologist came in and started looking at the ECG’s and asking me questions. He then began telling me that what I was experiencing is something called a PVC. I’m a Chemical Engineer so my first thought is “Poly-Vinyl Chloride”? No he said, “Premature Ventricular Contraction”. The heart has an “early” heartbeat and then the next beat feels like it is extra strong. Sometimes I would just feel it in my chest. Other times I could feel it moving my stomach. He said that these are fairly common and that there is really no risk to my health because of them. He then went down the list of common causes and things I might do to help alleviate or get rid of them. I won’t list them all as you can find that list on almost any medical website. You’ll find below that some of them seem to help me but my main solutions have been things not on the common doctor’s lists. After about a week or so the PVC’s began to lessen and eventually went away.

However, over the years I have had other episodes of PVC’s, about one episode every 3 or 4 years. (I am now 45.) Sometimes they would last just a few months, other times longer. My latest episode lasted just over 18 months. The intensity/frequency changes from day to day and even with the time of day. At times they occur about 5 times a minute. Other times they don’t occur for hours at all.

Through my experience, trials, and observations, I have learned more about what causes my PVC’s and how I can get rid of them. I believe that I have finally found the combination of variables that has allowed me to control my PVC’s. I have not had a PVC in about 4 weeks. But you will see below that it is a daily routine that holds them at bay rather than a 1-time cure. And it is a combination of variables rather than a single variable/cure. Again, I cannot guarantee that my experiences will match yours or that my solutions will help you at all. But I hope that these experiences can at least help some of you.

Variables

The usual suspects: I’ll start with the things that you will typically see from medical websites or doctors. Some of these definitely seem to impact my PVC’s while others do not. But I do believe each person’s body is a bit different so I do believe that each of these has the potential to impact some people. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Caffeine - I have found that excessive caffeine increases the frequency of my PVC’s. I used to drink a couple of 24 oz bottles of Mt. Dew a day (sometimes more). When I first started having PVC’s I gave up caffeine completely. Since then I have found that a caffeinated drink here or there does not seem to cause a problem. But when I start having PVC’s, caffeine is one of the first things to be eliminated.

Sugar - At times it has seemed that a day of eating lots of sugar would result in more intense PVC’s that night. But as the months have gone on with the latest episode I do not believe that sugar is a major factor for me. Although excessive sugar may be a contributing factor.

Lack of good sleep - I noticed that on days and weeks where I would not get a good night’s sleep I would seem to have more PVC’s than other days/weeks. I do believe that getting a good night’s rest is a significant variable for me. My body seems to need 7-8 hours of sleep each night and when I do not get that for several days in a row I notice a degradation in many areas of my physical health/well-being and an increase in PVC’s. I will call this variable a foundational variable meaning that getting a good night’s sleep does not stop my PVC’s but it is foundational to all of the other variables that do work together to prevent my PVC’s. (In other words, not getting a good night’s sleep will disrupt or negatively impact my ability to prevent PVC’s.)

Intense video games and other adrenaline inducing events such as significant traffic - I have found that life events that cause my “adrenaline to pump” definitely increase my PVC’s. This seems obvious as “skipping a heart beat” often happens when we are surprised or shocked and adrenaline kicks in. So over the last 18 months I have reduced the amount of time that I play competitive video games. (I know some people will find that funny but I enjoy them. :) In addition, I used to drive 45-75 minutes, depending on traffic, to and from work each day. About 8 months ago I got a different job that allows me to now drive 20 minutes to work with minimal traffic. I know that the traffic and stress that this caused were factors in my PVC’s. But what I have actually found is that it is likely more the long hours of sitting in my car or on a couch that were the main factors in my PVC’s. I will explain more below.

Less Common items: Here I am going to list some things that, to some, may seem like they are not connected with PVC’s but I have found that they definitely help me.

Neurofeedback - I know that many people may have never heard about Neurofeedback. It is a form of bio-feedback that reads the electrical impulses in your brain using an EEG. It then uses feedback through a computer in the form of a sound (bells or clicks) and pictures or video. The “rewards” of the sounds or movement on the screen only occur when the brain produces the desired frequency of brain waves. The basic premise is to help train the brain to calm itself and/or learn to reduce undesirable brain activity and increase desirable brain activity. For me Neurofeedback helps my brain to calm itself down. Many people don’t even realize how tense and hyperactive their brains are. The escalated brain activity and tenseness has been there for so long and the person has lived with it for so long that they don’t even realize there is an option and a need to calm it down. I can say without a doubt that Neurofeedback is a major variable that has helped me to overcome my PVC’s. For those who are interested, I use a system called Atalantis from BrainMaster (I am sure there are many other companies that provide excellent equipment). I place the 2 electrodes on positions T3 & T4 and have a 45 minute session about once every other week. The reward frequencies that worked best for me are between 0.4-0.5 Hz. --- In a sense, neurofeedback is along the same lines as avoiding stressful and adrenaline inducing situations. It helps my brain to calm down and thus reduces the tension in my body. I imagine that some form of meditation may produce similar benefits but can’t say for sure.

