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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes pain in chest region post TB treatment?

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Practicing since : 1979
Answered : 1126 Questions
I was diagnosed with Active TB in August 2013 and was treated with a 6 month Antibiotic program. However during my treatment I started teaching (had to talk for 3-6 hours every day) and this caused some severe pain in both the sides of my chest region. I thought this would go away soon. In December 2013 I moved into a basement apartment which did not have a proper partition from people upstairs. They had a stove that used to emanate this weird smell that was really painful for me to inhale. It was cold winter here in Canada and the house had air vents that circulated air throughout the house. So due to this vents all the crappy air from the stove as well as from the cooking (seafood like squid, which I am not used to) entered my lungs for a period of 5 months. I had such a difficult time living in that house as my health was deteriorating as I had constant pain in my chest area and was sick all the time. I had to run to the doctor multiple times during this and they had taken several x-rays and kept on saying that my TB is gone (4th month of my treatment). But I had this terrible pain and discomfort and this lead to me not being able to sleep for many nights. The next mornings were terrible. My TB antibiotic treatment was over in March 2014. Luckily I also found a job in April 2014 and was able to move into a new apartment which did not have that bad smell and I could breath easily again. But despite this and also finishing my treatment in March 2014, I still (July 2014) continue to have terrible pain in the left side, sometimes in the middle of the chest region. I also feel that the pain/infection is travelling to the back of my chest as I feel the pain in the backside when I rest my back against something. I also have this sensation that some fluid/sinus is flowing from the left to the side and then to the back (I may be wrong in my description but that's how I feel sometimes). I also feel the taste of a burnt smoke in most of my breadths I inhale. I feel there's something that is deposited/struck and it is causing all this pain/discomfort. I went to my doctor again thrice recently and they have taken couple of chest x-rays again and they say everything looks normal (There's no TB anymore). However the pain was increasingly becoming unbearable and now they have ordered my CT Scan of Chest and Abdomen on July 28. I also recently underwent Endoscopy (20 days back) and am awaiting those results (Preliminary results say inflammation on lower abdomen and a big stomach and they put me a 30 day pill treatment). I am writing this to know, what could be the reason for this pain I have been experiencing despite being cured of TB (Actually I never had any pain when I had TB except for fever, chills and weight loss). Now I don't have any of those TB symptoms and in fact have gained weight in the last 4-5 months. I am able to eat well and feel energetic. But I continue to experience terrible pain in my chest and I would truly appreciate your advice/suggestions before I take my CT Scan in another 10 days. What do I need to do so that this pain goes away because I am confident that my TB is not relapsing. Many thanks in advance.
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Shashi Dangwal 17 hours later
Brief Answer:
No, you do not seem to have recurrence of TB.

Detailed Answer:


You have had TB of the lungs for which you have taken complete treatment and have been declared cured. Your symptoms do not suggest any recurrence of TB. Hence do not worry on account of TB.

The pain in the left side of your chest could be because of some thing else. It could be even because of stomach or food pipe like esophagitis & gastritis, GERD or hiatus hernia. Normally TB dose not cause pain unless there is some superadded infection or if you had tubercular pleural effusion(which from your description looks unlikely)

You need to consult you physician and yes, it will be worthwhile to undergo a complete check including one for heart.

Hope this answers your query. If any further questions, will be happy to help.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes pain in chest region post TB treatment? 2 days later

Thank you for your answer. Six months back, when I went to the urgent clinic for the pain and discomfort I was experiencing, they took an ECG and said my heart functioning was normal.

I also feel that my TB IS NOT recurring as you seem to suggest, so I have the following questions based on your answer.

