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Women's Health

Should I See A Doctor For Lung Problems?

04/05/2010

Question:

The past few weeks when I go for my walks I get pain in both of my shoulder blades and tightness in my chest. Any ideas what could be causing this and should I see my GP before my next appointment on May 10 or can it wait?

Answer:

It is hard to know how to answer your question, as I do not know anything else about you (such as age and habits). To be on the safe side, I would say yes! Go to see your GP now; in the meantime, do not take any more walks and begin taking one aspirin per day. 

Many things can cause your pain. Some possibilities include: 1) muscular pain, 2) a lung condition, such as asthma, which can cause chest tightness, or 3) a cardiac condition such as angina. 

#3 is what I am most concerned about right now, as I do not know you. The fact that the pain occurs with exertion (walking) and its location suggests that perhaps your heart is not getting enough oxygen, thus causing your pain. Typical angina pain is described as a squeezing or pressure pain located in the chest.  (typically under the breast bone or on the left side, that can be felt in the back between your shoulder blades or in your shoulders, or in your jaw) This is normally brought on by some type of exertion (the worst is when it occurs at rest), and is relieved within 3-5 minutes of rest; sometimes associated with shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or sweating. I would not put this off any longer. See your doctor now.

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Response by:

W. Fred Miser, MD W. Fred Miser, MD
Associate Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University