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shortness of breath, chest pain, back pain, cough
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shortness of breath, chest pain, back pain, cough

HI I'm a 46 year old, normally healthy, female.
I had pleurisy 4 years ago and currently have been experiencing similar symptoms for the past 10 days. However, 2 separate GPS have told me that my chest is clear & its likely I don't have pleurisy.

Today I've started coughing big yellow lumps of phlegm. I have shortness of breath, stabbing in the centre left of my chest (breast level) and dull aching, throbbing acute pain in the lower rib area on my back, worsening when I breath in. I've been taking ibuprofen to ease the pain which helps but the minute I stop the pills, the pain comes back really bad, it makes me catch my breath.

I also feel consistently light headed and keep getting indigestion too. Then pass out tired all the time. I just can't function.

Any ideas if its not pleurisy what is it? Its driving me crazy.  Thanks a lot
4 Comments
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4851940_tn?1385441629
Although the 2 GPs have told you that your chest was clear, this may have been the case when they examined you.  You do not say when you saw them, which I presume was some days ago.

As your symptoms have got much worse, you do need to make an appointment to see the doctor again urgently.

As you are in the UK you can telephone your doctor's surgery after hours and you will get transferred to the out-of-hours doctor.  I think you can also phone 111 to get through to an out-of-hours doctor service.  They will ask you for details of your problem and will get back to you if they feel you need to be seen urgently and not wait until the morning for your own doctor's appointment.  They will give you an appointment time and tell you where the out-of-hours doctors are based if they feel you need to be seen straight away.  It is better to see them as there usually are not many people waiting to see the doctor.  

In the meantime do steam inhalations.  Get a bowl and pour in a kettle of boiling water into it.  Add some vick or olbas oil into the water.  Take care not to get scalded.  Bend your head over the bowl and cover your head and bowl with a towel and breathe in the steam through your nose and out through your mouth.  Do this 4 times a day for a duration of 10 minutes each time.  This will loosen up any congestion.

Keep warm and take plenty of warm drinks.

You can telephone the service any time from when your doctor's surgery closes in the evening until they open again in the morning.

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470024_tn?1242512706
Your problem could be many. Acid reflux can cause breathing issues and the acid reflux can be brought on by Gallstones. I would have this checked. if the problem is reaccurring pleurisy then I would suggest a full chest xray and an ANA blood test. My Mother had what you describe for many many years without any serious treatment come to find out reoccurring pleurisy is an early sign of rheumatoid arthritis which my Mother was finally diagnosed with after her right hand was decimated by the disease. she is now 76 and was diagnosed last year. Her episodes of pleurisy began in her 50's. demand the rheumatoid blood panel be ran.
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Avatar_f_tn
HI Sheila, that sounds really helpful and I'll definitely get back to the doctors today and demand the chest x-ray (which I was refused on Monday) and ask for the ANA blood test as well as the rheumatoid blood panel. Hope your Mum is ok now they have FINALLY diagnosed her.  Thanks for your help, much appreciated.
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4851940_tn?1385441629
In the UK it is up to the doctor to refer a patient for xrays and do other tests.

They do not like to be told what to do.  You can suggest it to them, but they will only carry out the tests if they feel that is the right course of action to be taken.

If they feel it is a bacterial infection, an antibiotic will be prescribed.
Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics.

Ibuprofen should not be taken on its own.  It should be taken with or after food.  Ibuprofen can cause stomach problems.  Omeprazole is sometimes prescribed to be taken in the morning to protect the stomach from Ibuprofen.

With any chest infection it is important to keep warm, drink plenty of warm drinks, rest and steam inhalations will also help.  Keep off dairy and especially milk because this encourages mucus formation.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.
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