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chest pain and lung function

Is it usual to have chest pain during an acute exacerbation which is made worse by breathing in deeply?

My son was in costa last week and consultant on ward round kept moaning he had lousy peak flows because he wasn't trying. She told him to take a really deep breath before doing it. He said he couldn't as it was hurting his chest to breath deeply. He did it for her and his pf went up from 140 to 200. He was obviously in pain as he had watery eyes afterwards. The consultant wrote in his notes he could do better pf's but didn't want to.

Is this usual?

1 Reply

Hi there,

I'm sorry to hear that Jayden's been in hospital again - it must be so difficult for the whole family. I know that it doesn't help when the consultant is apparently so unsympathetic and critical.

I think many of us will have been accused at some point of 'not trying' when doing peak flows. I know that in my case, tiredness and fatigue and pain can all contribute to a less-than-wonderful peak flow even when the actual bronchospasm is not too bad. I know it is easier said than done, but please try not to worry about the consultant's comments - it is just one person's opinion, and most doctors, when they see Jayden, will make up their own minds about him. When assessing the severity of his asthma, there are many other factors that they will look at other than just peak flow, so they will not ignore him if he is unwell, whether they think his peak flow is accurate or not.

In terms of the pain itself - pleuritic chest pain (pain which is worse on breathing in) is relatively common during a severe asthma attack. There are several possible causes, the simplest - and most likely - being that the muscles of the chest wall are simply complaining at being asked to work harder than usual. Chest infections and pneumonia can also cause this type of chest pain, but would also show up on examination, bloods and X rays. In adults, a pulmonary embolus (blood clot on the lung) would be another potential cause, but this would be extremely rare in someone of Jayden's age.

I know that whenever I have a bad attack, I have a very achey chest wall for quite a few days afterwards, simply because of the extra work involved in breathing. Heat, in the form of a heat pad or hot water bottle, is quite effective at relieving it.

Hope this helps and that Jayden is on the mend now

Take care

Em H


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