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Having pain in bones and muscles, cough with phlegum and breathing difficulty. Prescribed doxycycline. Help?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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Hi, I have had aching in my bones and muscles for more than a couple of months and pins and needles in my right arm. I came down with a very strong hacking cough (paroxysm that leave me bent double and unable to clear my throat or catch my breath) 10 days ago, in which I am coughing up phlegm which is white, not infected. My GP gave me 8 days worth of doxycycline as I have a history of chest infections turning to bronchitis (I have never smoked) which end tomorrow, but symptoms are exactly the same. I pulled a muscle in my righthand rib cage area coughing 4 days ago, and get stabbing pains if I move/turn too quickly, plus breathing in is really uncomfortable - I can't take in a deep breath at all, even though I need to when I get to the end of a coughing bout. I have pins and needles down my righthand arm and a stiff right shoulder. Am absolutely exhausted, feel heavy on moving as if I have a virus, but it is very difficult to get an appointment at my surgery. It hurts my head so much when I cough that I have to hold the bones at the back of my head with the other hand holding the righthand side under my ribs. Have spent day in bed today, no improvement at all. Any advice gratefully received
Posted Sat, 29 Jun 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Luchuo Engelbert Bain 1 hour later
Hi and thanks for the query,

It s a good thing the doctor prescribed an antibiotic, but with the persistence of the cough and onset of thoracic symptoms, with the muscle tear, it is imperative to get a closer look and a more urgent care. I think a reevaluation is imperative together with a chest X XXXXXXX It is important to know why you continue coughing so much, this could be viral, a chronic obstructive bronchopneumopathy like asthma, especially if you have a family history of asthma, and atypical bacteria like pneumocystis carini or mycoplasma.

Considering the muscle tear and other symptoms experienced in the arm, it is worth while taking a cough syrup that can stop the coughing for the moment. Carbocysteine syrup will be good in stopping the cough now. Codeine for pain could be good temporally as you await to see your physician, for it shall also help in alleviating the cough symptoms.

Concerning the arm symptoms, the pins and needles sensation, there is probably a compression or irritation of a nerve, a branch of the brachial plexus that innervates the upper limbs. The opinion of a neurologist could be very welcome.

For now, I suggest you take Carbocysteine and Codeine with appropriate doses and shall be precised by your pharmacist. It would be worth while waiting for the surgeon in the emergency room or service. Making arrangements to see the neurologist some time later could be of great help too.

Thanks once again and hope this helps.

Best regards. Feel very free asking further questions if need be.

Bain LE, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having pain in bones and muscles, cough with phlegum and breathing difficulty. Prescribed doxycycline. Help? 34 minutes later
With very many thanks for such thorough advice. I will get an appointment as soon as possible to follow up, rather than continue to sit it out. Very many thanks
Answered by Dr. Luchuo Engelbert Bain 4 minutes later
Hi and thanks for your comments,

I wish you a very quick recovery and the best of health.

Best regards,
Bain LE, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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