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chest pain after quitting smoking


I'm 32 yr old female.  I had been smoking for 19 years...woo long time.  About 2 1/2-3 mos ago I went from a pack a day to 3-5 cigs a day, then about a 3 weeks ago, I went to 1 cig a day and now I've been completely cig free for a week.  BUT...my chest hurts.  It's become steadily worse.  It mainly hurts on my right side and now I can feel it in my back, where I couldn't before.  It's gotten bad since I quit completely, but I have felt it this whole time.  I went to the ER a couple months ago and my chest xray was clear, also, had a chest xray done again and it was also clear.  The internet is a terrible place to research anything (go figure).  Everything there points to Lung Cancer, which obviously being a smoker, I'm terrified of.

The point is...has this happened to anyone else, simply from quitting smoking.  I've had other symptoms, insomnia, irritability, and the like.  But, the lung pain is really bothering me.  Especially now that I can feel it in my back.  Is it normal to have this kind of discomfort from quitting smoking?  Is my anxiety making it worse?  I'm a bit worried.

thanks a bunch!
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351246 tn?1379682132

If you have been a smoker for 19 long years then it is commendable that you have quit smoking. Cough and chest pain can be the withdrawal effects of quitting. However any chest pain in smokers—past or current should immediately be investigated. It can be due to pleural effusion, inflammation, lung cancer or due to a clot or embolus. Rebound increase in blood pressure too could be the cause. Please do not delay, and seek medical care immediately. Take care!
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I am 27 years old male and have been smoking from last 6 years with 1 year gap in 2010-11. I haven't smoked since 1 march 2013, not a single cigarette. I finally quit smoking now. But I am having chest pain on right side which is also going to my back also. I have cough and some times I spit out black mucus. I consulted with a lung specialist and told him all the things and done X-ray and CT scan of chest, the reports were all normal. My doctor said every thing is fine there is no need to worry and gave me prescription of some antacids and painkillers. But I am still worried, are these normal withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking?

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Hello Shanny...I have been a smoker off and on from age 16-30...more off than on...I would go long periods of time without smoking but then would be on again for a few months or longer...I recently started smoking cigarettes just about everyday for the past 2 mos...I decided I just smoked my last cigarette... My chest is hurting...but these symptoms you have I think is your body trying to get rid of the toxins...the pain might be from the tar and the damaged alveol/air sacs in our lungs...
Lying on my back is the worst. Milk seems to make it worse. The cofing is worst at night. It is not very romantic.
Giving up smoking has given me symptoms of a chest cold. Difficulty breathing
Hi I’m Margaret Jackson. I am 59 years old. My boyfriend hates me smoking so that is another good Reston to give up smoking. I have seen a Hypnotheripist and gave up for 3 weeks today. Friday 29/6/2018. I find the worst times is when I get the coughing and lying on my back the worst times, please help me?
Avatar universal
Hi im nearly 21. Im only tiny 151cm tall and weight 39kg i had been smoking since i was 16 not that long but yeah i have anxiety n panic attacks ive had numerous attempts at quitting recently ive been trying a bit harder as i starting getting pains in my chest , up my left arm in my back sometimes it felt like someone was pinching me behnd my ribs , i also had heart burn and reflux i went to er theyonly checked my heart n said it was all fine n precscribed me to reflux meds when i started them i quit smokng and went to 4mg nicarette gum and they pins lasted a fee more day then went then i ran out of gum and lit upagain same thing happend got the pains quit went bak to the gum. And they went away. And with having anxity im a worrier a big one everytime i thought somethng was wrong i went to google n all that was going threw my head was cancer, heart deseae. Dying n it made me go into constant panic attacks wen i thought something was wrong wih me all the time i culdnt sleep at night alays tired amd dosnt help having a 4 year old son but now ive been on 4mg gum for 4 weeks and m starting.to feel good got more energy dont get the pains.  
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Avatar universal
Hi Dr. Mathur,

Just wanted some advice from you. I am 35, am a diabetic type 2, have been a smoker (10-12 cig a day) for 10 ys, quit smoking a month back. I quit because I was getting bit of dull pain on my right upper front side of chest below the shoulder blade and chest felt bit heavy.
But as I quit, I seem to feel more uncomfortable in the right upper part of chest every now and then. The pain is not terrible though and there are time when I don't feel it at all. But when I lie down on my right or make specific movements, I feel some discomfort. Sometimes I feel heavy in the chest also.

I don't seem to have any cough or major weight loss or any other complications which is very evident.

Internet browsing is so damn scary as everything point to lung cancer and pancoast tumor. I know I need to vist the doctor and have already scheduled the appointment. I have got an xray done and will be taking it alonmg to my doctor in a weeks time.

