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Old 10-05-2006, 10:09 AM   #1
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Exclamation Chronic cough/Wheezing/Shoulder pain-Anyone w/Similar problem?

I want to know if anyone has experienced similar lung problems, and what their diagnosis was. Right now I have a chronic non-productive cough w/some wheezing. Almost constant shoulder pain(like someone's squeezing my shoulders) when I breathe in that extends into my upper arms. Also frequent chest & back pain when breathing in.

History: I have been having lung problems for about 5 years. It started with bronchitis for about 3-4 months out of the year, and has progressed to a chronic cough and wheezing. Last year (December Ď05) it started to get a lot worse after I got sick, and I felt like I could hardly breathe. I feel most of the wheezing in my left lung, but my doctor said that itís impossible for my asthma to be one sided. My doctor gave me advair and antibiotics, and said I had asthma that was aggravated by being sick. My breathing got better for about a month, and then it seemed like the inhalers really werenít working anymore.

In April of this year it got bad again, and I was coughing, wheezing, and felt like I couldnít breathe. One time I was driving, and I got this dull penetrating pain through my left chest that took my breath away, and had to pull over (on a pain scale of 1-10, it was a 10). It only lasted a few minutes thank god, but I wouldíve went to the hospital if it lasted any longer. I donít think that it was pleurisy, because I had that before and it didnít feel like that. I went to my doctor after a few weeks of this, and he gave me antibiotics and then prednisone, and I felt better for a month. I even stopped taking my inhalers (which werenít working that great in the first place, but still keep trying anyway). Sometimes my lungs even hurt when I take the inhalers, and the prednisone seems to be the only thing that really helps.

After a good month, it was back to the inhalers. In late July, I got sick again and this time it was worse. I was coughing hard constantly and had a hard time breathing again. I wasnít coughing anything up at all; it was like it was all glued to my lungs. My doctor sent me to an asthma specialist, and they gave me a breathing treatment which didnít seem to help at all. They also put me on prednisone for a week, which helped quite a bit, but a week later I was back in their office because I was still having problems breathing. They did a x-ray which showed infiltrates all over my lungs, and they said I had a lung infection, and put me on a antibiotic called Avelox. They said I didnít need the prednisone anymore because my breathing was at 92%? I did a few breathing tests which I don't know the results of, but I don't think they were too bad. I was wheezing really bad at the time I did them. Could I be having this many problems with lung pain and breathing, and still have normal lung function?

Two days later I was still having problems, and my shoulders, back, and chest were hurting every time I took a breath. I went to my primary doctor and he looked at my x-rays, saw the infiltrates and also a spot on my lung that wasnít there 2 years ago(compared w/last x-ray) and said it could be a spot of pneumonia. He put me back on prednisone for 2 weeks. I still have a cough, but it is much better. I am still having occasional chest pain which hurts worse when breathing in. Last night I had a bad one that went from my left chest through to my back (it almost felt like I was having a heart attack, but know itís probably my lungs). This lasted longer than usual, about 30 minutes, and I was thinking about going to the hospital when it finally went away. Two days ago I also got this pain in my left chest that felt like a really bad cramp, and could not stand up straight or it would hurt really bad. This went away after an hour. I am also getting pains that feel like they start from both breasts and go through to my back


I am scheduled to see a pulmonologist next week, and I am a little scared about it. I am 37, and have smoked about 1 Ĺ packs a day for about 19 years. I have a hard time with quitting because I have depression, anxiety, etc., and every time I try to quit my depression gets worse, and I canít do anything. I have tried probably 20 different anti-depressants including Wellbutrin, and none of them work, and have bad reactions to anti-anxiety medication.

I just want to know if anyone has had any similar lung problems, and what their diagnosis was. I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia 3 years ago, but am now wondering if some of my problems are lung related (fatigue, weakness, burning in arms & legs sometimes w/vein enlargement, and memory problems). I appreciate any information or feedback. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Anne

 
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:28 PM   #2
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Re: Chronic cough/Wheezing/Shoulder pain-Anyone w/Similar problem?

amiddle104- I have the same symptoms you do and I myself am fairly young only 26 years old. I have had a productive cough that is severe. It causes pain in my shoulders, neck, chest and back. I too know that it aint my asthma because I take advair, albuterol, singulair, prednisone and do nebulizer treatments. However I am now pretty certain what mine is after seeing the pulmonary specialist the other day. Mine is Chronic Sinusistis and I was wondering if u ever had sinus infections because if u do u can have chronic sinusistis which causes severe post nasal drip it will get down into your lungs cause infections and chronic coughs. It sometimes looks like pulmonary problems but it really is allergy related. If you have allergies I would look into this.

 
Old 10-05-2006, 07:32 PM   #3
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Re: Chronic cough/Wheezing/Shoulder pain-Anyone w/Similar problem?

