I developed a cold a three days ago. I was fine, then started coughing one night and the next morning my chest was very tight with congestion, as if my lungs were full. I'm travelling to attend a funeral and called my doctor's office three states away and asked for a prescription because I had coughed up some very green mucus, which I believed indicated a bacterial infection. They gave me some amoxicillian 500 mg 3x a day for 7 days. I also started taking mucinex morning and night. The stuff I'm coughing up has gone to yellow instead of green, so I'm assuming that means it's working to clear up the infection. However, my back hurts whenever I move or especially when I cough. It's about mid way down my back, on either side of the spine. If I twist, it hurts and feels like a muscle strain. But I really notice it when I cough. Is this normal with chest congestion? Or is this a separate issue?
I am well almost all the time but in the last 18 months have had multiple respitory infections, each one coinciding with a trip to visit family where someone has COPD. I speculate that she often has an infection and doesn't even realize it because she coughs so much all the time. I never eat or drink anything there, and try to be careful, but I think it must be something airborne because I'm an obsessive handwasher - I never touch door knobs or shopping cart handles or anything and then touch myself without washing my hands between. I never eat without washing my hands.
Obviously, if I'm not completely clear when the antibiotics are finished, I'll see my doctor when I'm home. But in the meantime I'm wondering about the pain in my back.
The chest discomfort you describe, especially the description of pain if you "twist" is probably due to a strain of one or more structures of the chest wall, such as muscles, ligaments, cartilage etc, caused by hard coughing.
Your speculation that the recurrent infections are due to exposure to a family member with COPD may be correct. However this type of transmission to people with normal lungs and a normal immune system is unusual and begs the question of why you should be so vulnerable to this exposure. This is more likely if someone already suffers from chronic bronchitis. Another, less likely, possibility is that, despite the discolored mucus, what you have experienced is an allergic reaction rather than an infectious one. You might want to consider what, if anything in the family's home, you could be allergic to.
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