Pain in chest

Hi there.

I'm not asking for medical advice, I'm booked in with the gp tomorrow morning, but just thought if anyone can relate to this and offer advice before tomorrow.

So things haven't been right with my asthma since Dec/jan with the first chest infection. I've since had another chest infection and since last week my asthma has been significantly more troublesome as I've been having numerous attacks everyday and a noticable drop in pf. I've also noticed that I have been getting pain in the top of my right lung for the last week. The pain only comes on when I have an attack, once the Ventolin kicks in, the pain goes. The pain is dull and achey and isn't made any worse by breathing in or out or changing position. Has anyone any thoughts?

EDIT: Changed the sentence in italics to (hopefully) make more sense!!

20 Replies

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  • Two significant URIs so close together sounds like no fun.

    Do hope you are feeling better soon.

    As for doctor: maybe write down your symptoms as bullet points before you go to see the GP so you don't leave anything out?

  • Two significant URIs so close together sounds like no fun.

    Do hope you are feeling better soon.

    As for doctor: maybe write down your symptoms as bullet points before you go to see the GP so you don't leave anything out?

    No it's not been much fun, ;-( I'm so exhausted!

    Great idea about the bullet point list, I'm bound to leave and forget to mention something important, I usually do!!

  • I get a similar thing, I think. is it like a really intense aching? if we're talking about a similar thing, I've found it's usually down to tightness which usually settles down with salbutamol.

  • I get a similar thing, I think. is it like a really intense aching? if we're talking about a similar thing, I've found it's usually down to tightness which usually settles down with salbutamol.

    Yes LilMissCoughALot, it is like a really intense ache, like when your shoulders ache so much they need a good massage - but inside the top right of my chest (just above my breast!!). Taking salbutamol calms the attack down and the pain does seem to go away, but it's more intense than the normal 'pressure'/tightness pain i get across my chest during an attack.

  • I'm not sure how to quote things, I haven't been using the site for too long. both things you've said sounds a lot like myself during severe attacks, though. I get most of my pain/tightness into my back first then round into the front, under my boobs then up my breast bone and across the top. I'm quite possibly the furthest thing away from the standard textbook case of asthma, lol. the pain managed to make me cry a few times because its that painful/uncomfortable. you're not on your own with it.

    other than the infections you've had, have you come across anything which may have triggered it? asthma constantly changes (so my cons says), it could be a simple case of your asthma changing how it presents itself.

  • To quote, you click the box to the top right of the box (next to 'thank'), it'll bring up the whole comment as a quote, you can delete whatever you don't want to include, whatever is left will appear on your new post as a quote! (there will be some writing in brackets at the start and end of the quoted comment, make sure you don't delete these.)

    I'm quite possibly the furthest thing away from the standard textbook case of asthma, lol. the pain managed to make me cry a few times because its that painful/uncomfortable. you're not on your own with it.

    Haha I'm not textbook either!! Yeah I'm finding the pain hard to cope with too, I'm glad I've found someone who has experienced it too!

    other than the infections you've had, have you come across anything which may have triggered it? asthma constantly changes (so my cons says), it could be a simple case of your asthma changing how it presents itself.

    I have no idea what my triggers are really, viruses, exercise and cut grass are definate ones, so I guess it's just the virus I had about two weeks ago? Oh definately my asthma symptoms have changed over time and most attacks differ to the last in some way. Usually the chest tightness I get is a flat squeeze across the front of my chest, now it is a gripping squeeze as though someone has hold of each lung, and now this additional pain has started. I don't wheeze but now I am breathing noisily (don't know how I can describe it!) I put it down to being more aware of my symptoms, I didn't realise it was a known fact that it evolves in how it presents.

    Well I shall see what the GP reckons tomorrow, I am going to prepare my bullet points now!

  • Quick update: Saw the GP this morning, and have been put on pred again :-( and if I have another dip in symptoms/PF after finishing this prescription I'm going to have to look at stepping up medication again to include a LABA. He wanted to do it straight away but I was reluctant as when I've had them in the past I get terrible leg cramps.

    I mentioned the pain in my chest, he said there was a lot of restrictions in that area (??) and the pain is just down to the asthma. He was a little shocked to see my peak flow of only 300 after being impressed that my best is 570!

  • how long were you taking the LABA?

    I personally don't have any experience with it myself with cramps, but when I was first put on long acting medication, I found that it made me jittery for about a week afterwards then settled down. I hope the pred helps you.

  • how long were you taking the LABA?

    .

    I can't remember, but think I was on seretide for a year so long enough for side effects to have worn off if they were going to ;-(

  • Glad to hear the GP appointment went well.

    LABA is my life saver - I can almost always feel it wear off - lungs start feeling a bit irritated and breathing is more work just before I'm ready for the next dose or if a dose gets delayed.

    There is more than one kind of LABA and also many different manufacturers. Rather than give up on the idea of LABA, perhaps it might be worth experimenting with different LABAs or brands of LABAs? Sometimes the side effects actually come from the extra stuff used to help deliver the drug and not the drug itself.

    A looong time ago (20 years!) when my doctor first wanted to give me an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), he had me try something called Flobid. It was AWFUL - made me retch. But when we tried Azmacort, another ICS, it was fine. So sometimes it pays to try different drugs too.

  • Glad to hear the GP appointment went well.

    LABA is my life saver - I can almost always feel it wear off - lungs start feeling a bit irritated and breathing is more work just before I'm ready for the next dose or if a dose gets delayed.

    There is more than one kind of LABA and also many different manufacturers. Rather than give up on the idea of LABA, perhaps it might be worth experimenting with different LABAs or brands of LABAs? Sometimes the side effects actually come from the extra stuff used to help deliver the drug and not the drug itself.

    .

    Yes when I was on seretide, I knew when it was time for my next dose, it was very good at controlling my asthma!

    I have been around the houses with different inhalers/brands etc!

    So far I've tried

    seretide - good asthma control, cramps & reflux

    symbicort - OK asthma control, cramps & reflux, don't like turbohalers!

    Fostair - bad asthma control, no cramps still had reflux

    So tried

    Flixotide - (I believe steroid component of seretide) good asthma control

    With

    Oxis - (I believe laba component of fostair) no cramps, still had reflux and don't like turbohalers!

    So last year when control was good I dropped the oxis and the reflux stopped too.

    So I could add in oxis again, get over the fact I don't like turbohalers but would have to start taking domperidone again for the reflux issue, unless there are other combinations or individual laba's I could try ..... I'm willing to give anything a go! Argh!

    EDIT: to swap first flixotide to symbicort

  • So I could add in oxis again, get over the fact I don't like turbohalers but would have to start taking domperidone again for the reflux issue, unless there are other combinations or individual laba's I could try ..... I'm willing to give anything a go! Argh!

    It is really frustrating when one needs to make a trade between solving the asthma and adding new problems. I don't like the whole trade-off game either. Sometimes it needs to be done.

    Assuming the LABA also helps you, I suppose the question to ask is: which is the better/worse net end result for you?

    * improved breathing + cramps + turbohaler

    * improved breathing + extra meds to prevent reflux + turbohaler

    * do nothing and hope things improve on their own - may take a while and not happen at all

    * other options?

    I don't think there is a right answer here. There is only the answer with which you are most willing to live.

  • Thank you for your reply Beth.

    Assuming the LABA also helps you, I suppose the question to ask is: which is the better/worse net end result for you?

    * improved breathing + cramps + turbohaler

    * improved breathing + extra meds to prevent reflux + turbohaler

    * do nothing and hope things improve on their own - may take a while and not happen at all

    * other options?

    I don't think there is a right answer here. There is only the answer with which you are most willing to live.

    I wish things were more simple, but i guess in answer to the question

    * do nothing and hope things improve on their own - may take a while and not happen at all

    I am upset and scared with the way my attacks are at the minute, and I have two young kids so I can't do nothing and risk a really bad attack

    * other options?

    I don't know what other options there are, and the GP was keen to get me on an LABA, plus I've already had 3 courses of pred in 2 months, I don't want to manage this way

    * improved breathing + cramps + turbohaler

    The cramps were uncomfortable but maybe I could take something to lessen them?

    * improved breathing + extra meds to prevent reflux + turbohaler

    What's one extra set of tablets in the scheme of things, better than continual courses of pred

    So I will see how my control is after this course of pred, and see the GP to work out the best LABA to go with :-) thank you for putting things into perspective for me

  • Thank you for your reply Beth.... I wish things were more simple, but i guess in answer to the question ... I am upset and scared with the way my attacks are at the minute, and I have two young kids so I can't do nothing and risk a really bad attack...I don't know what other options there are, and the GP was keen to get me on an LABA, plus I've already had 3 courses of pred in 2 months, I don't want to manage this way...what's one extra set of tablets in the scheme of things, better than continual courses of pred

    Glad if it helped. I don't think there are simple answers - only answers you can live with given your priorities.

    I wish things were better for you. I know it just isn't a good feeling when health problems are serious enough that action has to be taken and yet there are no perfect solutions.

