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Pain in Chest when Breathing in

Pain in the chest while breathing is a condition that happens when a person experiences slightly to intense pain in the chest area when breathing in. Pain can be anywhere in the upper abdominal area. This is usually very alarming because chest pain is associated with heart attacks, but pain on breathing does not relate to cardiac problems. Chest pain while breathing is usually due to some problem in the lung or the esophagus or a muscle of that area.


The symptoms associated with the pain in the chest while breathing in are as follows:


Pain in the chest is the first alarming symptom. Whenever a person takes a long deep breath there is a certain amount of discomfort and a sharp pain in left or right side of the chest area. Pain may sometimes be very mild and in some cases, pain will be extremely severe. Pain might be short-lived or continue for a longer period of time.The pains that come back, again and again, need to be given immediate medical attention. They can indicate some major underlying problems. Some people also face headaches and pain in the upper abdominal area when bending or after exercising. A severe chest pain that does not go away might be the cause of a cardiac problem or an injury in the chest muscles and should be treated immediately to avoid any further complications.


A person in most cases faces difficulties in breathing. When the person takes deep breaths, experiences sharp pain in the chest region. This leads to breathlessness. There is a lesser inflow of oxygen into the body because of this phenomenon. Usually, when a person has a chest infection or cough or cold, this situation occurs.


Fatigue may be due to pain in the chest or due to the other problems. Sometime in case of tuberculosis or pneumonia, a person feels excessively tired along with recurring chest pain every time they breathe. They might also get fever and chills. Fever is usually recurrent and comes back again after some time. Fever usually starts with chills in the whole body and as soon as the fever subsides, the body normalizes.


Since the person is unable to breathe properly, due to lack of oxygen the person feels dizzy and is unable to perform his daily chores properly.

Problem when swallowing

Many people face problems in swallowing the food and the process is very painful.

Causes of Chest Pain when Breathing in

There can be numerous causes of the pain in the chest while breathing. Some of the most common ones are chest infections or asthma. Simple things like running and heartburn can also cause chest pain while breathing. Although these are just momentary and goes away in a little while.

Some of the other reasons that might be the cause of pain in the chest when breathing are:


This conditions occurs when the tissues in the inner wall of the lungs rub together. This usually happens when a person breathe. If these tissues get infected or inflamed, it causes a lot of pain while rubbing. In general cases, the tissues are satiny and do not pain while rubbing. Only when tissues get swollen and irritated, there is a sharp pain in chest area. Although this is not that common and can be treated easily with medicines now a days,if  not treated properly, it might lead to death.


Cold, cough and chest infections can be the reason for chest pain while breathing. While coughing bronchitis gets irritated and inflamed. During winters after exercising a person might feel a slight pain in the chest. This is due to the cold air that has entered the lungs making them dry and cause irritation. Chest infection is another reason for the pain in chest when breathing. The bacteria causing the chest infections, also cause irritation in the lining of the lungs leading to pain while breathing.


This is another lung related disease that can be the reason behind inflammation and pain in the chest while breathing. This causes the inflammation of the bronchioles and bronchi of the lungs. The other symptoms of this disease are cough and shortness of breath. This disease can last for about two months and its effect can be lessened by taking in medicines. If not treated and cared for, the disease can cause permanent damage to the lungs.


Pneumonia is another condition of the lungs that affects the alveoli. It causes the inflammation of the alveoli and pain in the chest while breathing.Other symptoms of this disease includes dry cough, fever, chills, difficulty in breathing and recurrent chest pains. It is caused by the viral or bacterial infection and can be of various types. It needs immediate medical assistance if diagnosed.


Tuberculosis is a lung disease caused by bacteria. It affects lungs and sometimes other parts of the body. In many cases, the symptoms may remain hidden for a long period of time but when they do come out they are mostly severe. The classic symptoms may include constant coughing, fever, waking up sweaty in the morning and blood in the sputum.

Muscles or rib damage

Any injury to the muscle or the ribs of the chest can also lead to constant pain in the chest while breathing. When the person breathes, lungs get contracted and expand. This contraction and expansion lead to a movement in the injured muscle or the area around the rib. The movement causes even more pain and inflammation in the area.

Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism is a condition where blood clots and results in blockage of pulmonary artery. These clots can also travel to the lungs and get stuck there. If the blockage is very large, the conditions can be life threatening, So preventive measures should be taken immediately. A person feels chest pain while breathing when suffering from this condition.


This is a condition that happens when the air gets stuck in the pleural cavity of the lungs. Lungs may sometimes collapse on one side and cause pain in the chest when breathing. A chest x-ray is required to actually identify this condition and it can be easily treated with medical procedures.


Asthma is a type of bronchitis and is of acute type. This is characterized by inflammation of bronchi. There will be chest pain and difficulty in breathing in addition to coughing. This is usually due to a viral infection and the passage of air in the lungs gets more sensitive.


The treatment of pain in the chest when breathing involves the treatment of the underlying causes. The following things can be done:


First step to treat any condition is to find out what is causing it. If the chest pain is momentary and happens only once in a while, it is not something serious and can be ignored. But if it continues for a longer time and is accompanied by constant coughing, difficulty in breathing, dizziness, vomiting and fever, medical attention should be sought. Doctor may ask to undergo few tests and an x-ray of the chest area to accurately determine cause of the problem. He will then suggest you proper medication and treatment for the disease.


In case of bacterial and viral infections in lungs, antibiotics are prescribed by doctor. In other cases, the medicines for the disease that has been causing pain in chest when breathing are given. For pregnant women, medicines may differ so informing the doctor about your health conditions is important.

Operative procedures

Some people need to get operations done in order to treat the conditions causing  chest pain. Some cases like an injury in the rib require operations in order to fix the deformity.


Other reasons like cold and cough or heavy breathing during exercising that cause chest pain can either be avoided or the person can take rest for a while to let the pain subside, in these conditions pain usually goes away in an hour.

Should I be concerned?

  • If chest pain happens only once or twice, then it should not concern you at all. This can just be due to overexertion of lungs or breathing in too deep. But if the pain continues or increases and comes back again and again,this can be a symptom of something really serious,this type of pain should definitely worry you.
  • If the pain in the chest area while breathing is accompanied by excessive coughing, blood in sputum, fever, chills, inflammation, difficulty in breathing etc. should be immediately checked by the doctor.
  • In the case of small children and pregnant women, this pain should not be avoided at any cost because this might be harmful to their health.
  • Undergoing small tests like some blood tests and x-rays is better than suffering the consequences of a big disease.
  • In the case of a cough and cold, the counter antibiotics and syrups can help find relief from the pain.
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