But if you can throw any advice or inputs as what could be a probable cause, it will help me a lot mentally.


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Hi, Im 51 yrs old. I smoked for 30yrs and finally stopped cold turkey!! Never going back to that way of life!! When I quit smoking,the cigs, I picked up the e-smokes and puffed on those to lower my nicotine down. Been 135 days without the cigs and 20 days no e-smoke. Now I have noticed like everyone else that I have some chest pain and shortness of breathe. Feels like my lungs are to big for my chest. And almost like a sulfer disorder/panic attack all the time and taking deeper breaths then I used to. Also getting bad back pains in mid back. Had my yearly checkup and blood cells are all inline. So I guess this is normal from what I read. Oh ya, don't puff on the e-smokes(ecigs). Just cheating yourself from the end of smoking. Any feed back from anyone? Thanks for all the time reading this, Jeff.
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Hi, Dr. Mathur
I am 46 year Male quit complete smoking 6 weeks back & now I am having problem of chest Tightness at just below the neck on center of chest along with pain in left hand at palm & elbow joint area. I visit the hospital and discussed with General physician in OPD . Firstly ECG done & result was normal & then TROPONIN - T ( Serum ) Test done & result was Negative.
Then on same day night again visit the hospital & consult with Heart Specialist for the same problem again ECG done result was as afternoon , Screening ECHO, NO RWMA, Normal LV Systolic Function.as on 5th June.
Till today Tightness of Chest is day by day reducing.
Will you guide me to know the reason ?

Kuldeep Singh
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In past i am very heavy smoker now i quitting smoking. After quitting i feel pain on my left side on chest. Any one tell me what is this.

Amir Shahzad
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Hi. Im 26 yrs old. I started smoking when I was 14 yrs old. I quit last dec 12 2016, because my husband was hospitalized or asthma attack due to smoking. so we decided to quit smoking for good.

This is what happened to me.
After a day of quitting I have a cough for 3 days. Dec 17, 2016 a pain on my left side bothers me. Its around my lower left ribs.the pain intensify if i lay down flat on bed. On Dec 19 lack of oxygen and my breathing is so shallow you could see my shoulders moving up and down.I am not lying in bed anymore I was just leaning on a elevated pillow Until i fall asleep.I cant laugh just like I used to, I cant sneezw, yawn or burp. It hurts when im about to cry.

On dec 27, I went to ER. Did not know what took me so long to go to ER, maybe because of the holidays.
I was diagnosed Pleural effuson,
Pneumonia as they saw my xray. They put me on antibiotics for 3days then another xray on the 4th day. My 2nd xray shows the fluid doubled. My doctor referred me to a pulmonologist and told me I have tuberculosis. So I was discharge on Dec31, my doc prescribe me meds for pneumonia, my pulmo prescribe me meds for TB. I was drinking 14meds per day,my stomach hurts due to this. On jan 3 2017, I went to another hosp. 2hrs away from where I live. Its call LUNG CENTER OF THE (My country) , upon checking my Xrays the doctor schedule me already for the drainage, I was ultra sound guided during the operation cause my lungs collapse. the fluid was just about 240cc.I was discharge the next day and taking antibiotics for the next 10 days.

I came back for ff. check up last jan 16,2017.
I told my doc. that I still felt the pain on my lower left side.it still hurts sometimes when i sneeze, and I easily get tired and sometimes i grasp for air.
I had my xray again and shows it was all good just that the pluera lining has thicken..He said its not dangerous but still I wad advice to continue drinking anti biotocs for another 7days.

I have not smoke since then. and I hope my lungs , breathing, sneezing will be back to normal soon.
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Avatar universal
Hi , I'm 33 yrs old.  I started smoking at a very young age . I tried multiple times to quit and eventually gave up December 2017. It's been a roller coaster ride for me. The pains I get come and go . I've had streaks of blood in my saliva and rusty thick phlegm. I would feel the pain more on the left side of my lung, sharp stabbing pains when I take deep breaths. The pain is felt on my upper back and left shoulder. I've been for x-rays and its normal. My doctor put me on very strong antibiotics for 10 days and with prayer it went away. Today 6months later my lungs are very sensitive to any kind of smoke or dust... my pains have started up again , I think its due to the cold . I'm at ease knowing I have no cough or phlegm . I'm stuck with this one question though, why is this only happening now after quitting?  Why is it that while we smoke we don't experience these effects?  Don't get me wrong , I've seen the many benefits of quitting but at times the pain is so intense and the fear causing anxiety is difficult to handle.
Hoping all will be well within a year of quitting!
My best wishes goes out to you all too.
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