Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Pounding chest pains around lungs and ribs, what could it be?"
For the past week or two I have been getting sharp pains in the left side of my chest. I have thought about how it could be pleurisy, but I'm not sure about it. The sharp pains feel like something is stabbing me to the beat of my pulse, or squeezing my lung to the beat of it and the pain travels through to my shoulder. It doesn't seem like it is triggered through breathing, but deep breaths, or sometimes breathing at all, can make the pain worse. I would say the pain is pretty frequent, but not constant. Also, I have been feeling as if my lungs can't seem to get enough air into them, which has been for a little while now. I have very common headaches, but this has been for years. I don't seem to be having any other pleurisy signs, besides maybe being a little more congested as usual. Also, I smoke. I want to go to the doctor, but I'm not sure. The pains started acting up again about 13 minutes ago and I still feel a straining sensation on my left side of the chest.
This type of chest pain is something that should be evaluated immediately by a healthcare professional. Chest pain is one of the most difficult symptoms for physicians to evaluate because it can mean so many different things. Obviously, the most significant problem the chest pain could be is a heart attack. Chest pain from a heart attack tend to feel more like a pressing or a pressure rather than a stabbing pain. In addition, people usually don't describe the pain has having anything to do with a heartbeat. I agree that pleurisy is definitely a possibility. Pleurisy is chest pain due to inflammation of the outer lining of the lung. If your pain seems to worsen with deep breaths that I would definitely agree that this is a possibility. One other possibility that I think should be considered highly in you is the possibility of pericarditis. Pericarditis is a inflammation of the underlining of the heart. Much like pleurisy, the pain can be worsened with a deep breath. However, it also tends to be worse with different positions. While it is typically not described as having anything to do with a heartbeat, it is certainly possible that inflammation of the pericardium could result in worsening pain with each heartbeat. For this problem, I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with the cardiologist.
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