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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Chest Bone Virus

 khagins - Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:13 pm


I am a 51 yr old female with no history of heart problems. Last night and today I had what I would consider "moderate" chest pain, so I went to my doctor. Its there all the time but worse when I take a deep breath. If I pull my shoulders forward it hurts. I do not have a cold and I have not done anything to strain a muscle.

They took an ekg and said there was absolutely nothing wrong with my heart, but that I had a virus in my chest bone. I cannot find anything online about this, so I was wondering if I could get more info and confirm what my doctor said. They told me to take advil for 3-5 days.

Have you heard of this? How does it happen, how long will it last, and does this sound right?

Thank you,
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Feb 07, 2007 9:27 pm

User avatar First, some reassurance. Pain that is worse with breathing or moving the ribs is almost never from the heart.

While I've never heard the term "virus in the chest bone" before this is probably a fairly descent way to think about it. What you are describing is consistent with one of two things. First, pleurisy is inflammation of the lining of the lungs/inside chest wall. It can become inflamed and produce pain. This often will be precipitated by a virus. This may have been what your doctor meant. Breathing and moving the rib cage by moving your arms causes the lining to move and rub the irritated area causing increased pain. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory and will help alleviate the pain.

The second possibility is costochondritis. This is inflammation of the area where the rib becomes cartilage in the front of the chest. This pain is located on a rib as opposed to between them. Also, the pain can be reproduced by pushing on the area where the pain is (as opposed to pleurisy where this does not happen). This may be caused by a recent infection or trauma to the area. Ibuprofen will help this also.

If your pain is not improving over the next few days with the ibuprofen I would recommend that you follow up with your doctor.

Hope this helps.

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