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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Pain in lower chest, from smoking?

 petchiso - Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:41 am

Hi, I am a 25 year old male about 183 pounds with 10 years of smoking cigarettes. For the past 6 months I have had chest pain come and go on my left anterior side around the 6-7th rib (vertically) about an inch lateral to my nipple (horizontally). The pain has feels like sort of a discomfort rather than sharpand like a 4 out of 10 on the pain scale. I have noticed that I get it bad the next day if I go out and smoke a lot. Went to the doctor about 3 months ago and he said I should quite smoking. he listened to my chest and found nothing wrong.

Tonight laying in bed, after smoking a ton because I've been studying for a huge exam, I feel a sharp pain (7/10) around the same area but now on my back on just short of maximum inspiration. Maybe around the 7-9th rib. No pain on twisting my torso or moving around at all. I've noticed shortness of breath lately, but I have been smoking alot this past two weeks (much more than usual) which I guess is from that.

I understand it could be a muscle since I have been sitting on a bed studying for my exam for a bout 10 hours a day for the past 2.5 weeks with probably not the best posture. But it just doesn't feel like a muscle.

anyway, no GI symptoms or anything else significant. I know I could have two separate problems. But the intermittent chest pain in the front is really starting to bug me and with the pain on breathing in on the back, I am starting to worry. I feel like I need an MRI or CT just so I know I don't have cancer. I am quitting smoking after the exam because I just can't stand it.

Any insight is appreciated, thanks.
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:17 pm

User avatar Hello,

According to your description pleurisy is more likely to the cause of your symptoms. Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the double layered membrane that covers the lung.

The condition is due to viral infection in most of the cases, or other lung lesions nearby the pleura causing its irritation and inflammation. Smoking decrease the local immunity of the respiratory system and predispose to recurrent chest infections.

The pain is felt like sharp pain on one side or less commonly in both sides, it increases with deep breath. The pain usually stops once you hold your breath and result in rapid, shallow breathing.

The condition gradually improves with rest, plenty of fluid. NSAID can help reduce the pain.

If you have a productive Cough with yellowish or greenish sputum, or Fever, you should visit your doctor immediately to receive the proper medical care.

Another causes to be excluded or may coexist is:
Overexertion of the chest wall muscles or their inflammation as a part of viral infection like flu or cold results also in Chest pain, the pain is usually aggravated with certain moves and is usually associated with tenderness over the affected muscles. Muscle
Pain due to wrong maintained postures are also possible and gives similar clinical picture.

Chest X-ray would be helpful if there is any doubt on clinical examination.
 witodd - Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:28 am

I just thought I was post here because I have been experiencing a similar problem for around a week and I am trying to decide how worried I should be. I can't really specify an area that hurts aside from the lower left side of my chest. The pain increases when I take a deep breath, and especially if I stretch or twist my body to the right. If I take a deep breath and press on my rib cage on the left side just as it starts to taper that is I guess where I would say there is the most pain. I only experience pain in that portion of my chest, and only when I am inhaling deeply and turning my body. I might also mention that this pain started almost immediately after I recovered from a rather nasty chest cold. The pain seems to be the least in the morning, but then throughout the day will continue to get worse, although never more than I would say a 5/10 type of pain. I am a smoker, but have significantly cut back on my tobacco use since this has happened, although obviously I know this isn't a cure I was hoping it might help some. Anyhow, any thoughts on this?

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