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Have anxiety disorder, chronic headache and migraine. Suffer chest pain. Have cough with mucus. Something wrong with lungs?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 210 Questions

I have anxiety disorder, chronic eyestrain/headache/migraine, and suffer from frequent chest pain and bodily pains in general. Mostly though, besides the chronic eyestrain since August 2012, the pain is around the chest and upper back, often on the left side, but frequently right side and abdomen as well.

Lately, I've been noticing that if I laugh really hard, it makes me cough, and I start coughing up mucous a bit. The center of my chest becomes a bit tight with some mild pain and soreness. Coughing in and of itself also causes this effect (without the laughing), so I tend to resist any dry coughs on the occasions that I experience the urge to cough. It's like a dry cough.

Also, I notice that my throat becomes raw and dry rather fast if I have a decently long conversation with someone on any given day. An hour or so of talking will begin to bring about this symptom, with it escalating to the point that I try to avoid talking or speak very briefly in order to reduce any further taxing of my throat. I started noticing this effect when it was a bit milder back in 2011 just before the beginning of my anxiety disorder. I drank alcohol very frequently since 2006 (2 to 3 six packs of beer a week typically), and experimented with marijuana during the summer of 2011. I had my first panic attack while experiencing the worst dry throat I'd ever had (painful to swallow, with a disturbing sensation as beer/water/saliva went down. Nothing helped, so I felt trapped and panicked).

That said, I also recall friends frequently commenting even years before that, on the occasions that I caught a virus, that my cough sounded very rough and bad/unusual. I haven't been sick with any virus in over 2 years now though (as far as I've been aware), so I don't know if that effect has worsened or not.

Might I have something wrong with my lungs or esophagus?

Oops, forgot to mention that I quit alcohol and marijuana completely back in 2011. Despite this, these conditions have not improved.
Posted Tue, 9 Jul 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sreenivasan Narayana 2 hours later

I have gone through your description. Let me explain in a bit on what could be the possible three reasons.

1. Allergic cough. 2. Acid Reflux 3. A silent asthma.

Acid reflux can cause these symptoms as the acid enters from your stomach upto your vocal cords and irritate them. That you have anxiety and had been a regular in beer consumption this could be one possible cause.

Your throat becomes dry after prolonged talk. The dryness and subsequent irritation could also cause the cough. Cough moves lot of muscles and hence a chronic cough causing pain is not uncommon.


1. Avoid coffee, and other acid producing beverages.
2. Avoid stress
3. Take over the counter acidity medicine for a week and see if it helps.
4. Eat frequent and light meals
5. Avoid food before two hours you go to bed.

Send me if you have any further queries.


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