.Sorry, Anne, to hear of your lung problems. Towards the end of your post, you mentioned you had fibromyalgia. That can definitely affect the lungs and your breathing. I"m not really sure how it affects them, but if you go to the fibro section of this healthboard, you will read about it. I have asthma also, and know it can be very frustrating especially when you get sick with a cold or bronchitis. I wouldn't worry too much. The spot on the xray can be infection from bronchitis.
Cindy

 
Old 10-06-2006, 07:02 AM   #4
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Re: Chronic cough/Wheezing/Shoulder pain-Anyone w/Similar problem?

The fact that you have a spot on your lung that wasn't there two years ago is certainly concerning. The fact that you still smoke doesn't help either. You really need to quit.

Please go into your search engine and type in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and see if these signs and symptoms match yours. Your Pulmonary doctor will probably put you back on some breathing meds. It's really important to follow what he orders for you, even if you don't think it's helping.
Hope you feel better soon.

 
Old 10-09-2006, 05:03 AM   #5
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Re: Chronic cough/Wheezing/Shoulder pain-Anyone w/Similar problem?

Anne,

You have every symptom of acid reflux disease. Not just the familiar heartburn (GERD), but also the lesser known form called "Laryngopharyngeal Reflux" (LPR). You're a smoker, which puts you at extra risk for both conditions.

Non-productive chronic cough? That's a hallmark sign of LPR. The acid is traveling all the way up your esophogous and splashing your larynx. The acid has a pH of 2 and is known as hydrochloric acid. That's some really strong, extra irritating acid meant for digesting raw meat. Your larynx doesn't have a chance and you will cough until you cough yourself literally crazy or until you start Proton Pump Inhibitor Treatment.

The burning feeling in the breasts and chest pain? That's the heartburn - typically associated with lower-esophogeal spinchter dysfunction from the GERD (gastro-esophogeal reflux disease). When the acid gets midway into the esophogous, you have GERD and experience heartburn as a symptom. When the acid goes all the way up the esophogous and onto the larynx, you've got LPR. So you, lucky Anne, have both..

The burning and pain in your shoulders? Also a symptom of GERD. Very common. Your doctor should really have known better.

Treatment: Treatment requires Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). People with Just heartburn get 1 pill a day, people with LPR get 2 pills a day. So you need to take the 2 doses a day. Which PPIs? They're all by prescription, and here's my recommendation for the order that you should try based on my experience and the experience of others over the last 2 years at the acid reflux message board:

1. Nexium
2. Aciphex
3. Prevacid
4. Zegerid
5. Prilosec BRAND (by prescription only), not the Prilosec OTC

Threre is also Protonix, sold by prescription, but it doesn't help LPR. There is also Prilosec OTC but this really doesn't help LPR.

Just do your own research on "laryngopharyngeal reflux" and see for yourself how the symptoms match up.

 
Old 10-11-2006, 03:32 PM   #6
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Re: Chronic cough/Wheezing/Shoulder pain-Anyone w/Similar problem?

Hi Anne, and all!

I am a 42 yo guy, asthma as a child, went away with puberty, came back in '88 with a vengance when the US Army sent me to Planet Ord, CA. 50 Deg. and foggy at dawn when you are out running around is not good for anyone, and many people who'd never had asthma before developed it there also. I have had several bacterial infections in my lungs, the first five years ago, requiring a 5 day hospital stay and IV Rocephin as well as other antibiotics and antivirals. The recurring episodes have been treated with prednisone and/ or IV Rocephin. As a result of the first hospital stay, I have scarring on the left major bronchi, which results in my left lung vritually "shutting down" , it feels like no air is getting through, though I blow reasonable PFV's (250's -300's. My normal is 375-400, should be more!) The only way I can feel air go in and out of the left lung when this happens is to tip my head way up and to the right, as if looking at something straight up over my left side. The doctors at my hospital look at my like I'm crazy when I say this, and they say when they listen or look at X-rays, "you're breathing just fine", even though it feels like I'm having an asthma attack when I'm not. I do have chronic sinusitus, and yes, I know this is one of if not the major cause of the crap running down into my lungs. It just seems like it 'shuts off' the left one. Also having periodontal issues is definitely a contributing factor. I have lost several teeth and have recurring infections in the sockets. I also have virtually non-exsisent Dental coverage, (not to mention HATING going to the denitst; I almost lost rank and pay in the Army for failing to show up to my exit exam three times; the threat of counting me AWOL finally got me there.) After reading the laryngopharingeal reflux topic with my wife last night, I recognize that I probably have that going on too, though not to her scale. (She is having a gas meter stuck up her nose next week...! )
The hospital in our town seems to only treat symptoms, and never examine the underlying causes; The PA even told me once when I was in for a sinus iinfection and told him (again) about my left lung, "Well we just do triage here, get you your meds and get you going again.) [Sound like some Company Doctor for some sweatshop factory or mine in the 30's!!!] There is one doctor there that actually will listen to me, but she is the busiest one there, her waiting list is never less than a month, and she rarely does ON-Call anymore. But even she has tried to dissude me from going to a specialist or somewhere else-it's almost as if they are watching me die and recording the data!!!! [insert tinfoil hat smilie here]

Their usual 'solution' to my asthamatic episodes, bacterial infections or sinusitis is; Prednisone (The PA does a 'fast Blast' , 8x5mg the first day, 7x5mg. the second....) and or one of the following; Amoxicillin, Zithromax, Levaquin, or more lately, Keflex or Doxycyclene. I am prescribed Advair 500/50, but can't afford it or the Combivent regularly, so I stretch it out with Primatine.

