Avatar universal

Lung pain after quitting smoking

Hi I am a 44 yr old male and have smoked for 30 years. I was a heavy smoker at one point for a few years. I quit cold turkey 7 weeks ago and I am going through HELL.  I cant sleep, I have anxiety attacks, shortness of breath but the worst is the lung pain ( Discomfort I am feeling).  The internet is one scary place as everything seems to lead to something terrible. I have not had any cough as some people say they have yet I do feel flu like symptoms and lots of phlegm in my throat yet its white. I get really tired during the day yet cant sleep at night.
Did anyone else feel like this? I want to start smoking again just not to feel this miserable. I never complained of anything prior to this. I feel like I quit smoking to die early.
38 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi there. I'm a 43-year-old female who quit smoking in January after smoking a pack a day (or more) for over 20 years. I also quit cold turkey (but used the patch). The patch certainly took the edge off for me. I stopped using it five weeks into the eight-week program.

I also did not get a cough. But, like you, boy did I get lung pain. The weird thing for me was it didn't start immediately after I quit smoking, but a few weeks later. It felt like both my trachea and my lungs were on fire, like someone was literally holding a lit match to them. Or like someone had placed a blow torch into my mouth and fired it into my throat and lungs.

Then it got better and just disappeared entirely. That was about two months into quitting smoking. I just had my seven-month anniversary. I noticed the other day when I was walking on a very hot and humid day that I wasn't short of breath and that my trachea and lungs didn't feel like they were burning (they always hurt on humid days, even if I didn't smoke).

Are you noticing any improvements at all? For example, by the seven-week mark, I noticed that I could inhale more deeply, like my lung capacity had doubled. When I breathed through my nose the air "tasted" better. My sense of taste and smell improved.

I also was constantly tired, like you. I'm tempted to suggest using the patch for a few weeks, a lower dosage, just to take the edge off.

Rest assured, it does get better! Lots better! The first couple of months were awful for me too. Then one day I wasn't as tired. Then later the lung pain went away. Then a few weeks later I noticed I wasn't short of breath anymore. And so forth.

One thing that helped me was a quit smoking tracking Web site I found. You input how much you smoked and what it cost, and it tracks your savings. Right now I'm up to $2,258.56 saved. Seeing how much I was saving helped motivate me.

Seven weeks is huge. Well done! Don't give up. It does get better!
Avatar universal
Thank you for that response. I do breathe a little better as I feel I can take a deep breath. I am heavily congested, so my sense of smell and taste have not improved. The burning feeling in the lungs i had in the second week, now it just turned into a dull pain but mostly in the morning after a nights sleep if you can call 3-4 hours sleep. I do notice that the more I go to the gym the better I feel so I hope this will stop soon. Again thank you for the response as this quitting smoking is killing me
8976007 tn?1413330650
i am trying hard to smoke.  i am 47 and have been smoking since 5yrs old. yes that is right.  
i got on wellbutrin a week ago and it now makes me sick to my stomach and nauseated when i smoke. so i guess it is time to try the patch.

i complain of lung pain to my dr all the time and she insists that the lungs have no nerves so it is impossible to have lung pain.  i couldn't disagree more.
all your little hairs (cilia) are coming alive and that can cause issues.
also there ARE withdrawal symptoms when stopping smoking.  they include all the things you are saying that is going on with you.

this should pass soon,  i don't think i would use a patch at this point, but if you are really bothered by it try the lowest amount of patch or nicotine gum.

i really HATE smoking, but boy is it hard.  hardest thing i have ever had to stop.  
i envy you that you guy
8976007 tn?1413330650
i am trying hard to NOT SMOKE
Avatar universal
That's really odd your doctor would say that. There were times that my trachea and lungs would hurt so badly I could not sit still or sleep, especially my trachea -- right between my breasts. It felt like someone had set them on fire.

Of course I panicked and thought "Should this be happening?". So I Googled it, and your answer is what I got -- when your lungs clear out all of the accumulated tar, the cilia start growing back. That's what is likely causing the pain.

Hang in there. It gets better.
Avatar universal
Hey it seems like there are stages to this nightmare. Its 3:30 am and the second night I cannot sleep. Seems like I am having trouble swallowing, the congestion is getting worse and know it seems like I cannot clear my throat.
I was told that I should have a cough but I do not and the mucus is clear. Shortness of breath.   Or the panic/anxiety is taking over.    
242912 tn?1402543492
Hello and congrats on your decision to quit!  You won't regret it.  All you're feeling is normal, especially the congestion.  You were used to inhaling hundreds of times a day, now your lungs are sitting stagnant filled with mucus you're not able to bring up.  I didn't have a cough either, lots of people don't.  You want to keep that mucus moving though, otherwise you can get sick.  I used Musinex...which is a brand name for the over the counter expectorant Guaifenesin.  It worked great in thinning the mucus out.  I also practiced deep breathing exercises.  Deep breath in slowly, deep as you can to expand your lungs to the fullest, then out through your mouth slowly.  MAKE yourself cough also.  The point is, to keep your lungs moving.  

