First of all, you should congratulate yourself for quitting smoking. This process is all about self belief and a positive attitude.
Nicotine in the smoke causes dependence in the body. So if you stop smoking suddenly, the body will crave for nicotine. And this craving of the body is known as Withdrawal Symptoms. Here we are talking about one of the common withdrawal symptom Lung Pain. Lung pain due to quitting smoking is often associated with throat pain.
Causes For Lung Pain After Quitting Smoking
There is no specific documented cause for Lung pain after smoking cessation. And not all patients get this lung pain after quitting smoking.
Possible Causes are
- The cleaning process of the body
- Regeneration of damaged respiratory mucosa (cillia). This causes aggregation of inflammatory mediators which cause pain.
- Sudden stoppage of smoking.
Treatment of Lung Pain after Quitting Smoking
You should not worry at all about this pain as it is self limiting. Since your lungs are full of smoke, nicotine, tar, cleaning of lungs will not be easy and will definitely take time. Duration also depends on years of smoking and number of cigarettes per day. Roughly it will take 1-9 months for complete recovery. You can expect recovery after 2 weeks of smoking cessation.
Certain Lifestyle Modifications Can Help you in Lung Pain
This is a very important aspect of lung cleaning. You should eat a diet rich in antioxidants because antioxidants are known to cause speedy regeneration of cilia. So eat more fruits (citrus fruits, papaya, berries, pineapple), green leafy vegetables, broccoli, ginger, garlic, onions, sprouted seeds etc.
One should avoid dairy products like cheese, cream, butter, milk, yogurt etc, sweets and candies, processed foods like ham, sausage, hot dogs, other fast foods etc, and caffeine. All these foods cause dehydration and excess mucus production.
2. Avoid Pollutants
This is also very important aspect of faster recovery. Air pollutants like traffic, factories, bio gas, chemicals, fumes etc can delay healing.
Second smoke is also well known for delayed healing. It also gives craving so that patient can think of starting smoking again. So better to avoid second hand smoke.
You should maintain cleanliness in the home. Your home should be well ventilated with fresh air. You should also invest in planting trees surrounding your home. You should sleep in well ventilated room with windows open.
Breathing exercises as well as physical exercises are very helpful. Breathing exercises like incentive spirometry, diaphragmatic breathing, yoga, pranayama will be beneficial.
Physical exercise in the form of aerobic exercise like running, cycling, swimming etc are helpful in increasing lung functions and overall lung health.
4. Symptomatic Relief from Lung Pain
Apply warm water pad on affected areas of the chest. You can also take simple painkiller like paracetamol or ibuprofen as and when required.
By no means you should start smoking again. Just be calm, stay focused. You should definitely contact your doctor if chest pain becomes unbearable, radiates to left shoulder or jaw or back. These all are suggestive of cardiac chest pain.
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M Bhavsar pursued his MD in Pulmonology. He is an Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad