Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why do I have pain in my ribs and chest when I breathe?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have pain in my ribs and chest when I breathe?


It started last night has never happened to me before i do have asthma but i took a treatment and still have the same pain. When i lay on my back or any of my sides it feels like someone is stepping on top of me what should I do??


Thank you for this interesting question. In order to provide an accurate answer, I would need more information. I would need to review your entire medical history and also perform a thorough physical exam. In addition, I would need to review any prior testing you may have had for this issue. Only after collecting this information would it be possible to provide a diagnosis. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to see a primary care doctor to discuss this issue. Chest pain has many potential causes. From what you describe, it sounds as if the pain is pleuritic, meaning that it is worse with inspiration. It is possible you are suffering from costochondritis, or inflammation of the cartilage within the chest wall. This often improved with NSAID use. A primary respiratory disorder, such as asthma or emphysema, can cause similar symptoms. Pneumonia, which is an infection of the lung, can cause similar symptoms. You may have a pleural effusion, which is fluid accumulation within the chest but outside the lung tissue. Another possibility is a pulmonary embolism, or blood clot that has moved to the lung. Finally, coronary artery disease causing ischemia can cause chest pain. I encourage you to discuss these possibilities with a primary care doctor.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.