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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Is stabbing back pain related to frequent coughing during old age?

I have had a dry cough for a few days. Then all of a sudden as my cough became more frequent, I would get a stabbing pain on the right side of my mid back. When that happens, it hurts to takes even small breaths. This is my second day of taking azithromycin 250 mg. So far it hasn’t done anything. I don’t have shortness of breath. The coughing, back pain and general malaise is taking it’s toll. I’ve moved recently and my family doctor is 1.5 hours away. He tries to help me via phone, but I afraid maybe this is more serious than we think. What do you think? My fever got as high as 101.5 when I called the doctor. It has come down, but all other symptoms remain. XXXX age 69
Fri, 7 Jun 2019
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General & Family Physician 's  Response

Lung infection may cause cough and chest pain. The chest pain can be due to pleuritis (inflammation of the layers that cover the lungs), which is common with lung infection or it may be due to muscles that might be hurting from cough.

In any case, the treatment is antibiotics and painkillers and plenty of rest. Azithromycin is a very good antibiotic for lung infections. Normally you should not have fever 2-3 days after starting the antibiotic.

If you have a fever for longer than 3 days or if you develop shortness of breath, you will need to see your doctor again. Cough and fatigue may last for a few weeks and this is normal.

I hope this answers your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Dr. Antoneta Zotaj, General & Family Physician
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