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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Dry cough with sharp chest and back pain

 dreamy2103 - Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:58 pm

I have 25 years old, female, and for a month I have a dry cough, with sharp (not constant and not coughing or breathing related) chest and back pain. First I started only coughing a little bit, and three weeks ago I started feeling pain under my shoulder-blade on the left. Progressively, this pain extend to under my ribs and my arm also on my left.
Of course, since I got scared, two weeks after my symptoms appeared I went to see a doctor. He first thought I had a pharyngitis, and gave me some antibiotics. The therapy had no effect and my symptoms persisted. After that, I have done all kind of analysis - lung x-ray and CT, blood test, and they all came normal. Moreover, the doctor didn't hear any wheezing in my breathing.
The doctors don't know anymore what could be causing my symptoms, so please tell me what else I should check because I am becoming desperate. Could this maybe be caused by a heart or kidney problem?

Just to mention, I was a smoker until six month ago and I have a history of lung problems - bronchitis and pneumonia. Moreover, on my mother's side, my grandfather died of lung cancer and my grandmother was had asthma.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:02 pm

User avatar Hi Dreamy2103,

I have a couple of thoughts. First, often this type of cough is caused by silent reflux. It may be that you have gastroesophageal reflux that is not causing the classic heart burn type pain but is irritating your trachea enough to make you cough. It may be worth trying a reflux controller medicine, such as pepcid or zantac.

Your pain may be caused by sore muscles from coughing. Pleurisy is possible although this typically is worse pain with deep breathing.

You may also want to see a pulmonologist (lung specialist). They can do some more specialized lung function testing to see if you have a condition such as an asthma variant such as cough variant asthma.

Best wishes.

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