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Have had pain in the chest when deep breathing, coughing, sneezing or getting out of bed suddenly. Advise?

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Hi, I am a 32 year old female. I have had pain in the middle of the chest, maybe rib lung area for months. It's only happens when deep breathing, coughing, sneezing or getting out of bed suddenly. I'm getting worried as it has not gone away. Do you think it is serious? do I need a chest ex ray? I did go to the docs when it first happened about 6 moths ago but he said it was nothing..What should I do please help
Posted Tue, 16 Jul 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 47 minutes later

Thank you for the query.

Pain in the middle of the chest can be caused by several things including rib nerve compression due to an inflammation or spine disc herniation, strained muscle, gallstones, acid reflux disease, lungs issue.

Rib nerve pain is usually sharp, well localized in particular spot. It appears when moving the chest (breathing, coughing) and can be completely unnoticeable when not moving it. The pain can occasionally radiate along the rib to the back.

Muscle pain is dull, mild and present only when moving this muscle. The pain can be also sensed when pressing the muscle.

Gallstones give lower right chest pain which can radiate to the back. Nausea and vomiting can be present. It can appear when coughing or breathing (as the liver and gallbladder moves with the chest). The pain is associated with meals.

Acid reflux disease gives more chest burning than a pain. It appears after a meal. Nausea can be also present.

Sometimes chest pain can be also a symptom of some serious lung disease. It can be pneumothorax (air presence between the chest wall and the lung) or even lung tumor (possible if you do smoke). That is why, if your symptoms do not get better, chest diagnostics should be done.

I suggest you to visit your doctor, have physical examination and consider chest X-ray (or better chest CT). Rib nerve problem can be diagnosed with spine MRI. Gallstones should be ruled out with an ultrasound.

You should be prescribed with Diclophenac 50 mg twice a day (should be taken with Omeprasole 20mg once a day to protect the stomach). Hot bath and massage (to unlock the nerve) should be also helpful.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
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Follow-up: Have had pain in the chest when deep breathing, coughing, sneezing or getting out of bed suddenly. Advise? 1 hour later
Thank you for your reply. Can muscle pain continue for almost a year? I have had this pain for that long and it has not improved. I am going to get a ct scan just in case. Thanks allot
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 1 hour later
Muscle pain can be present for a year if the factor which is causing it is present as well. It can be a type of work you perform everyday or uncomfortable sleeping day by day. Its possible. Muscle pain should be worse in the evening.

CT is a good choice. You may ask a radiologist to take a look at your spine with chest CT, so you can have diagnosed both things.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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