1) What are the chances of my TB recurring? I am 36 years old male who does not smoke or drink. I also am more of a vegetarian who occasionally eats mutton/chicken. I currently live in Toronto, Canada where the prevalence of TB is negligible.
2) I currently feel healthy (except for the pain and discomfort that I am experiencing in the left side/backside of my chest). I feel there's some fluid/infection/sinus that is stuck in the lower portion of my chest and is not coming out (I do not have cough at all now and even when I had TB, I DID NOT COUGH AT ALL). So what could be the reason for this?
3) My digestive system has taken a beating and I keep having the occasional diarrhea. My stool is also not how it used to be before TB. When I was taking the TB medication, my stool and digestive system were good, but now after completing the medication my digestive system is NOT GOOD. Is there some relevance or what could be the reason for this?
4) From yesterday, I have also started taking TIBETAN AYURVEDA POWDER MEDICINE. Do you think, this might help me as I have not received any western medication since my numerous x-ray reports are not showing anything?
5) Do you think exercises (Breathing + Physical) would help me ease my pain? What sort of breathing exercises do you recommend?
6) What dietary restriction/recommendation do you have for me?
7) Is it normal for people to experience the pain and discomfort I am having after ACTIVE TB? What final advice do you have for me to ease my pain?

Thank you and looking forward to your answer.
Answered by Dr. Shashi Dangwal 29 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Do not think too much about TB. It`s cured.

Detailed Answer:
Parawise answer to your query:

1. It`s not possible to predict your chances of getting TB again. It is as good as as other person.

2. The pain and discomfort and other sensation that you described are not due to TB. Consult your usual doctor for that.

3. Consult a GE physician or your regular doctor for your symptoms of digestive system.

4. I am unable to comment on any other alternative system of medicine.

5. Breathing exercises and other physical activities will be of help.

7. As far as TB is concerned, there are no dietary restrictions. Eat healthy diet without much oil and spices.

8. These kind of symptoms are generally not seen after TB. May be you are disturbed and thinking too much about your illness. You may consult a psychologist/psychiatrist.

Take care.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes pain in chest region post TB treatment? 25 hours later

Many thanks for your answers. I have put forward my thoughts below:

1) If I have some kind of an inflammation or infection in my chest area; surrounding my lungs are in some cavities, will a CT-scan be helpful in detecting this inflammation or infection? If Ct-Scan is not helpful in detecting, then what other medical procedure will help in detection? I in fact had couple of x-rays recently that showed nothing, would x-ray have detected any infection/inflammation if there was any?

2) Are there any natural remedies or supplements (Vitamin tablets/medicinal pastes etc.) that I can take to improve my respiratory system? What would you recommend?

Thanks again.
Answered by Dr. Shashi Dangwal 17 hours later
Brief Answer:
There is nothing wrong with your resp system.

Detailed Answer:

Hello Sir,

As I have repeatedly told you that your symptoms do not suggest that there is anything wrong with your respiratory system. You are unnecessarily worried. In my opinion there is no need for a CT scan of the chest. Generally CT chest does show if there is anything wrong with the lungs, airways, pleural cavity and chest wall.

You are unnecessarily worried and seem to be thinking overtime. Do not worry and carry on with your life.

There is no specific vitamin pill for resp system, neither do you need one. You may take a vitamin supplement for overall health. However deep breathing exercises may help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes pain in chest region post TB treatment? 6 hours later
Hello Doctor,

Many thanks for all the answers. I am starting to feel better after I started taking the 'Tibetan Naturopathic' medication (just into my 3rd day) and also after the confidence you have given me through your answers.

I can feel that something is "being released and some load/pain being taken off" in my chest area, which makes me feel so better. I am positive and hoping that this happens progressively so that I can be back to my regular self as this pain/discomfort (whatever it is has been haunting me for the last 6-7 months. I never had this pain even when I had the disease).

Here in Canada, we need to wait at least for about a month or so for getting a CT Scan appointment. So as a final confirmation of what you said, I am thinking of going ahead with the appointment. I will keep you posted the results of the examination (Because they're also doing a CT scan of my abdomen and pelvic regions along with my chest area). I am also awaiting the results of my endoscopy done 22 days back.

What deep breathing exercises are you referring to, Hot Yoga?

Thanks again and Cheers!
Answered by Dr. Shashi Dangwal 19 hours later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:


Deep breathing exercises can be learnt from any chest physiotherapist and yes in yoga practice also you do have deep breathing which can be very helpful.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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