It is quite common for many people to experience sudden burning feeling, more particularly, after eating. Such burning pain in the lungs can be due to many factors like acid reflux, gastrointestinal disorders and sometimes even due to panic attacks. Lack of blood flow and muscle spasms can also cause sudden burning pain in the chest or lungs region. Serious problems like pericarditis can also cause such symptoms.
It is possible for you to mistake this pain for heart attack, but an attack can cause excruciating crushing pain. In case if you are having other signs like intense sweating, radiating pain towards shoulder along with burning pain in the lungs it can be an attack.
Whether Lungs Can Cause Burning Pain ?
Lungs are not the reason for burning chest pain. Many organs like esophagus and heart are placed intact inside the chest cavity and any problems or abnormal functions in these parts can cause burning pain in the chest. Lungs can cause burning pain in the chest area along with other signs like irritating coughing and wheezing. You may feel short of breath if there is any problem in the lungs.
Lungs can be the reason for chest pain if you experience such burning pain while breathing. Lungs are organs primarily involved in inhaling and exhaling air and if pain occurs when breathing normally it can be due to problems in the lungs.
Chest pain when coughing can be due to problems in trachea, windpipe and lungs. In severe cases it can be due to problems in the heart.
Burning Sensation In Lungs Causes :
1. Acid Reflux
Acid reflux reaction is the major cause for burning pain in the chest. Acid is normally secreted in the gut and sometimes due to back-pressure acid is sent back to the esophagus and throat causing intense burning pain. This can occur due to common problems like esophagitis (Barret’s). Due to repeated flow of acid from the stomach, esophagus (small tube that sends food from the throat to the stomach) gets irritated and can develop inflammation. For some people intake of certain medications and infection can also cause acid reflux. Eating spicy, fried and oily foods can trigger acid reflux.
Asthma can be said as a chronic condition affecting the normal breathing of lungs. The airways gets narrowed due to swelling allowing less air to pass through causing shortness of breath. This can occur due to repeated secretion of mucus in the bronchi and due to tightening of muscles in the bronchial walls. This can cause burning pain in the chest along with shortness of breath and coughing. Asthma cannot be cured but the symptoms can be managed by avoiding dust and smoke and by taking prescribed medications.
Any trauma to the lungs and bronchial walls can trigger burning chest pain. This can happen when one inhales toxic gases or smoke or dust particles. Sometimes food particles can accidentally enter the windpipe causing choking and burning chest pain. Serious conditions like pneumonia (lung infection) can also cause repeated coughing, breathlessness and burning chest pain.
4. Pleural Inflammation
Severe infection can cause inflammation of delicate membranes (pleura) that covers the lungs. This condition is known as pleuritis which can cause intense chest pain while coughing. Similarly pericardial infection can also cause sharp pain in the chest region while taking a deep breath.
5. Lung Infection
The lungs can get inflamed due to pneumonia infection which can be bacterial or viral infection. Lung infection can cause symptoms of sharp pain while breathing, repeated coughing and shortness of breath.
6. Pulmonary Embolism
This is a serious condition that blocks the normal blood flow to the lungs. A blood clot develops in the lungs thus blocking the oxygenated blood supply. A part of lungs can get damaged and in severe cases it can be life threatening. Some of the lung tissues can die due to lack of oxygen and blood leading to pulmonary infarction. Deep vein thrombosis often causes pulmonary embolism when blood clot from the legs travel to the pulmonary artery blocking the blood supply.
7. Cancer Of Lungs
Smoking and using tobacco in any form can cause lung cancer. Among non-smokers, exposure to radiation and asbestos pollution and severe air pollution can cause lung cancer. Lung cancer can produce symptoms like repeated coughing, wheezing, sharp pain in the lungs, change in breathing pattern and hoarse voice.
Air particles or fluid can slowly accumulate in the pleural space that surrounds the lung leading to lung collapse known as pneumothorax. Collected air particles would exert pressure on the lungs pushing it harder and collapsing it. This condition can become mortal if not treated immediately.
Symptoms Of Burning Sensation In Lungs :
- Burning pain in the chest region is common due to acid reflux and can be easily managed by taking antacid. But there are some other warning signs that may occur along with burning chest pain.
- Sharp pain that starts from the chest region and proceeding towards your shoulder or arm
- Abnormal heartbeat (pounding of heart)
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate called tachycardia
All the above symptoms can be due to an attack and seek medical care promptly.
If you experience symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, pain while coughing and skin rashes it can be due to some problems in your metabolism. Gastrointestinal issues can also cause burning pain in the lungs and chest region.
Very often burning pain in the lungs get resolved quickly if you take OTC antacids. However if chest pain is accompanied with other vital symptoms as given above, it can cause irreversible damage to your lungs and heart. Complications like myocardial infarction, cardiogenic shock, collapse of lung (pneumothorax) and inflammation in the esophagitis can occur if treatment is not given promptly.
Treatment For Burning Sensation In Lungs :
- Acid reflux and bloated feeling of stomach can be treated at home.
- Avoid eating oil and spicy foods at night.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing since it can push the contents of the stomach to the esophagus.
- Get up and stand upright which can release the compression of the gut.
- Keep the waist position elevated. You can get relief from heartburn by slightly raising the upper portion of the body. Adjustable bed and using wedge pillow can give some relief from symptoms.
- If you are sure that you have heartburn due to acidity, you can take a glass of water mixed with little of baking soda which helps in neutralizing the acidity.
- In case you have acidity and chest pain avoid smoking.
- OTC remedies like antacids or H2 blockers can provide quick relief from acidity.
- If you have acid reflux repeatedly, check with your doctor to identify the root cause.
- If burning chest pain is due to any other medical condition and it occurs frequently, your doctor would diagnose the root cause and treat it accordingly.