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Adam asked...

Sharp pain in chest

I am currently getting a sharp pain in the right hand side of my chest when I breathe or cough and was wondering what it might be?

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The answer

There are many causes of chest pain and not all of these are heart related or, indeed, life-threatening. However, with no information regarding your age, any relevant medical history or list of regular medication, I would strongly urge you to consult your GP at the earliest opportunity for suitable investigation and formal diagnosis or your symptoms. 

The pain you are experiencing may well be related to a strained muscle in the wall of your chest or possibly a condition known as Costocondritis which is an inflammatory condition involving the joints between the cartilage that joins the ribs to the breastbone (sternum). Either of these conditions can cause considerable pain on breathing and coughing but symptoms usually settle in time with rest and regular pain relief. More serious lung conditions such as pleurisy and pneumonia may also be considered, although are often associated with other symptoms such as a raised temperature. 

These conditions may require antibiotic treatment. Pulmonary embolism also manifests with the symptoms you describe but may also be associated with coughing up blood, feeling faint, dizzy or even passing out, none of which you describe. I do hope this helps you but would like to reiterate my encouragement for you to see your GP at the earliest opportunity.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses

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