sudden difficulty deep breathing (right side only) and back pain
Two days earlier this week, I had a stomach bug w/ much vomiting. Afterwards, neck & chest muscles were sore. Three days later, I went on a fast-paced walk to lunch with officemates & had difficulty catching my breath (I have asthma). Later, same afternoon, I think I strained muscles in my back doing repetitive motions. That evening (Friday), discomfot continued but I ignored it b/c it felt typical of muscle strain & I figured it would be better the next day. I slept fine, but Saturday morning, my right side & back felt as if they had a "catch" or "stitch"...as if I had slept in an awkward position. The pain continued to intensify throughout Saturday & I found that I was having difficulty breathing deeply (right side only). Mid afternoon, I took ibuprofen (helped a bit), later followed by 1/2 zanaflex. I thought the situation was improving, but by bedtime, I had great discomfort rising & sitting, increasing difficulty breathing deeply. When I went to bed, I could not lie on either side, back or stomach w/o extreme pain & gasping for breath. I took the other 1/2 zanaflex, but felt no relief.
Reclining &rising from a lying position is most painful, & when I first get up/walk around, I am short of breath. Once I get settled into a position (seated or lying on my back), the pain subsides greatly, but I still have shallow breathing. When all is quite, I hear "snap, crackle, pop" or what sounds like tissue paper rattling coming from my chest. The symptoms sound like pleurisy to me.
I am extremely afraid of doctors, new to this area, six hrs from home & family.
Your symptoms could all be due to muscle strain caused by a flare of your asthma. Also vomiting can cause wide pressure swings inside the chest that could explain your symptoms. However you might have suffered a pneumothorax where the lung collapses. This could be causing the "snap, crackle and pop" sensation that you have described.
You should be examined by a doctor and have a chest x-ray.
It could be subcutaneous emphysema. That is an odd happening where air leaks from the lungs under the skin. When you press on the skin (neck, upper arms, chest...) It sounds like celophane or Glad Wrap crinkling. It goes away on its own, but is awfully uncomfortable and weird.
Thanks for the information. I have been to my family doctor (drove 350 miles home to see her), and it turns out that I had strained muscles in my back as well as dislocated a couple of ribs. I was given shots of solumedrol (sp?), an anti-inflammatory, and torradol (sp?), for pain. Additionally, I was given prescriptions for flexerill (muscle relaxer) and lortabs (pain). By the next day, the pain was nearly gone, and I went back in for the doctor to manipulate my ribs back into place. Then I was put on an IV because I was very dehydrated. This was a very scary experience, and it is amazing how something that seems so minor (such as virus that makes one vomit for two days) can turn into something quite dangerous. Honestly, by the time I got home Sunday night, I thought that I had contracted something life-threatening. The pain was excruciating, but the worst part was not being able to breathe. This is definitely the worst asthma attack I have had as an adult. Again, thanks for the advice.
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