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Lung pain, asthma related?
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Lung pain, asthma related?

Hi, i am 32 yrs old,  I have asthma and i also smoke.  Lately I have been feeling pain in my ribs and up my back, pain in between my shoulder blades and top of shoulders. i feel like my ribs are gonna crack. it seems to be a constant pain, that is not every day, however its becoming more frequent. Would you say this is asthma related, or is it something more serious like emphysema, or something even worse.  I had a chest xray done in january, when this first started happening. They said everything was fine. My asthma has gotten worse, and i do use a nebulizer, seems to be daily in the past couple weeks. Or could this be heart related, my chest does sometimes feel tight. I went to the doctors back in May for this, they diagnosed this as anxiety, I do get anxiety attacks but I am beginning to think that is not the problem, cause it is getting more frequent and the pain lasts all day.
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Asthma, itself, does not cause chest pain, especially of the type you described.  But, if the asthma causes cough, harsh cough can cause rib pain.  The combination of smoking and asthma is a dreadful one and the smoking could lead to permanent lung damage.  You should make a serious effort to stop smoking.  You may want to look at our giving up smoking information at http://www.nationaljewish.org/disease-info/wellness/smoking/index.aspx for ways to help you quit smoking.  Also check with your doctor for other quit smoking resources in your area.

You should have another chest x-ray to make sure that nothing has developed since January.  In addition to x-raying your chest your spine should also be x-rayed to make sure you have not fractured a vertebra.  If the x-rays are normal, I would expect this pain to begin to subside with smoking cessation and avoidance of intense exercise of the chest, such as heavy lifting.

Sometimes pain can be referred; that is, be caused by a health problem in an area far from the place where you feel the pain.  Ask your doctors to make sure that this pain is not coming from your abdomen or some other distant area of your body.
10 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

I read with interest your post. Smoking with asthma is madness.....really I know. I had the exact same pains as you 3 years ago and continued to Smoke. I only smoked two packs a week. Now I have COPD. Google it so you know what it means, I didnt and regret every smoke I smoked.

The pain you are experiencing is your lungs increasing in size (this is a permanent change) because your lungs need to take lager breath to give you the same amount of oxygen. This is because the alveoli in your lungs are destroyed from smoking meaning you absorb less oxygen.

If you continue to smoke over time you will develop a barrel chest and shortness of breath like you never had it before, even at rest. Then you will no longer be able to breathe lying down and will have to sleep sitting up. You will also develop a cough and chronic sputum production.

The problems I describe are two to three years away if you do not stop smoking now!

Give up for your own sake.

Rgds,

Eros.
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Avatar_n_tn
By the way Chest XRAY does not show anything until its WAY too late. Get a Pulmonary Function Test. Using a Neb every day says it all!!!! Get real.
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Avatar_n_tn
To Eros:  So the pain you have experienced is copd??  do you still smoke?  and will the pain go away, if i stop smoking?  i have been in pain all weekend, ribs feel crackely.  is there medication that helps your copd??
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Avatar_n_tn
I read your article and find it upsetting that any asthmatic smokes.  I did for only about 3 years in my early years and had a severe attack and slight heart attack do to the asthma attack.  I was only 22 when the doctors inform my family and I that I would have a year to live if I stopped then and about half that if I didn't.  Well I did but the lungs were already damaged.  I have permanent lung damage and only 49% capacity.  I have oxygen and neubulizers as well.  I live a pretty normal to the public life and have not let the condition stop me from living. Even though I am limited to many things such as walking very far and many other normal activities most do, I have not let it win.  Even though I beat the doctors odds of living I believe my stop smoking contributed to that. I truely believe the pains you describe are from worry and stress.  Reason I say this is because I too get them pains.  I get them so server that it drops me at times.  But as I keep close notes on all I do so to control the asthma I notice these pain attacks come on when I get feeling down or at a start of a cold.  When I get colds now I spend a week or so in the hospital.  I no this is long but my point is you need not play with your sickness, and smoking is just that.  Trust me you do not want to live life as I have.  As I said smoking only 3 years shortend my life by far.  Most people take it for granted to run bike hike play ball with their children.  I only pray that someday I could do them things without an asthma attack.  So the next time you want to light up read this comment.  Hope you find it within to stop the pains may not stop but life will continue.  And really what else is there???
JT Clark
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your comments, that was definately a wake up call!!  I actually went to the emergency room on Friday and they said i have Costochoncdritis(inflammation)  the pain is still here comes and goes.  my chest xray and blood work came out fine.  so the only thing i can do is quit smoking.  I appreciate you informing me of your struggle. I have a 2 1/2 yr old little boy, and when you put it that way, i definately dont wanna miss out on playing and running with him!!!  My son needs me!  
Good luck with your breathing struggle.  Feeling the pain i am in now, I can only imagine how much of battle it is daily for you.  But dont let it beat ya!!
thank you
Teri
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Avatar_n_tn
The pain will subside as the body adjusts over time. There are meds for COPD (I'm on Spiriva etc.) but they are by no means a cure. You still feel off.

The best cure is to stop smoking. Some lung function returns over time!

Eros.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your input, I am in alot of pain, the ER told me I have inflammation.  But I am not sure if that is correct.  I still feel extreme pain and burning sensation thru out my back. The Er said to take Ibuprofin or Motrin, which is not working!!  I am frustrated with this pain!!.  Is this the pain you experienced???  My chest Xray came out normal, they ran blood work for my heart, normal.  I really feel like i need more testing done, so I guess I will be returning to the Docs.
The pain doesnt usually start until the afternoon, and lasts for hours.  It makes it very difficult to deal with work, I cant concentrate, also very hard to deal with my 2 year old son.  I am moody due to the pain, and can barely move!!!!!  any suggestions???
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Avatar_n_tn
Try Advil, forget cbout the CXR's, time to have some Pulmonary Function Tests and a Hi res CT scan. See a Pulmo.

Regarding my chest pains they come and go but right now I think they are beginning to subside.

I hope for your sake you are not still smoking.

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Avatar_n_tn
I have mold in my house.  i moved out.  my right lung hurts and my throat feels like i ate fiberglass.  has any one experienced this?  Also there is lead paint in this rental.  the house must have been repainted, but chips are on the floor.  does anyone know abiut either of these?
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