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Have had cold and cough. Taking zithromax. Why am I getting chest pain?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 8436 Questions
I have had a cold and with a progressive cough since Sept. 28th. Saw family physician on Monday and was prescribed Zithromax as he heard something. He also said my chest pain is a result of musculoskeletal pain but it's been 2 weeks of pain. Could the chest pain be something else? Worried! I am a 40 y o female. I had no chest pain prior to my cold and I'm ashamed to say I smoke about 15-18 cigarettes a day and am trying to quit.
Posted Mon, 12 Nov 2012 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 3 hours later
Hi, thanks for choosing health care magic

Chest pain can occur for a number of different reasons. In your case, assuming that your cough is persistant, your doctor believes that the constant coughing may precipitated muscle pain, which is common.Since you indicated that the chest pain has been occuring for the same or less time as the symptoms of your cold, it may also indicate a link between the two.
The other causes of chest can be thought of from the skin inwards:(1) a rash on the skin (herpes zoster) can cause pain (2) costochondritis is inflammation of the area where the ribs XXXXXXX the sternum.It can cause severe constant chest pain which is generally worse on movement. When a person has costochondritis, touching the area involved is usually associated with tenderness.It is treated with anti-inflammatory pain killers
(3) pleuritis- this is inflammation of the lining outside of the lung.This type of chest pain is identified because it is worse on XXXXXXX breathing or coughing.It may be associated with shortness of breath.There are a number of causes but viral infections are the most common reason for occurence.Treatment involves relieving the symptoms with pain killers and necessary procedures and treating the underlying cause.
(4)pneumonia can also cause chest pain- you indicated that your doctor heard something and gave you antibiotics which indicates that he did not think that it was a viral illness (though a person can have viral pneumonia) but possibly bacterial pneumonia
(5)pulmonary embolism is a clot in the lungs, this would be associated with shortness of breath and it is not likely that it would have persisted for 2 weeks without you needing emergency treatment.
(6) lung cancer- this would be associated with chest pain, cough which may be productive of blood, shortness of breath,weight loss, shoulder pain and hoarseness.
Smoking is a risk factor. It is reassuring ,however, as stated earlier that the pain started with or after the cold. If the cold symptoms resolve and the pain persists or worsens, your doctor may suggest imaging.
(7) angina is chest pain due to reduced blood going to the heart as a result of blocked vessels. It would occur on activity and be relieved by rest.It wouldn not be persistant and is not associated with tenderness of the chest wall
(8) heart attack- this is highly unlikely with this history.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have had cold and cough. Taking zithromax. Why am I getting chest pain? 22 minutes later
Thank you for your prompt response. I notice that when I put a cold pack on my chest the symptoms are alleviated. The pain is not worse when I take a XXXXXXX breath, it's just present and the pain is on my right. I do find it reassuring that prior to two weeks ago I had no chest pain just a lot of productive coughing with a lot of mucous from both the chest and nose. How long can musculoskeletal chest pain take to resolve? The cough is much improved just lose plegm like coughs approx. 6x/day. Took last antibiotic tonight. I have no wheezing just the chest ache.
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 36 minutes later
Hi, it should resolve when the coughing continues to be restricted to the bare minimum all the time (within a week of little to no coughing at all).Using an anti-inflammatory pain would normally aid in resolution but this may be contraindicated because of your history of kidney disease.

Feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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