Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why does my chest hurt more now that I have quit smoking?"
I was smoking about a pack of cigarettes a day but I quit two weeks ago. Now when I exercise my chest feels like it is on fire and hurts way more than when I was smoking. Why does my chest hurt more now that I have stopped smoking?
First of all, congratulations on quitting smoking! Smoking is very bad for your health, as it contributes both to risk for lung problems as well as putting you at risk of heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, quitting smoking is one of the most important positive moves you can make for your health! There is no particular reason that quitting smoking would make your chest hurt. In fact, smoking irritates the lungs quite a bit, so quitting smoking should generally cut down on symptoms like shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough. Therefore, I would be concerned that there might be something going on contributing to your chest pain, such as asthma, bronchitis, or a lung infection. You should go see your primary care doctor about this problem. Your doctor will be able to perform a basic physical examination to get to the bottom of this. Depending on what they discover, they may want to do additional testing to rule out some of these possibilities, such as an x-ray of the lungs or pulmonary function tests. Depending on what tests show, your doctor will be able to decide whether you need a particular treatment, such as antibiotics for an infection or medications to control asthma.
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