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Do I have a pulled chest muscle?

About a week ago, I felt a small ache on my left side of my chest, down near the bottom of my ribcage. I had been coughing a lot from a cold the previous week, and now that ache has blown up into a pretty painful area. I am not having any trouble breathing, I can take a deep breath, it just makes that area hurt when I do. However, when I bend over or double over, I can cough or take a deep breath with a LOT less discomfort, or if I pull the skin away from my ribcage. I am able to sleep normally, and when I wake up, it feels a lot stiffer on that left side, and it hurts when I attempt to lift myself up, then when I am up it feels better.

The reason I ask here is because for one, I have no health insurance and would like to avoid a trip to the emergency room if at all possible, if I have to go in, I will of course, screw the money. Also, about 20 years ago my father had an attack of Pleurisy, and I want to make sure it's not a lung issue. Thanks!

4 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes it could be a pulled chest muscle but not likely since coughing doesn't use the chest muscle. Much more likely is that you have strained the intercostal muscles (the muscles between your ribs). You may have also sprained or dislocated or even fractured a rib. If you have have pain in your chest and/or mid back, it is very likely that a rib is involved. Here is what you should do: when you need to cough or sneeze, use a pillow if available and hug it against your left side. If no pillow is available, just use your left arm. Avoid rotation or sideways bending through the trunk. Also avoid overhead movements of your left arm for now. The advice the last person gave about heat and ice is good for pain. It is very important that you take at 3-4 deep breaths every hour, and when you sleep, try to be on your right side, hugging and large pillow with your left. These two things will keep fluid from collecting in the lungs at developing into pneumonia. You should feel better after about 4 weeks, or longer if you are coughing lots. If the pain does not subside, it would be worth seeing your chiropractor or physiotherapist. Treatment for rotated ribs is quick and should not cost too much.

    Source(s): I am a practising physiotherapist.
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  • Susan
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I get this each time I have a cough. I do not cough in a lady like way I cough from my stomach, chest and back, and always get strained muscles. I do use a hot water bottle which helps sometimes, also an inflammatory cream like Voltarol. You will just have to wait it out I'm afraid. Hope you feel better soon.

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  • 1 decade ago

    absolutely you can pull muscles when coughing very hard..i've done it myself and you can reinjure yourself numerous times coughing over and over again. If you can take a motirn if your not alergic to any medicine or ibuprophin that will help tha pain. you can alternate heat and cold every ten minutes. but it takes a while to heal because your still coughing and pulling it everytime you cough..i know the feeling you cough and try to hold it in. hope you feel better..and soory you have know ins i know it sucks...

    Source(s): experience
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  • 5 years ago

    You could have pneumothorax! Get that **** checked out!

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