ZocdocAnswersI have COPD and I'm having chest pain with constant pain in my entire rib cage. Any suggestions?

Question

I have COPD and I'm having chest pain with constant pain in my entire rib cage. Any suggestions?

My rib cage pain is constant and makes it hard to breath while having chest pain about every 20-30 minutes.

Answer

It sounds like you have what we call pleuritic chest pain. I recommend that you speak with your primary care physician. This is a type of chest pain that occurs because of inflammation between the lining of your lung and the lining of the inner part of your chest wall. Pleuritic chest pain, or pleurisy, is very common but even more common in those that have lung disease such as COPD. However, physicians do not typically attribute chest pain to pleurisy unless they have ruled out other causes. For example, I always obtain a cardiovascular workout for any patient presenting to me with chest pain over the age of 30. I even do so with younger patients if I think it's warranted. In your case, you should present to your primary care physician and describe your chest pain to him or her. If this is left-sided chest pain, then your doctor will probably want to obtain an EKG, a chest x-ray, and maybe even a stress test. If your chest pain is right-sided, then your doctor may want to obtain a CT scan to look for any abnormalities such as a blood clot. If your chest pain is in the middle, you may get all of these workups, but also might be looked at for potential acid reflux.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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