  • I wish things were better for you. I know it just isn't a good feeling when health problems are serious enough that action has to be taken and yet there are no perfect solutions.

    Yes I guess I just need to face up to it! I'm glad I have the support and advice of everyone on here, people who know what I'm going through emotionally and physically. Xxx

  • I have no experience of it personally, but isn't there a new combo one out called Flutiform? Which if I am right is the steroid part of Seretide plus the LABA part of Symbicort/Fostair (formoterol)? I guess if you had reflux on Fostair you might still get it, but the control would be improved over Flixotide/Fostair as I *think* (am prepared to be told this is wrong) that fluticasone is stronger than beclomethasone as a steroid. It sounds like fluticasone does good things for your asthma anyway since the ones with that in you say work well, so worth hanging on to perhaps.

    Or there's Symbicort (seems to work fairly well for me and I don't get cramps - just twitches which don't really bother me), but you don't like turbohalers - guess maybe it's weighing up the pros and cons? It does sound like you need something more tbh, though you could discuss it with GP and see if anything else might work - something like montelukast, perhaps? Or might the helpline have any suggestions, since they have more time to chat through the options than your GP probably does and you won't need to feel like you have to cram it all into the appt?

    btw re chest pain - I do get that when asthma is playing up, as it is now - a few twinges/aches in various places which got much better/went when lungs were better. I have actually had the 'top of right lung' pain similar to what you describe recently, but since I've had a niggling shoulder injury on that side I thought it was probably just related to that and was muscular and hadn't associated it at all with grumpy lungs till I got the other ones (none bad, just a bit annoying).

    Do you get tight/achy shoulders with grumpy lungs? Apparently mine are tight anyway but I can't say I ever notice this personally except occasionally when either I'm really stressed or lungs are acting up and I try to sing - curious to see if it's just me.

    Whatever it is, I hope you get things more sorted with the asthma and that the pain goes away as it doesn't sound nice!

  • Thank you for taking the time to reply Philomela

    I have no experience of it personally, but isn't there a new combo one out called Flutiform?

    I hadn't heard of this but had a quick look on the internet, that might be something I could try, the inhaler looks a cool silver colour too!! (we have to find something exciting about it!), and I definately think it makes sense to stick with the same ICS.

    Or there's Symbicort (seems to work fairly well for me and I don't get cramps - just twitches which don't really bother me), but you don't like turbohalers - guess maybe it's weighing up the pros and cons?

    I tried symbicort (just realised I made an error in the list of things I've tried, the first flixotide should be symbicort!! So I've tried this and get the cramps and reflux. If I need to go with a turbohaler I will, just personal preference, but given the side effects I'd rather just stick with the seretide if it's a choice between the two.

    It does sound like you need something more tbh, though you could discuss it with GP and see if anything else might work - something like montelukast, perhaps? Or might the helpline have any suggestions, since they have more time to chat through the options than your GP probably does and you won't need to feel like you have to cram it all into the appt?

    I am on montelukast already :-)

    I will be calling the AUK line, they are brilliant, I think I need a good chat about things, I'm finding it hard to cope with my symptoms getting worse, I'm finding it scary and I feel out of control!

    btw re chest pain - I do get that when asthma is playing up, as it is now - a few twinges/aches in various places which got much better/went when lungs were better. I have actually had the 'top of right lung' pain similar to what you describe recently, but since I've had a niggling shoulder injury on that side I thought it was probably just related to that and was muscular and hadn't associated it at all with grumpy lungs till I got the other ones (none bad, just a bit annoying).

    Do you get tight/achy shoulders with grumpy lungs? Apparently mine are tight anyway but I can't say I ever notice this personally except occasionally when either I'm really stressed or lungs are acting up and I try to sing - curious to see if it's just me.

    Yes you try to pass it off as being unrelated don't you, and I can imagine with a shoulder problem, it would make sense to blame that. The pain does go as my lungs have calmed down so it is definately the asthma, the pain is now getting so intense, that coupled with not being able to breathe is not a good combinatiion! I do also get the tight shoulders, and was only thinking I ought to book in for a massage before they become too uncomfortable too, I guess it's because you tense up when trying to breathe an also use muscles, you're not used to using. I find a wheat cushion/hot water bottle soothes my shoulders.

  • You're welcome! Sorry about the 'almost-duplicate' - I was editing and I guess it posted the first one meanwhile.

    :( re pain - hope it goes soon. I hope the AUK line can help; I hadn't realised you were already on montelukast as I always thought they added that in after a LABA. But then I was on it before even being on an ICS due to being weird so not sure really why I thought it would be so rigid.