The anxiety and insomnia get better with time.  Try and be patient.  

Check out this site too...whyquit (*******).

I wish you the best.  Please hang tough  
242912 tn?1402543492
And Vic, I meant to say if you begin to feel Worse, please get to your Dr.  Many people get sick after quitting smoking.  
242912 tn?1402543492
That was whyquit d o t  c o m.  
Avatar universal
I'm not clear how it works, but I believe nicotine affects the serotonin in your brain, so when you quit your serotonin level decreases. This may be why you're having panic/anxiety.

I had pneumonia at 21. For a while when it was really bad the second I lay down I started drowning because of all the fluid in my lungs. I had to sleep sitting up. Maybe try sleeping on a bunch of pillows so your body's angled up a bit?

You're at the eight-week mark at this point. Most of my symptoms had gone at this point, although everyone is different. Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to schedule a doctor's appointment just to make sure everything's okay.
Avatar universal
Ty guys for the info
Avatar universal
I have stopped smoking after 25 years, on my 5th day now and i have burning pain as well i also can taste blood but its the tar i cough up. breathing is a lot better and i can taste food and drink better coffee taste so much better lol. And i can smell the air when go out living in the country and out the city you can really tell the difference. No NRT so i get snappy with people and find it hard to sleep. also eating a lot if you feel like eating loads try fruit much more healthy and less fattening. you may also find it useful to have something to play with in the hands this help take your mind of the cigarette.(stress ball).

PS message to all the new quitters good luck and keep it up. you will safe tons of cash and smell much better.
Avatar universal
I know you want to stop smoking.....so did I. So last summer I went to Texas and my sister introduced me to Vixen Vapors, and I never thought about picking up another cigarette again. Also I do not crave cigs.

I hope this will help you. Also they are very nice and they will answer all your questions.

Good Luck
11062520 tn?1414987264
There might be a serious reason of the pain you're feeling right now. Instead of thinking of going back to your smoking habit, why not see a doctor first so you'll know exactly the cause of the pain. You've already started quitting and we all know the negative effect of it in your body, health and lifestyle so I would suggest you continue dealing of putting an end to it.
11474209 tn?1418556797
Thank you for your response!  I feel much more encouraged because of it.  

I have also quit smoking 7 weeks ago, and I have shortness of breath, my lungs hurt, my nose is more congested and I have wheezing, even when lying in bed.  I don't get it.  I had heard that within 2 - 4 weeks, you're lungs would feel better... I quit smoking before and at week 4 - 5, I had much better lung capacity than I do now at week 7.  

I installed a quit smoking app on my phone and according to the app, I still have 88 days to go until my lungs feel better - that's about 12 weeks - so still another 3 months to go!  

Does that sound normal, that it would take about 20 weeks (4.5 months) for the lungs to clear up?
11474209 tn?1418556797
By the way, having said that, I have no desire to smoke anymore.  My husband still smokes, I love him dearly, but I hate the smell, and I feel so happy that I am not chained to that habit any longer.  I am free - I wake up every morning and I am so grateful that I am free.  I figure that waiting another 3 months for my lungs to clear, if that is the case, then it's worth it in the end.  
Avatar universal
I am 59 and quit Nov. 30, 2014 (just over a month ago). Smoked about 32 years. I am feeling like I can take better breaths, but still have discomfort. No coughing anything up, but wish I could. Your comment that "people get sick after they quit" worries me. Can you please explain? Thank you. I need all the reassurance I can get. This is hard. But I am determined. :)
Avatar universal
Read Allen Carr's easy way to quit smoking, I know it sounds crazy but do it, no NRP, no drugs, straight cold turkey with no withdrawal or pangs, actually been quite enjoyable, lungs do burn as they heal up
Avatar universal
It burns when I fart
Avatar universal
I am a 64 year old man that has been smoking for 50 years.On Nov.3 2015 I started using an electronic cigarette. After 5 weeks using it as little as possible I have finally quit.I am experiencing coughing and lung pain. Tired all the time but cant sleep at night.It is now Jan.26 2016 and hoping things will turn around soon.Still holding in there.
Avatar universal
I had the same thing! I quit 7 months ago and had lung pain and seemed to be highly sensitive to perfume and dust etc. Also daily phlem that never goes away for lung - no coughing.  The lung pain has improved to hardly any, but the phlem remains.  I had concerns so I was referred for a pulmonary exam that I went to yesterday.  They had me blow hard and hold breath etc to determine my lung capacity as I feared COPD etc.  My lungs are above average so 113% on the tests and they told me that my lungs have no damage in terms of their function.  However, depending how long people smoke it can take between 1-5 years to clear out the guck in there.  They advised that I ask my doc for antibiotics to dry them out. I'm now at the other side where things are feeling much better and I can't even imagine smoking ever again after all that! I think that they key is to NEVER smoke anything including E Cigs.  It's still inhaling a foreign substance and not good for them.
Today makes 9 days that I stopped smoking and yesterday I stared with my lungs killing me. This *****. Is there anything I can take to help with the pain. I had to stop after smoking for 32 years I just found out I have COPD,asthma.
Avatar universal
I quit 7 days ago and I have had lung pain and can't quit coughing at least this black and green stuff is coming out of MY LUNGS, It hurts so bad and I do not get any sleep at night but I refuse to go back to smoking those horrible cigarettes. I bought a vap pen but hardly use it because I cough so bad and the pain, You know its funny how you quit smoking so you can breath better and not cough and have lung pain, but you have to go through all these things before it gets better I quit one time before and wow it brought back memories, Should of had my butt kicked to ever starting back. It is harder this time........

