16 Causes of Lungs Hurt Symptoms

Lungs Hurt Symptoms

Lungs Hurt Symptoms

Lungs hurt probably due to strained intercostal muscles, although it could also be something more serious. Technically, lungs can’t really “hurt”. That’s because the lungs don’t contain any pain receptors.


Why Do Your Lungs Hurt?

There are several mechanisms that cause pain to occur in the lung cavity. Some of them include:

  • Inflammation- this might be as a result of an infection or something else that can cause the lungs or the region around them to be sore.
  • Irritation- when the lining of the lungs is irritated – for example, in the cause of pleurisy.
  • Pressure- this can be caused by a benign or cancerous tumor in the chest cavity or lungs, or as a result of pressure from inflammation around a nerve or a tumor.
  • Chest wall pain- this can be caused by straining of the chest cavity muscles due to injuries, coughing or pain related to a shingles infection (your lungs hurt before you get rashes)


16 What Causes Lungs Hurt?


Pleurisy happens when the membrane, or pleura, that lines the inner side of your chest cavity and surrounding lung tissue becomes inflamed. This is commonly a result of a lung or respiratory infection.

Symptoms include sharp chest pain. chest pain when breathing in, coughing, or sneezing often worse because of pleurisy.


A number of lung infections can cause chest pain and also lung infection back pain may occur if infection spreading.

Common infections include:

  • tuberculosis
  • viral or bacterial pneumonia
  • pulmonary actinomycosis
  • fungal infections, such as histoplasmosis and blastomycosis

Symptoms vary among infections, but common symptoms are:

  • shortness of breath
  • excess phlegm and mucus
  • cough with or without blood
  • fever
  • chills or night sweats

Pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in your lungs. This can be life-threatening.

A pulmonary embolism can damage part of the lung because it restricts blood flow and lowers the blood oxygen level. The most common symptom is lung pain in back and shortness of breath.

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It can also cause:

  • rapid heart rate
  • rapid breathing
  • coughing up blood
  • fainting
  • low blood pressure


Chronic bronchitis is infections located in the lining of your bronchial tubes. These tubes bring air to your lungs, and when inflamed cause irritation.


Asthma is a chronic and long-term lung disease that causes irritable, narrow, and inflamed airways. During an asthma attack, your chest will feel tight, causing pain.

Asthma symptoms also include:

  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • coughing


Hyperventilation can happen during anxiety or panic attacks. It can also be a response to certain conditions in your body. This condition can affect the natural balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen inside the body.

When this occurs, you upset the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide causing:

  • dizziness
  • numbness and tingling
  • headache
  • difficulty with concentration and focus

Pleural effusion

Pleural effusion, or fluid in the chest cavity, happens when fluid builds up between your lungs and your chest wall.

This is typically a complication from other serious problems in the body, so it’s important to find out the cause. A pleural effusion can occur as a result of heart failure, a lung infection, cancer, or an acute medical condition like pancreatitis.

In addition to chest pain, this can cause:

  • difficulty breathing
  • coughing
  • fever
  • low oxygen levels

Pulmonary hypertension

With chest pain resembling that of angina, this abnormally high blood pressure in the lung arteries makes the right side of the heart work too hard.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer does not usually cause symptoms at first. As lung cancer spreads, a person may notice symptoms such as a chronic cough, shortness of breath, and feeling tired or weak with no known reason.Signs of lung cancer

Lung cancer signs can include:

  • long-term changes to the sound and tone of a person’s voice, such as hoarseness
  • chronic infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia that will not go away
  • a cough that does not get better over time
  • coughing up rust-colored or blood-tinged mucus
  • unexplained feelings of fatigue and weakness
  • wheezing with no known underlying cause
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Lung collapse

Pneumothorax, or a collapsed lung, happens when air enters the area between your chest wall and your lung.

A partial or total collapsed lung can happen because of:

  • a ventilator
  • chest or abdominal surgery
  • chest injury
  • lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • lung cancer

If lung collapse occurs, you may experience:

  • persistent chest pain
  • respiratory failure
  • cardiac arrest
  • shock


Pneumonia is a condition where a person experiences a severe respiratory infection that can affect one or both lungs. If pneumonia affects the left lung, a person may experience pain in the left lung.

Heavy Smoking

If you are a smoker and you feel some aching lungs, this might be caused by your smoking habits. If you have increased smoking, then you might have caused inflammation to occur in your airways. A major symptom is pain when you take a deep breath.

Heart disease

Sometimes pain from a heart attack and other heart conditions can be felt as lung pain.

Acid reflux (GERD)

Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is an under-recognized cause of pain which is felt in the region of the lungs.


Costochondritis is a condition involving inflammation in the region where the ribs join the sternum (the breastbone).

Esophageal spasm

Spasms in the esophagus can cause chest pain, which may be felt as occurring in the lungs.


When your Lungs Pain become Dangerous?

Get emergency service immediately if you’re experiencing pain while breathing, along with any of the following symptoms:

  • loss of consciousness
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • nasal flaring
  • air hunger, or feeling as though you’re unable to get enough air
  • gasping for breath
  • choking
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • excessive sweating
  • pallor, or pale skin
  • blue discoloration of skin, lips, fingers, or toes (cyanosis)
  • dizziness
  • coughing up blood
  • fever


Diagnosing Lungs Pain

Physical exam to diagnose the cause of your pain:

  • observe your breathing
  • assess your airflow
  • check for signs of other problems, such as blue nail beds or yellow skin
  • listen to your heart sounds and breath sounds
  • check your oxygen level
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Advanced diagnosis, include:

  1. Imaging tests
    • Chest X-ray
    • CT scan
    • Electrocardiogram (ECG) to evaluate for a heart attack
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  1. Blood tests
  2. bronchoscopy
  3. echocardiogram


Can You Treat Lungs Pain?

Lungs Pain Treatment

Lungs Pain Treatment

The treatment of painful breathing depends on the cause. While you can treat bacterial pneumonia with antibiotics, other conditions may require anticoagulation medication or even surgery.

  • taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • sufficient Rest
  • take antibiotics to treat respiratory-related infections caused by bacteria



  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough; throw out tissues and wash your hands right away.
  • Keep yourself healthy by getting plenty of rest, making healthy food choices, and being active.
  • Quit smoking.
  • reducing your exposure to:
    • cigarette smoke
    • environmental pollution
    • workplace toxins
    • fumes

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