Muscle tension (especially in the chest, neck, and back areas) - I have discovered that muscle tension in my chest, neck, and back are one of the main causes of my PVC’s. I noticed that during the last 4-5 episodes of PVC’s my left shoulder has been very tight. Not in a painful way that might indicate a heart attack but more of a deep tightness and soreness. Massaging my left shoulder, pectoral muscles, neck, mid-back, and lower back seem to help reduce the onset and frequency of my PVC’s. In my case, it took several weeks of daily massage (typically with my hand but I had to buy an “S” shaped bar to get some of the spots in my back) to finally begin to loosen my muscles. They had become so tight that it took that long to completely loosen then out. I am not going to say that this completely eliminated my PVC’s but it certainly reduced them. And similar to getting a good night’s sleep, I believe that reducing muscle tension is a foundational variable (something that should be maintained consistently) and that without relieving this muscle tension the other variables (solutions) would not work.

Magnesium Taurate & Potassium Citrate - I have found that I was Magnesium and Potassium deficient. I now take one 2500 mg tablet of Magnesium Taurate and 2 pills of 99 mg of Potassium Citrate daily. I can say for sure that this has had a huge positive impact on my heart. This did not eliminate my PVC’s but I can feel a huge difference in my heart when I work out. I believe this was another foundational variable for me. It did not cure my PVC’s but contributes to the foundational health of my heart. (I know that some people have said that Vitamin B12 cured their PVC’s. I believe this is true for them but it did not work for me. I now take 1 B12 pill every other day but I do not feel much impact from it. I took it 2 times a day for about 2 weeks at the start because so many people claimed it cured their PVC’s but it did not for me.)

Spinal tension in the neck and lower back - This is similar to muscle tension but slightly different. I’ll try to explain. I noticed that my PVC’s would get worse when I laid down in bed and when I would sit in certain positions. At first I thought this might be because my body wasn’t moving as much when resting and perhaps I was just “feeling” the PVC’s more easily. But as the weeks of observation went on I began thinking that perhaps it is because of the pressure that these positions put on my spine. So I started experimenting with various pillows, lumbar supports, and sitting positions. I bought lumbar support pillows for my car seat and seat at my office. And I would sometimes sleep with a 4” half-moon pillow under the lumbar of my back. Over several weeks of using them my PVC’s during the day reduced significantly. But the PVC’s at night, in bed were still just as bad as ever. So I bought a small “half-moon” pillow to put under my neck instead of using a normal pillow. It seemed that the normal pillow was pushing my head upward and putting tension on my neck muscles. Using only the small (~2.5” high) half-moon pillow definitely helped. I could find a position of my neck that would significantly reduce my PVC’s and allow me to get to sleep more easily. But none of this completely eliminated my PVC’s. I would still get them when I sat in certain chairs and even some nights the half-moon pillow was not as effective. I decided to try further massaging and stretching of my lower back (lumbar area). I got a 6” foam roller (2 feet long, 6’ diameter). I started rolling on this with it under my lower back area about 2 minutes in the morning and 2 in the evening. At first it was VERY uncomfortable and even painful at times. It seems that my lower back was so tight that it was painful to roll on this foam roller. But over the course of several weeks the pain slowly lessened and the PVC’s also significantly reduced. But they were not completely gone. So I decided to sleep with my legs elevated on 2 pillows. This seemed to help some more which made me feel that the PVC’s seemed very connected to something in my lower back. So after each 2 minute rolling session on the foam roller I decided to stretch my back out even further by laying with the roller sitting under my lower back and letting my feet and head rest on the ground. This partially hyper-extended my back just a bit. At first it was so uncomfortable that I could only do it for about 3-5 seconds. But slowly over the course of about 2-3 weeks of daily (2 times per day) stretching it became less painful and now I am up to 20 seconds with almost no discomfort in my lower back during the stretching.

I honestly am not 100% sure how neck tension and lower back tension cause PVC’s for me but I am thoroughly convinced that this is a major factor for my PVC’s. Perhaps certain nerves get “pinched” and thus interfere with the electrical signal to the heart or something. But I can say that massaging my neck and back and stretching my neck and back have eliminated my PVC’s (in combination with the other contributing variables I listed).

Summary

I have just had the longest episode of PVC’s that I have faced in my 20’ish year battle with them. I will not say that I have “cured” my PVC’s. They have come back so many times that I can now say there is likely no “cure” for them. Rather I have found a combination of variables that together allow me to control or contain my PVC’s. I am certain that my PVC’s are a combination of electro-chemical imbalance, mental tension, physical/muscular tension, and spinal tension. (Perhaps the last two are one in the same but I feel they are slightly different.) I am hopeful that by maintaining and sustaining a combination of the multiple variables that I described above I can live a life nearly completely free of PVC’s. (I still get one now and again when I am startled by something but nearly everyone gets those and I do not consider that an episode of PVC’s.) Once again, I do not write this to say that I have found the solution to everyone’s PVC’s. My hope is that through reading this you may gain some hope that you too can find the combination of variables that will allow you to control and contain your PVC’s. I do believe that for some, surgery may be the only solution but I hope that everyone will try to experiment with some of these variables and others that may be specific to your body before choosing surgery. Keep in mind that some of these variables and those that you may find will take many weeks of consistent application before you might see any improvement. And it may be a combination of multiple variables that only together might improve or control your PVC’s. I wish you all the best in your search for control of your PVC’s. I do not monitor this site often but I will try to respond to any questions or ideas that people may bring forth. Good luck and God Bless!

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