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Severe pain in wrist when coughing or breathing heavily. What is the problem?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1996
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I have been having quite strong pains in my left wrist - actually just next to it (towards the elbow) and it is quite severe when I breath heavily, XXXXXXX cough etc. Have read a bit about this with some saying possible heart, others saying ribs etc. What is your opinion?
Posted Sat, 27 Apr 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Prasad Akole 19 minutes later
Dear friend, welcome and thanks for entrusting your query here at Healthcaremagic!
I am Dr. Prasad Akole (Critical Care Expert- and am glad to address to your query here.

I should be able to help you if you could answer a few questions.
Is there swelling above the left wrist?
Are there discoid discolored patches there?
How is the pain? Dull aching or electric like shooting?
Is there tingling/ numbness?
Heart related angina pain may radiate to left arm and hand, but will be going from shoulder to fingers. Do you have any chest pain?
Was there any trauma to the left forearm?
Can you feel pulses at both the wrists equally?
Arthritic pain will be at the wrist, usually with swelling.
Arterial ischaemia (blocks) will usually cause pain, pallor, loss of function etc.

Take care and please keep me informed of your progress at
Thank you!!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Severe pain in wrist when coughing or breathing heavily. What is the problem? 4 hours later
Yes, there is some swelling but at the outer side of the wrist (I had assumed it was arthritis and has been there before the pain). No discoid patches there.
Shooting pain when I breathe out heavily, dull pain otherwise.
No tingling or numbness in the left arm.
I do have chest pain but have always had that (dull pain from COPD - my assumption here) and it is more on the right side above the bronchial tube.
Seem to have a stronger pulse on the left wrist but then I have a ganglia on the right wrist where I would take a pulse.
Answered by Dr. Prasad Akole 4 hours later
Thanks for the info.

It makes clear that there is no arterial block as the left pulse is strong. It is unlikely a part of lupus.

Swelling with pain is due to arthritis if it is at the wrist.
But if it is higher and increases on deep breathing, it is unexplained.
Chest pain and left arm pain could be heart related- IHD (ischemic heart disease).
Uncommon possibility is soft tissue lesion due to lupus. But relation to deep breathing is unexplained.

Was there any trauma to the area?

I would advise you get evaluated fully by your treating doctor- physical exam, xrays, ECG, labs etc.
Ask if it is one of the things I mentioned above. Ask if it looks like soft tissue rheumatism (autoimmune disease).

I hope to have answered your query satisfactorily. I would be glad to answer any further queries. Take care and please keep me informed of your progress at
Good Luck!

It helps us to improve continuously if you could please write a rating review before you ‘accept’ and ‘close’ the query.
Thank you!!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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