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dull pain in chest

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Hi there,

I've seen a lot of similarly panicked posts and I'm really hoping that I'm just another one but I'm interested in if anyone has any advice on the following.

I'm a 32 yr old male, smoking a pack a day since 19yrs old in addition to daily cannabis smoking (though have been using a vaporizer). While I'm sure many do not agree with either of those habits, I'm hoping I could just get some objective feedback from someone.

For about a year on and off I have experienced a dull to sharp pain in my right chest -- sometimes where the ribs meet my sternum is sore, sometimes feels like an air pocket or burp locked in middle of my chest, sometimes seems to radiate from middle chest to back area between shoulder blade and spine, sometime is knife like sharp but mostly dull. Sometime I reach under my lower rib and "grab inside" my cage and it seems to hit the sensation - other times i poke in between my upper ribs and it seems to resonate to my back and relieve pressure. I freaked when i saw one symptom of lung cancer is frequent chest and should blade pain -- I wonder if this is close to it?

Now, I do have lots of daily pains due to poor sleeping, infrequent exercise etc. I lost my job so no health insurance and I am trying to get a chest xray from the free clinic. That said, I'm getting the runaround and so the mental fear and paranoia are mounting.

My question is basically if anyone can suggest whether this could be anything but something awful like lung cancer. I know I run the risk until I stop for good but I'm starting to feel like there is no way this isn't something lung cancer related. Checking symptoms online doesn't help.

The nurse checked my breathing and said I sound fine except for a bit a of smoker's lung but that she doesn't think it is likely that I have anything serious. I am going to the xray as soon as i get paid at the end of the week but if i'm making a big deal out of something that most likely sounds like nothing I need to hear it. I just keep thinking that people have been smoking for twice as long and don't have anything but i know that is false comfort.

if it makes a difference -- i rarely get this after smoking and generally do not feel the pain when inhaling -- after exhaling sometimes it will creep up but if i take a deep breath and hold it i don't seem to experience any discomfort

any thoughts? will a chest xray even prove one way or the other what this could be? please help thank you
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replied April 17th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Hi and welcome to ehealthforum!
Is the pain from the chest wall made worse when the rib cage is squashed, like at night when lying on affected area, wearing a seat belt or when being hugged?
Was this pain preceded by exercise, minor trauma, or an upper respiratory infection (accompanied with hard coughing)?
Is this pain usually sharp and located on your front chest wall, sometimes radiating to your back or abdomen?
Do you feel tenderness when you press on rib joints (where ribs meet your sternum)?
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replied April 21st, 2008
I couldn't say that the pain has ever gotten worse or that it is worse in certain situation like a hug or crunched up -- that said, doesn't everyone get a little lung pinch/chest pain when you curl your body in a tight ball? i don't know but definitely don't have noticeable discomfort from seatbelt or similar.

i'm getting a chest xray hopefully today otherwise will have to wait until i can afford insurance and get a doctor a go through that struggle to convince one that the discomfort is real.

never had bronchitis, pneumonia, or any really serious respiratory illness before or during my 13 yrs of smoking (i quit 12 days ago so it's nothing but i figure i have to stay positive). no cough either. only possible stretch is that i was doing push-ups/sit ups while traveling right before this became noticeable i think so it is possible. the pain is more like soreness than sharp but it does "radiate" i suppose and it doesn't happen every day -- currently, i've noticed it for the past week but have gone a few weeks without feeling it as well

however, how do i explain this a.m. -- i have knot like (what i used to think was common back pains) soreness in my right upper back between spine and shoulder blade - this and a little soreness where my right ribs hit the center of my sternum and little soreness right edge of my pectoral muscle. i guess the stress is probably doing the most damage but there doesn't seem to be an innocent explanation for any of this and some people knowing that i smoke are convinced it can't be a good thing.
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replied April 30th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Have you tried to press on the rib joints to see if that reproduces tenderness?
Have you been examined with X-ray already?

If you feel the tenderness by pressing the spots where ribs meet breastbone (especially 4th, 5th and 6th rib) along with the chest pain, you can be very suggestive for costochondritis (an inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join with the cartilage that holds them to the breastbone or sternum).

Have a good, healthy day!
Marija
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replied July 5th, 2008
Hi there,

I almost exactly match your profile and have been experiencing similar symptoms. Please let me know if you find out anything further
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