Q:

Why does my chest hurt when I sneeze?

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Quick Answer

Chest pain upon sneezing is a telltale sign of pleurisy, a condition that causes the membranes of the chest lining to become inflamed, according to Mayo Clinic. Pleurisy may be a symptom of underlying conditions of the chest or heart, so it is important for sufferers to seek immediate medical attention.

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Why does my chest hurt when I sneeze?
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Full Answer

Conditions that can trigger pleurisy include pulmonary embolisms, lupus, cancer and viral infections, according to WebMD. A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of a blood vessel in the lung, which is typically caused by a blood clot. Additional symptoms of pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath and chest mucus that is pink and frothy.

Other causes of pleurisy include fractured ribs, chest wall trauma, pancreatic inflammation and parasitic infections, according to Healthline. In addition to chest pain, sufferers may experience headaches, shoulder pain and shallow breathing.

To treat pleurisy, the doctor must first address the underlying medical condition, notes Healthline. Diagnostic tests to determine the underlying causes of the condition include chest X-rays, computed tomography scans that help to detect lung tissue abnormalities, and biopsies to remove potentially cancerous growths in the lungs. Treatments for the condition are based on the underlying cause and can include antibiotics, codeine-based cough medications, lung fluid drainage and anti-inflammatory medications.

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