Chest pain after smoking and overall chest tightness are common side effects of smoking. The body is not meant to inhale a lit substance for any extended period of time.
In the end, the body will push back in different ways. Whether you are a long-term smoker or in the process of trying to quit, you may want to know how to get rid of chest pain due to smoking.
Is there a way to do it quickly? In this article, we will examine what causes the pain in your chest after smoking and whether there is anything you can do about it.
What Causes Chest Pain after Smoking?
Can smoking cause chest pain? It definitely can be the root cause of many chest pains. And, as it turns out, many health conditions can contribute to chest pain and chest tightness after smoking.
As mentioned, the human body isn’t designed to inhale smoke for long periods of time. Consider the various chemicals most cigarettes contain that can easily irritate the air pathways. It should be no surprise that inflammation is one of the main causes of chest pain after smoking. Inflammation can not only occur in the air passages of the body (the bronchi), but it can also inflame the lining of the lungs (the pleura).
The inflammation of the bronchi can often result in bronchitis, which is the major cause of chest pain after smoking. The inflammation of the pleura is called pleuritis. Essentially, the pleura are two different layers that line your lungs. When those layers become inflamed, they rub together and create the chest pain.
2. Lowered Immunity
Chest pain caused by smoking may be linked to poor immunity. One of the many unfortunate results of smoking is the reduction in your immune system’s response to other health issues like viruses and bacterial infections. This is because smoking depresses the cells that are usually available to fight off the foreign invaders. In some cases, they are already too busy fighting the inflammation we mentioned earlier to be able to combat another medical issue.
3. Lower Respiratory Tract Infections
With a lowered immune system, you are more susceptible to infections of all sorts. One of the most prevalent—which also causes chest pain after smoking—is a lower respiratory tract infection. This infection not only causes pain in the chest, but also leaves you vulnerable to further inflammation of the lungs and connecting systems.
All of the above conditions can lead to another leading cause of chest pain in smokers: a hacking cough. A cough can aggravate any existing inflammation or infection, and it can also weaken, tire, and stress your chest muscles to the point of pain.
How to Get Rid of Chest Pain Due to Smoking
Is there a way to get rid of chest pains that occur after smoking? The easiest way is to quit smoking. Eliminating the harmful habit will help relieve you of the related ailments and pain. However, this can often be easier said than done. If quitting smoking cold turkey is not an option or if the chest pain is too great, there are a few other remedies you can try.
1. Treat the Underlying Cause
Treating the health issue behind your chest pain can often work, although it may be a temporary solution. For this, you will likely need to see a doctor. He or she will prescribe a course of treatment for your infection or inflammation.
For a more natural remedy, you could use a hot towel or water bottle to help stimulate the red blood cells in your lung area as well as break up any mucus that may be causing congestion and pain.
Similarly to heat, steam inhalation can often soothe the inflamed areas and give you some relief from chest pain. Just boil a pot of water, cover your head with a towel, and breathe in the steam. For extra power, feel free to add a few drops of an essential oil like peppermint.
You may be experiencing chest pain from smoking due to sore chest muscles. Massaging these muscles could help relieve some of the tension and pain. You can use an ointment that also heats the chest or an essential oil to help break through any viral symptoms or inflammation.
Quitting Smoking Is Your Best Option
If you are experiencing chest pain after smoking, you may want to see a doctor. While we’ve listed the most probable reasons your chest hurts, you don’t want any of those conditions to linger or become a more serious illness that will need additional medical attention. Your best option to get rid of the pain and ensure that it doesn’t return is to quit smoking for good. Understandably, this can be a difficult task. If you manage to quit, you will not only get rid of the chest pain, but you will also improve your overall health.
“Chest Pain After Smoking: How Is It Caused And How To Stop It?” Tandurust, May 7, 2015; http://www.tandurust.com/quit-smoking/chest-pain-after-smoking-causes.html, last accessed August 9, 2017.
“Causes of Chest Pain after Smoking and Ways to Stop it,” ePain Assist; https://www.epainassist.com/chest-pain/chest-pain-after-smoking, last accessed August 9, 2017.
“Bronchitis,” Mayo Clinic; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bronchitis/home/ovc-20315098, last accessed August 9, 2017.
Shaw, J., “How Does Cigarette Smoking Affect Your Immune System?” Livestrong, October 15, 2013; http://www.livestrong.com/article/27919-cigarette-smoking-affect-immune-system/, last accessed August 9, 2017.