Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Tightness
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Tightness

I'm a 25 year old reformed smoker. Over the past year I've developed discomfort, not really pain, in my chest and side. The tightness is very specific and beneath my ribcage on my left side, most noticable in the morning when I stretch. I do not feel any discomfort in my lungs when I breath. I do not cough at all, and I have no other symptoms of a resperatory problem. I'm not sure the issue is my lungs at all, but since the discomfort is in this area I'm left to wonder. For awhile I became convinced I had lung cancer (hypochondriac), but this has been going on for nearly a year with no other additional syptoms (symptoms). I plan to see a physician, but in the meantime I was hoping someone might have some idea of what could be the problem.
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251132_tn?1198082422
You describe your discomfort or tightness as being most noticeable in the morning when you stretch.  This makes it sound musculoskeletal.  With inflammation or lung cancer you would most likely feel discomfort with breathing, especially with deep breaths.  Having a thorough physical exam by your doctor is the way to find out the nature of the problem that is causing your discomfort or tightness.
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I am not a doctor, but I have had a lot of pain beneath my rib cage on the left, too.  It is worse in the morning, and the pain has spread to my chest and throat.  It is not always constant, but there enough to notice.  My breathing has been made considerably more difficult, as well.  The doctor says it is acid reflux.  I have a hiatal hernia, which probably adds to the pain in that particular area below the rib cage.  I can't say for certain that you have reflux, but it is a viable option.  I have anxiety disorders and really used to freak out about the pain until I found out what it was; try to relax, since if it is reflux stress makes it worse.  Good luck with finding the cause & being able to treat it!
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Avatar_n_tn
Also, since the pain comes mostly in the morning, I would try raising the head of your bed 6-8 inches.  This is a trick for gerd and allergy sufferers; it really does help.  Use something underneath the mattress head or the legs of the bed itself; simply using a lot of pillows doesn't give the same effect.
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Avatar_n_tn
It was certainly helpful to read the above threads. My story is somewhat similar. Here it is, if it is of any benefit to the readers here.

I have been a competitive athlete for a number of years and upon graduating from university commenced fulltime employment in the finance sector. I tried to continue hard training along with working long hours and 'living' my job. In January 2003 it all went pear shaped. Breathing difficulties and a persistent cough set in and made it very difficult to continue training and competing at a high level. I persisted with training amd work until about Jun 2003 when I quit sport. I had all sorts of blood tests, breathing tests and scans (X-Rays and CT) by some very good GPs and specialists. The diagnosis was asthma - my peak flow and spirometry scores were about 85-90% predicted for my height and weight. However, the prescribed medication (ventolin, flixotide, seretide etc) do not seem to do much.

From my own observations I notice that I am worse at work. I seem to get very tight in the throat and chest when I'm in a meeting, doing number crunching jobs and I have recently noticed, in some social situations. Chest tightness and breathing are a bit worse after a poor night's sleep, of which there have been a few since the breathing issues started. In retrospect I can see that I can get pretty wound up about things, emotionally and work-wise, and tend to internalize things - but am working on it.

Would be keen to hear similar stories and if anyone's been through something like this and beat it.

Cheers,

Damien
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