    It is scary when things start to ramp up. I'm finding this with my latest exacerbation. I know it's partly my fault for ignoring things and letting them get out of hand, but then I didn't think it would have this result! I am pretty rubbish at sofa-surfing but even being told that I have to rest and stay at home for asthma which has no infection or anything attached, and being on all this stuff and still having issues is scary even though I know it could be worse. Sorry to ramble on about myself there but just saying I know what you mean.

    Has your GP thought about a referral? Scary thought perhaps but it may be getting to that point and this latest has made me realise that waiting for a bad attack is defo not good - especially since you have kids - so it sounds like your proactive approach is a good one.

    Massage sounds a good idea - overusing muscles seems about right, as I definitely noticed it more after singing where I was really pushing the muscles to get the sound out - it's just more work.

    Crossing fingers things improve v soon.

  • It is scary when things start to ramp up. I'm finding this with my latest exacerbation. I know it's partly my fault for ignoring things and letting them get out of hand, but then I didn't think it would have this result! I am pretty rubbish at sofa-surfing but even being told that I have to rest and stay at home for asthma which has no infection or anything attached, and being on all this stuff and still having issues is scary even though I know it could be worse. Sorry to ramble on about myself there but just saying I know what you mean.

    No worries, I like to hear other peoples experiences, and can relate to it. I think this is the hardest thing for me, getting used to feeling so scared and out of control given that before xmas I had no symptoms and had stepped down my medication. I also can't to the sofa surfing, I feel as though I should still be getting on with things and not letting people down (which I know is ridiculous but I can't help it!!

    Has your GP thought about a referral? Scary thought perhaps but it may be getting to that point and this latest has made me realise that waiting for a bad attack is defo not good - especially since you have kids - so it sounds like your proactive approach is a good one.

    The GP hasn't suggested referral, and silly I know, the thought of it scares me. I would be worried that they would tell me its not asthma and would take my medication off me. I know they wouldn't just do that, and if it wasn't asthma, they would try to work out what it is and how to treat it. My problem is that on paper I have good spirometry results/peak flow etc and in theory have no asthma indicators EXCEPT that my symptoms improve with medication. Also I haven't had spirometry done since 3 years ago when I was diagnosed, things have gone downhill greatly since then. I know you have a similar issue, so I'm sure you've had similar concerns!

    Crossing fingers things improve v soon.

    Thank you, i really appreciate you taking the time to help. I hope your health improves too and we can get out of our respective 'sticky patches'! xxx

  • I think this is the hardest thing for me, getting used to feeling so scared and out of control given that before xmas I had no symptoms and had stepped down my medication. I also can't to the sofa surfing, I feel as though I should still be getting on with things and not letting people down (which I know is ridiculous but I can't help it!!

    Yep, same here. I've not been like this for ages, and also feel that I should just be getting on with work - harder I think because I work at home, so I have no reason not to just sit down at my desk other than the fact it really doesn't seem to help. I imagine that with two small children, you must find it REALLY hard to rest properly as you must be thinking you have to look after them; I hope you have someone to help out.

    The GP hasn't suggested referral, and silly I know, the thought of it scares me. I would be worried that they would tell me its not asthma and would take my medication off me. I know they wouldn't just do that, and if it wasn't asthma, they would try to work out what it is and how to treat it. My problem is that on paper I have good spirometry results/peak flow etc and in theory have no asthma indicators EXCEPT that my symptoms improve with medication. Also I haven't had spirometry done since 3 years ago when I was diagnosed, things have gone downhill greatly since then. I know you have a similar issue, so I'm sure you've had similar concerns!

    Oh yes, definitely! Though I've never actually had much of a choice or waited for long; I was always referred fairly quickly when the GP couldn't manage things, which I think is partly having good GPs who are willing to admit when they don't know something, and partly uncertainty over the diagnosis - seems like if they really aren't sure what's going on, they are maybe more eager to refer than if they think it's hard to control asthma, but that may just be my very biased view. But I think it would be worth you considering even though I can understand your worry as I have still been scared about that even when I don't need to be (my RBH physio picked up on that and reassured me). In my case I had nothing to lose, and it wasn't fun being told it was in my head, but I did also get results and a more expert view.

    Thank you, i really appreciate you taking the time to help. I hope your health improves too and we can get out of our respective 'sticky patches'! xxx

    Thanks! You're very welcome - yes, it would be nice to get back to normal, or at least 'taking medication and then forgetting all about it'. I'm sure you feel, like me and probably many others, that you just don't have time for all this...

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