Medical Specialty >> Pulmonology

Doctors Lounge - Pulmonology Answers

Back to Pulmonology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Chest pain caused by straining for bowel movement

 musherd - Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:25 am

I am a 79 year old male. Recently, while constipated, I was straining to induce a bowel movement, when I suddenly felt a sharp pain in the middle of my chest at about the level of my armpits. This was like a popping or tearing, and immeduiately became a line of pain across my chest. It was at about the same level as heartburn pains; but they are more of a burning sensation. This was more of a raw feeling. It went away after an hour or so. Since then, every time I go outside in the cold air (30s and 40s F), the raw pain starts up again in the same location. This is while walking at a moderate speed, breathing through my nose only. Indoors, this does not happen, even with energetic exercise. Ice water and ice cream do not cause this pain, so it seems to be associated with my windpipe or lungs, rather than my esophagus. Could I have damaged something in those parts? If so, what should I do about it?
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:23 pm

User avatar Hello,

I would consider two possibilities:
- Muscle spasm
Muscle spasm alone can cause this pain which can be the result of inappropriate posture or sudden wrong movement.
In these cases, self care and avoiding the precipitating cause will lead to a gradual but clear improvement in the pain. Home treatment includes the use of Analgesics, cold or hot therapy.
Rest for maximum two days is also beneficial.

-Pneumomediastinum usually occurs when intrathoracic pressures become elevated. This elevation may occur with an exacerbation of asthma, coughing, vomiting, straining, as a Valsalva maneuver.
Older age is a risk factor as lung function normally declines with age.
Pneumomediastinum is generally a benign, self-limited condition.

Chest pain and abdominal symptoms are common.
Direct clinical examination and Chest X-ray are essential.

Best regards.
 musherd - Sun Jan 07, 2007 3:29 pm

The symptoms I reported in my original post are slowly, but definitely, going away.

Thank you for your help.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us