Pain in the chest when coughing, what are its causes?

The sensation of pain in the chest when coughing is something that can alarm us. It is usually related to the lungs or the heart And this makes us think of a major health problem.

Causes of chest pain when coughing

Coughing pain in the chest It is very common when you suffer certain conditions in the respiratory system. Next, we explain what are the main causes:


Influenza is one of the most common viral infections in the world. Usually It appears abruptly, with intense symptoms from almost the first moment. The main symptoms of the flu are:

The flu symptoms are usually stronger and more lasting than those of a cold. It is common to have chest pain when you have the flu, something that can be increased in the case of having a cough.

You may also be interested: How to recover from a flu: 6 habits that help

Common cold

The cold is an infectious viral disease of the respiratory system. It is more common in children than in adults and Your symptoms are stronger in the first three days.

However, in addition to general malaise, sore throat and increased mucus, Cough is one of the most common symptoms. If it occurs repeatedly or accentuated, it can cause chest pain.

Cold symptoms appear progressively around the third day of infection and last about a week. The main symptoms of the cold are:

The fact that it affects the respiratory system is what causes it to be among the main causes of chest pain when coughing.

Acute bronchitis

Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi. After an infection or inflammation in the bronchi, the respiratory capacity decreases. The symptoms that bronchitis causes are:

  • Wheezing
  • Mucus.
  • Cough.
  • Pain in the chest and back

The main cause of acute bronchitis is usually a viral infection, often as a result of a badly treated cold. However, it can also be due to a bacterial infection.

Asthma and chest pain when coughing

Asthma is a chronic condition that causes narrowing of the airways as a result of inflammation. Asthma affects the airways by inflaming and narrowing them.

If it is not diagnosed or treated correctly it is very common to suffer difficulty breathing, whistling or chest pain when coughing. The symptoms of asthma are the following:

  • Respiratory difficulty
  • Cough with mucus.
  • Wheezing when breathing.
  • Coughing pain in the chest

Read also: How do anti-asthmatics work?


Pneumothorax, also known as pulmonary collapse, It occurs when the lung is perforated at some point and air leaks.

The direct consequence of pneumothorax is that the space around the lungs fills with air. This prevents it from expanding, causing obvious symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath.

The pressure caused by the air outside the lungs causes a pain in the chest that accentuates when coughing.

Musculoskeletal injuries and chest pain when coughing

When we suffer any injury to the muscles or bones of the chest or nearby, the pain will intensify when you cough. Fissures or fractures in the ribs, in the rib cage, sternum or spinal column will cause intense pain in the chest when coughing, a pain that can also appear simply when breathing, when getting up or when performing certain movements.


The ribs, except the last two, are connected by cartilage to the sternum. When this cartilage becomes inflamed, the injury known as costochondritis, or costoesternal syndrome occurs.

The main consequence is a sharp, sharp pain in the chest, that intensifies when coughing or performing certain actions. Costochondritis is one of the main causes of chest pain when coughing. Among its main causes are:

  • Thoracic injuries.
  • Lift weights.
  • Infections in the respiratory tract.
  • Too much effort when coughing
  • Certain types of arthritis.


As we have seen, the pain in the chest when coughing can have its origin in different infectious processes and pathologies. Therefore, if it is not a simple cold It is convenient to go to a specialist.