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Chest Hurts When Breathing

Chest Hurts When Breathing

A hurting chest when breathing may arise from a mild case of abdominal gas or something as severe as a heart disease. If the condition is becoming frequent with time, then a medical visit is imperative.
Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Chest pain may be an emergency which may require prompt medical attention as it may be related to heart attacks. In some cases, chest pain could also be related to non-cardiac problems. In any case, however, chest pain requires proper diagnosis so that any serious or life-threatening illness could be ruled out.
Your Chest Hurts When breathing - What Could it Mean?
Allergies: Caused due to the presence of pathogens, foreign objects, contaminated air, allergy can also trigger pain. Allergies can give rise to cold, cough, sore throat and chest infection. Left untreated in the initial stages, it can intensify and lead to other complications.
Asthma: A respiratory disorder, asthma is caused when the inner lining of the alveoli in the lungs become inflamed. Mucus production increases, which in turn blocks the airways making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms of this disorder include, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath accompanies by mild pain in the chest region.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder: This is another respiratory disorder which is caused due to an infection or inflammation in the airways. An individual suffering from COPD may experience pain and breathlessness because the air sacs lose their capability to hold air for a long time. Irritants like dust, chemicals, pollution air and even smoking are some known factors for leading to COPD.
Heart Disease: One of the most common causes why chest pain is triggered may be a symptom for some underlying heart disease. The pain is usually due to a lack of oxygen, which can be caused due to coronary artery disease, where the arteries tend to become narrow and restrict the flow of blood.
Pulmonary Embolism: Pulmonary embolism is caused due to the presence of a blood clot in lungs, leading to the blockage of arteries. An individual suffering from this condition may experience slight pain in the chest while breathing, excessive perspiration and in some cases bluish discoloration of the skin due to a lack of oxygen.
Pneumonia: Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs which can cause a chest pain either on the right or left side of the chest. Pneumonia can also lead to pleurisy, which is a viral infection which causes the inner lining of the lungs to swell.
Other Causes
Some other triggers of chest pain may include:
  • Pericarditis (an injury to the pericardial sac of the heart)
  • A collapsed lung, also known as pneumothorax
  • Accumulation of gas in the chest
  • Broken ribs caused due to accident or trauma
Symptoms that Accompany Chest Pain
Depending on the cause, chest pain may be accompanied by:
  • Crushing pain that starts from the back and travels upwards towards the shoulders, arms, neck and jaw
  • Feeling of fullness or experiencing tightness around the chest
  • Shortness of breath, sweating profusely, nausea and feeling giddy
  • A feeling of tenderness while pressing the chest
  • A sensation of burning pain near the sternum (breastbone)
  • Dull ache which grows in intensity while coughing or breathing
  • A sour taste in the mouth and experiencing trouble while swallowing
  • Pain that may worsen or get better while moving or shifting the position of the body.
Treatment Measures
An individual complaining of chest pain when breathing, may have to undergo certain diagnostic tests to decipher the exact cause of this condition. A chest X-ray is suggested by the doctor to check for any abnormalities in the lungs. An electrocardiogram (ECG) is also done to rule out the presence of any underlying heart diseases. Mentioned below are some treatment options for chest pain which is triggered by breathing.
  • In case of allergies and infections, the doctor may also prescribe certain antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication to treat the conditions that give rise to pain in the chest.
  • If pain is caused due to acid reflux disease, which is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), then the doctor may advise the individual to follow a special GERD diet, that includes fruits and vegetables that can be easily digested and assimilated in the body. Antacids can also help get rid of this condition.
  • Chest pain triggered by panic attacks can be controlled with the help of antianxiety drugs and artery relaxers. These drugs dilate the blood vessels and ease blood circulation, thereby reducing the pressure on the heart.
  • In case of blood clots, blood thinners and clot-busting drugs are administered to dissolve the clots and restore unhampered blood flow.
  • In some instances, the doctor may opt for surgery if the cause is serious in nature. Surgery is undertaken to avoid unwanted complications which may arise due to heart disorders.
This was all about the reasons why some people experience chest pain when breathing in or out. If your chest hurts when breathing deep, consult your doctor as soon as possible, who may diagnose the reason for chest pain. Hope this article helped shed light on why the chest hurts while breathing and what can be done, in such a case. Take care!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.