On the prednisone and antibiotic, I get better in a week or so, but have recurring episodes sometimes right in the next couple weeks or like now, not for about two months.

I appreciate any suggestions, please bear in mind I do not have ANY money; Half the time I can't afford the co-pay, yet we are way (officially) above indegency.

I don't know if these come into play, but I also have gout (hereditary, mostly controlled by diet, use colchisine and/ or indocin for attacks) and arthritis in my knees(Skiing in HS) and LH from an industrial accident. Usually Aleve takes the edge off, but I've noticed when prescribed Vicodin for other things, these pains also went away. I am leery of asking for an Rx for it, however, because I don't think they'd take that seriously, either.

Last edited by entropy; 10-11-2006 at 03:36 PM.

 
Old 10-16-2006, 11:09 AM   #7
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Re: Chronic cough update

Thank you for all the reply's. I finally made it to the pulmonologist, but by that time I was pretty much feeling all better. My oxygen level was at 100%, but I still had a hard time doing the spirometry, because my lungs still hurt to take a deep breath. They told me that I wasn't trying hard enough, and that made me a little upset. I think the last round of prednisone finally resolved my lung issues for the time being. I actually wish I was still having the problem at the time I went so they could see what was going on. They said that I am probably getting bronchitis every time I get sick, and that there might be a small component of asthma.

I have tried previcid and one other prescription anti-acid in the past(protonix maybe?). They didn't seem to make my lungs any better, but they made me very sick in the stomach after awhile. My lung pain is related to deep breaths(and a lot of times in the lower sides of my lungs). I don't have stomach pains or problems that I am aware of, and this doesn't feel like heartburn to me at all. Every doctor I see now asks me about this, because I have been prescribed it in the past, and they think this is my problem. I always have to explain to them my doctor told me I had to take it to rule out acid reflux, because that is the first thing a lung doctor would do.

 
Old 10-17-2006, 10:35 AM   #8
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Re: Chronic cough/Wheezing/Shoulder pain-Anyone w/Similar problem?

Entropy,

You really need to start the acid reflux medication program, because it's either going to 1) work, and you'll feel great or 2) not work, no harm no foul.

You only need to give it a month to really experience the benefit. Many people including myself had 90% recovery on the first 3 days of starting the PPIs.

You need to get a prescription for a good PPI (Nexium or Aciphex) , at the 2 dose a day level. Take the 2 pills together in the morning and wait and see what happens. These meds are very well tolerated by most people and if they don't work for you, you can stop taking them. But I'd give them at least a month, and I usually tell people to try the next brand if they don't get significant relief in 2 weeks. Maybe I should tell them to wait a month, but I want them to feel better.

You already told me you lost several teeth - that's the acid eroding your dental enamel. Everyone with LPR has this problem. I'm 32 with the teeth of a 65 year old. Dentists regularly ask me if I'm bulimic due to all the erosion.

There is no need to suffer if LPR is the primary cause of all your other problems. You need to get your prescription and give it a try. LPR symptoms can vary amongst different people, so your symptoms will likely not be the same as your wife's. Sounds like yours is more like the Chronic-sinusitis like/ asthma-like variant.

 
Old 10-25-2006, 02:58 PM   #9
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Re: Chronic cough/Wheezing/Shoulder pain-Anyone w/Similar problem?

Sorry, made a mistake on a posting.

Last edited by amiddle104; 10-25-2006 at 03:03 PM.

 
Old 11-02-2006, 07:13 AM   #10
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Re: Chronic cough/Wheezing/Shoulder pain-Anyone w/Similar problem?

Entropy,

Have you tried to go to the website for Advair and/or Combivent? Many companies will give you discounted or free medications when you have no insurance coverage for medications. Also, Walmart now has a $4.00 copay for certain medications. They are all generic, I doubt that Advair is on there, I believe that it is still protected by patent, Combivent however may have a generic available. May be something worth looking into.

Amy

 
Old 11-02-2006, 07:21 AM   #11
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Re: Chronic cough/Wheezing/Shoulder pain-Anyone w/Similar problem?

After making the last post, I looked at the Walmart website. Albuterol (one of the medications in Combivent) is covered as a nebulized aerosol, if you have a nebulizer. Just a thought, I would discuss with the doctor the next time you see them.

Amy

 
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