Symptoms of Lung Pain

by Carol Gomes

When one complains about lung pain, the terminology is not completely correct. The lungs do not have pain receptors and do not pain themselves. What actually happens is that the areas around the lungs such as the back or chest feel tight or constricted and feel pain. Depending on the symptoms experienced, your doctor can determine the cause of the pain. Symptoms of lung pain may include:

  • Sharp or dull pain around the area of the lungs
  • Pain that is localized or diffused across the chest or back
  • Pain that is constant or comes and goes    
  • Pain that gets worse with deep breaths or during exercise
  • Pain that follows a fever or an infection
  • Pain accompanied by excessive or persistent coughing
  • Lung pain accompanied by leg pain
  • Lung pain in the back
  • Lung pain that worsens when lying down
  • Chronic cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Breathlessness

Lung pain may be caused by a number of different reasons such as:

  • Inflammation of the lungs
  • Infection of the lungs such as bronchitis, and pneumonia
  • Chronic lung problems such as ashtma
  • Irritation of the lining of the lungs as in the case of pleurisy
  • Abnormal pressure on the lungs caused by a tumor (lung cancer) or collapsed portion of the lungs (pneumothorax)
  • Chest wall pain as a result of muscle strain, excessive coughing, accident or injury or an infection
  • Pulmonary embolism where a blood clot travels to the lungs from the limbs or pelvis
  • Pleural effusion due to an increase in the fluid between the lung tissues
  • Heart disease
  • Acid reflux
  • Lupus
  • Hyperventilation / overexertion
  • Lung pain after surgery

Lung pain also occurs when you quit smoking or after smoking. If you have recently quit smoking, your lungs take nearly 14 to 30 days to clean themselves. This process includes the rejuvenation of tiny fibers on the lungs that help protect the lungs from dirt and infection. Nicotine withdrawal is often a common cause of lung pain and can cause discomfort and a tight feeling around the chest as well as breathlessness. If you smoke too much, it is also possible to develop lung or chest pain. The best cure for a smoker’s lung pain is to stay away from tobacco for a while (or for good). Passive smoking and smoky areas like clubs and bars should also be avoided until your lungs heal themselves.



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