What can chest pain when coughing actually mean?

This isn’t about chest pain that has an accompanying cough. I’m talking about chest pain that is brought on by coughing.

“Chest pain when coughing is also known as pleurisy,” says Lance S. Burns, MD, emergency medicine specialist, of Legacy ER & Urgent Care, Frisco East location.

Dr. Burns continues, “This can be from the lung lining ‘catching’ on the chest wall lining. The pain of coughing may also be secondary to direct irritation of the bronchioles.

“Further, there can be irritation of the intercostal nerves that run between each set of ribs.”

A pending heart attack or blocked arteries will not cause chest pain from movement or changing positions.

Coughing involves movement and has a positional component.

Coughing exerts pressure on the chest wall, and hence, when conditions such as soft tissue injury (like very sore or strained pectoralis muscles) or bronchioles irritation are present, the chest pain or discomfort results.

Dr. Burns has over 30 years of experience, and he specializes in emergency medicine as well as family medicine. For more info: Legacy ER & Urgent Care.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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