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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What are reasons for chest and back pain while breathing?

Answered by
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Dr. Kerry Pottinger

Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist

Practicing since :1983

Answered : 1337 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 27 Dec 2013 in Heart Attack
Question: I went to bed last night, after a normal Th. Gv. dinner, then I noticed that it was painful to inhale, painful on the chest and on my back (where the lungs are?) as if someone had hit me across my chest w a baseball bat :( I shallow breathed all night, grunting w each breath for hours! I took advi/alevel every 3 -4 hours and rested most of the day today in bed, the pain is not as sharp as it was last night, but my chest and back still hurt as I breathe. What could have caused and what can I do? I don't have any other symptoms, no fever, no cough, no headahce, no congestion, just pain when breathing. I'd appreciate your opinion. thanks.
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Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger 29 minutes later
Brief Answer: May be a bone stuck in esophagus or indigestion. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thank you for using Healthcare Magic. You have described your symptoms in helpful detail. I have a number of thoughts as to what the problem could be. You may have got a bone stuck in your esophagus or food pipe. This can happen even though you may not have noticed it at the time of eating. This would cause a sharp pain that continues for the length of time you describe. Another possibility is that you have a severe attack of indigestion. This could be related to a degree of over-indulgence with eating and drinking. Alternatively and less likely is the possibility of a clot in your lung or pulmonary embolus. This would also cause sharp pain related to breathing. However, this is relatively rare in someone who is otherwise fit and healthy. I am confident this is not a heart attack as the pain has lasted too long and you have no other symptoms. In the first instance, try an antacid or indigestion preparation available from the chemist over the counter. If this provides no relief then I suggest you visit the ER for examination and investigation. A chest X-ray may be able to identify a bone that has got stuck. I hope this is of help. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Regards, Dr K A Pottinger, MBChB FRCA
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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