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What causes severe cough, fatigue, and pain in the upper back?

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Posted on Wed, 18 Jul 2018
Question: I have been ill since early December with heavy coughing, fatigue and a heavy, aching feeling in my upper back. The severity of symptoms changes, but their presence has been fairly constant. As soon as my symptoms arose, I took a Z-Pac (self-prescribed). It had no effect. Since then, I've seen a doctor three times. On each occasion, he gave me a physical exam, listened to my lungs, etc. On one occasion, he prescribed another anti-bacterial, on the other, he prescribed an anti-viral. I don't recall the order in which these were prescribe, but neither appeared to have any effect. On the third visit, the doctor ordered a chest x-ray, which was read as negative.

It's been 35 -40 days since I first fell sick,and I'm not materially better. What should I do?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar (24 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Get done PFT (Pulmonary Function Test).

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your question on Healthcare Magic.
I can understand your concern.
First of all no need to worry for lung infection (pneumonia) as your chest x ray is normal.
Possibility of bronchitis (inflammation of airways) is more likely for your continuous coughing.
So get done PFT (Pulmonary Function Test).
PFT will not only diagnose bronchitis but it will also tell you about severity of the disease and treatment is based on severity only.
You may need inhaled bronchodilators (formoterol or salmeterol) and inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) (budesonide or fluticasone).
Please let me know if you have smoking habit.
I will be happy to help you further. Wish you good health. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
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Follow up: Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar (2 hours later)
No, I am not a smoker. One thing I neglected to mention: this morning I was coughing up green mucus (not the only time during this illness). Mostly, my cough has been dry and non-productive. Does this change your analysis?

Thanks.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar (12 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Bronchitis can cause green colored phlegm.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your follow up question on Healthcare Magic.
I can understand your concern.
Bronchitis can cause green colored phlegm.
So in my opinion, you should definitely rule out bronchitis for your symptoms.
Hope I have solved your query. I will be happy to help you further. Wish you good health. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
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Answered by
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Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonologist

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 14949 Questions

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What causes severe cough, fatigue, and pain in the upper back?

Brief Answer: Get done PFT (Pulmonary Function Test). Detailed Answer: Thanks for your question on Healthcare Magic. I can understand your concern. First of all no need to worry for lung infection (pneumonia) as your chest x ray is normal. Possibility of bronchitis (inflammation of airways) is more likely for your continuous coughing. So get done PFT (Pulmonary Function Test). PFT will not only diagnose bronchitis but it will also tell you about severity of the disease and treatment is based on severity only. You may need inhaled bronchodilators (formoterol or salmeterol) and inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) (budesonide or fluticasone). Please let me know if you have smoking habit. I will be happy to help you further. Wish you good health. Thanks.