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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Miscellaneous Chest Diseases

Question: Help with Surprising Post-Quit-Smoking Symptoms

 ReallyRen - Mon Nov 14, 2005 2:39 pm

Hello. I quit smoking after smoking 1.5-2 packs a day for 25 years. Now I don't expect to be healthy overnight...I am sure I've done a great deal of damage to my poor body! I know all the "usual" things to expect when one quits, but I have never heard of the symptoms I have been experiencing:

--Sharp, stabbing pains under my right breast that sometimes starts in the same place in my back (and then moves through so I feel it under my breast); I also felt this on my left side once. Have never felt this while smoking...would have scared the smoke out of me! In both instances, these pains have been followed by belches...could it be merely gas??? They last for a few minutes, and far...maybe once a day. Sometimes I feel the same "pain" lingering there but it is not as sharp and stabbing.

--Same sharp pains in the right side of my throat, right in the crook of my neck! I experienced this WITH the pain mentioned above, and independent of it.

--I also have a white nodule looking thing on my left tonsil, and another just underneath it. I have been experiencing a burning-type sore throat as well.

I have also experienced what I understand to be typical post-quit symptoms: tingling in hands/arms, feet/lower legs; dizzyness, frequent clearning of the throat (no cough--yet); etc.

Also...I am on the patch...using Step 1, 21 mgs over 24 hours.

I have just moved into a new city/state less than a month ago and work from home. Consequently, I know no one and have no doctor...yet.

I will be visiting the Urgent Care center this afternoon for lack of knowing where else to turn...these symptoms are rather frightening and I have yet to find on online forums another ex-smoker who shares or shared these symptoms.

Any thoughts???

--Ex-smoker filled with regrets but determined never to give in to this addiction again!
 mal304 - Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:44 pm

First of all, congratulations on quitting smoking. That is one of the hardest addictions to break. As for your pain, a visit to your family MD, would be advisable. The nodule in your throat warrants a visit to your Ear Nose and Throat specialist, who will probably want to remove your tonsils and adenoids (a procedure called a T&A - tonsilectomy and adenoidectomy). Remember that if ANY doctor places you on antibiotics, it is VERY important that you finish the ENTIRE regimen of medicne.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Jul 26, 2008 9:16 pm

User avatar Hello -

First, to echo mal304, congratulations on your having stopped smoking and on your very strong resolve to stay quit. Good job!

The pains you describe in your right chest, back, and sometimes throat or neck definitely could be caused by gas, usually gas trapped in the hepatic flexure of the large intestine. I know this seems like an inordinate distance for the pain to be referred, but what happens is the sharp turn in the colon right at that point often does trap gas; what happens next, of course, is gas likes to move upward, in this case as though in a balloon. The bloating at the flexure pushes up instead of down, and this brings it into contact with the right side of the bottom of your diaphragm. The diaphragm is loaded with nerves some of which are traceable all the way up to the cranium. It also doesn't like being touched. These sensations, which can be sharp, sticking pains, often can travel up into the chest on the affected side, on into the throat, and sometimes even straight up into the head. They can be quite debilitating at times.

I of course can't be certain that's what you're experiencing, but it seems likely based on the description and also because you are post-quitting. Quite often people who have quit smoking tend to swallow air while taking deep breaths due to the general discomfort caused by withdrawal, as well as the habit of taking long draws on cigarettes. The swallowed air gets trapped in the location described above (or in the splenic flexure on the left) and pains such as you describe often result. The pains sometimes seem to wander around and I have heard the description of a "fork moving around around inside." Colorful but accurate.

The white nodule on your tonsil is a common sign of tonsillitis. Sometimes they go away, but if you are having burning sore throat as well, it deserves at least a look. Since doctors no longer like to take tonsils out as a rule (especially in adults) you are most likely to be put on a course of antibiotics. Again, well worth it.

I hope this has been helpful. Good luck to you.
 reyesburns12 - Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:50 am

Hi,Will passive smoking affect people?

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