Just wanted to give a big congratulations for those who have managed to quit and offer up some small advice... It DOES get better. I am 32 years old and had smoked for more than 20 years...

I am now over the month point and have some advice for anyone that is struggling with coughing up that speckled black gross tar phlegm. I have began a exercise regiment that has seemed to really help me get rid of this phlegm quicker... I find the more I work my lungs the less of that I'm coughing up.

Another thing that has helped me is having hot baths (maybe a humidifier would also suffice) really finding that this also helps get rid of that phlegm faster.

One thing is for certain, looking back I know that I can never have another puff, and wow what a ride it has been, I went through it all, not sleeping, literal pain in my neck (from tossing and turning at night), being tired, not having patience for people, you name it!

Hang in there, replace it with exercise and in turn get into the best shape of your life... Turn the (seemingly) negative into a positive!

Avatar universal
I am almost 60  - will be in July.  Two years ago on July 12, I quit smoking.  I used the patch and they helped me learn to live without cigarettes.  On this past monday (June 13/16) I had arterial leg surgery and picked up a cold - complete with stuffy nose, sore throat and today I have lung pain.  It feels like my lungs and windpipe are burnt.  We just put the air conditioners in, but they did not bother me last year.  Has this ever happened to anyone else so far into quitting?
Avatar universal
I am a 56-year-old woman who has smoked for 36 years. I quit without even thinking about it in 2012 for 8 months. The only symptom I had back then was that every joint in my body was so sore I thought I had arthritis. Fast-forward 4 years: One night I went to bed feeling in perfect health. The next day I woke up with no voice: laryngitis, and I had all the usual flu symptoms: achiness, fatigue, high fever, etc. Two days in bed and that disappeared only to go into my lungs: bronchitis. Five days later and that disappeared and was replaced by angonisingly sore sinuses and a headache that made my head feel the size of the moon. Several days later (still in bed) that disappeared and I had a sore throat on the right side. Three days later that disappeared and my throat was then sore on the left side. After 3 weeks in bed I was exhausted and weak. However: I realised that I hadn't smoked in 3 weeks so was probably experiencing side effects along with the flu. The difference this time is also that, after 4 years of menopause and no symptoms, it hit me almost overnight. (Sorry, this is going to be a long one!). I am luckily a young-looking 56-year-old with no wrinkles. I seem to have aged just from giving up smoking! My lungs hurt almost all the time for a while. Now they hurt at random times. I don't always have a cough but do sometimes. The coughing sets my heart racing and makes me nauseous. Today is day 67 and today's mid-morning coughing fit was accompanied by a bout of very jittery anxiety. That is the worst part for me: the anxiety. Thankfully I never have a problem sleeping. Someone else on here said they felt like they were on drugs: I've never taken drugs but have certainly felt more than strange on a regular basis.  Also feel tired. I seldom get sick. Last time I had flu this bad was 10 years ago. I from home so can tough it out in bed. Don't take antibiotics. The longest I've ever been sick previously was for 10 days. This time: 24 days. This is a link to a fascinating book: it will open a chapter on other people's experienced. After that, do read Chapter 8 about Vitamin C and the B Vitamin group. Important stuff! I had been experiencing a pounding heart that felt like it was flopping around in my chest like a fish. It also felt like it was skipping beats. My cardiologist found that my body was no longer absorbing Vitamin B12 so I go for bi-weekly injections. Heart beats regularly now and I feel so good after that injection every second week. Good luck to all. You can do it!

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