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What causes pain in ear while coughing and difficulty breathing?

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Posted on Wed, 25 May 2016
Question: I have been sick now for several days. I went to my Dr last week and he diagnosed me with the flu. The test came back negative but he said that is what I had. I am having a horrible time with coughing and keep getting a really sharp pain on my right ear. I cannot take Tamaflu so he gave me a Pen. shot, and cefdinir and tussinex for my cough. I also have been using a nebulizer. After 7 days I am still having trouble breathing and still coughing real bad, so I went to Urgent Care yesterday. They did a check X-ray and took blood for a cbc. This Dr. also said I have the flu and an upper respitory infection. He said it was viral. Gave me two shots, a steroid and antibiotic. He also sent me home with 500mg Azithromycin to take for 5 days. Last night I got strangled and started coughing really hard. While I was coughing I was having trouble catching my breathe then, I felt a sensation like needles pricking me all over, then my forearms started hurting and it traveled all the way to the ends of my fingers. The pain just kept getting worse. My fingers were cold. After I stopped coughing the pain in my arms continued. The only way I could get any relief was to hold my arms over my head. It was mostly in my right by this time. If I brought my arm down the pain would increase. This continued for several hours then I finally fell asleep. When I woke the pain was gone by my arms felt really tired. About two hours ago I started coughing really hard again. It last several seconds and my arms started hurting again. My fingers are tingling. Do you have any idea what might be happening? Should I go back to urgent care?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar (4 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Yes, you should consult emergency room again.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your question on Health Care Magic.
I can understand your concern.
By your history and description, we should first rule out thoracic outlet syndrome.
Your arm symptoms are more if arm is coming down.
You are also having tingling, numbness and pain.
So possibility of nerve compression and related symptoms is more.
Brachial plexus supplies upper limb on either side.
Brachial plexus is full of nerves. So compression to this can lead to similar symptoms.
Coughing makes intra thoracic pressure high. So this can worsen the compression and so as pain.
So better to consult emergency department again and discuss about possibility of thoracic outlet syndrome.
Please let me know
1. Do you smoke?
2. Do you have wheezing?
Please reply me answers of above asked questions, so that I can guide you better. I will be happy to help you further. Wish you good health. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar (2 hours later)
Yes I have wheezing. I smoked off and on for 5 years but have not smoked for 30 years.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar (1 minute later)
Brief Answer:
Have you ever undergone PFT?

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your follow up question on Health Care Magic.
I can understand your concern.
Possibility of bronchitis is more in your case.
Uncontrolled bronchitis causes you coughing and other symptoms.
So we need to first treat your bronchitis.
Please let me know
1. Have you ever undergone PFT (Pulmonary Function Test)?
Please reply me answer of above asked question, so that I can guide you better.
I will be happy to help you further. Wish you good health. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar (11 hours later)
Yes I have had that test three times in the past 5 years
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Which nebulizer you are taking?

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your follow up question on Health Care Magic.
I can understand your concern.
Please let me know
1. Which nebulizer you are taking?
2. What was your last PFT report?
3. Have you taken annual flu shot (vaccine)?
Please reply me answers of above asked questions, so that I can guide you better.
I will be happy to help you further. Wish you good health. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonologist

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 14908 Questions

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What causes pain in ear while coughing and difficulty breathing?

Brief Answer: Yes, you should consult emergency room again. Detailed Answer: Thanks for your question on Health Care Magic. I can understand your concern. By your history and description, we should first rule out thoracic outlet syndrome. Your arm symptoms are more if arm is coming down. You are also having tingling, numbness and pain. So possibility of nerve compression and related symptoms is more. Brachial plexus supplies upper limb on either side. Brachial plexus is full of nerves. So compression to this can lead to similar symptoms. Coughing makes intra thoracic pressure high. So this can worsen the compression and so as pain. So better to consult emergency department again and discuss about possibility of thoracic outlet syndrome. Please let me know 1. Do you smoke? 2. Do you have wheezing? Please reply me answers of above asked questions, so that I can guide you better. I will be happy to help you further. Wish you good health. Thanks.