Lung pain - causes, diagnosis and treatment

Lung pain - causes, diagnosis and treatment

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Pain in the lungs

Lung pain is a symptom that can occur with a wide variety of diseases. You do not necessarily have to mean something bad, but this pain should always be taken seriously and it is advisable to visit the doctor promptly. A medical clarification of the complaints is definitely important.

The lung

The lungs are a vital organ. It supplies us with oxygen and transports the used air out in the form of carbon dioxide. The lungs look like an upturned tree. The trachea is the trunk and the branches and leaves are the bronchi. The small alveoli, the alveoli, are responsible for the oxygen transport. These are surrounded by tiny blood vessels that absorb oxygen and then transport it to all organs. We could not live without this oxygen.

Causes of lung pain

Environmental influences, inflammation, trauma, allergies and much more can strain the lungs and lead to lung pain. The causes of lung pain include

  • acute respiratory diseases,
  • Allergies,
  • Heart failure,
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • and a diaphragmatic paralysis.

The following lung diseases should also be considered:

  • Pulmonary fibrosis,
  • Pulmonary embolism,
  • Atelectasis,
  • Pneumoconiosis,
  • Peudo group,
  • Pleural effusion,
  • Pneumothorax,
  • Pulmonary edema,
  • Lung cancer,
  • SARS,
  • Avian flu
  • and diphtheria,

Cold and flu

Lung pain is often associated with a massive cold or flu. The patients suffer from a massive cough and this hurts. However, if cough and pain last longer and the symptoms do not respond to treatment, this must be clarified and possible pneumonia excluded.


A normal hay fever can only show up as a sniff nose and itchy eyes for years and yet suddenly affect the lungs. With mild cough without pain, this is usually harmless. However, if there is lung pain, a specialist must be consulted.

Allergy sufferers who get a cold or flu suffer from lung pain more often than other sufferers. Since her lungs already suffer from allergens, she reacts more sensitively.

Allergy sufferers should try, if possible, to stay away from the allergens or to do everything possible so that the confrontation is not so massive. Here, for example, daily hair washing and the pollen protection grid help with a pollen allergy.

Diseases that affect the lungs

One of the diseases that can be associated with lung pain is bronchitis. This occurs both acutely and chronically. The chronic form can unfortunately develop further and become COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Other infectious diseases include tuberculosis, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and avian flu.

With cystic fibrosis, a congenital metabolic disease, the glandular secretions are tougher than normal. Initially, it mainly affects the pancreas and digestion. Lungs, liver and biliary tract can follow later. Those affected suffer from the tough mucus, which is difficult to cough up. This can lead to lung pain.

Pulmonary embolism involves occlusion of one or more pulmonary arteries as a result of a thrombus. Affected people no longer get air and are in pain. Pulmonary edema, the most common cause of which is heart failure, is manifested by fluid accumulation in the lungs. The symptoms are shortness of breath, foamy expectoration and possibly lung pain.

Risk groups

Smokers (including passive smokers), asthmatics, people who are constantly exposed to fumes or dust in their workplaces, and people with a weakened immune system, as well as babies and the elderly, are more likely to develop lung pain or corresponding illnesses.


A detailed examination is necessary to diagnose the causes of lung pain. First of all, if there is a medical history, all complaints are asked. Is an allergy known? Do the complaints coincide with a new environment? Are there any chemicals, vapors, dust, etc. at the workplace? Do you have a cold? If so, for how long?

The doctor auscultates the lungs with the stethoscope, gently taps the area, and asks about breathing-related pain. Depending on the suspicion, further examinations include a lung function test, a blood test, an allergy test, X-rays, ultrasound, CT (computer tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Sometimes bronchoscopy also has to be done.

In bronchoscopy, a thin tube that contains a camera and a device for removing tissue is pushed through the trachea into the bronchial branches via the nose or mouth. This procedure is particularly important if a tumorous event is suspected. Bronchoscopy is also used for areas of the lungs that are not properly ventilated, for narrowing, chronic bronchitis and if a foreign body has entered the bronchi.


In any case, people with lung pain should see a doctor's office promptly. The underlying diseases must be diagnosed and treated. Regardless of the conventional medical treatment, naturopathic methods can be used for many diseases at the same time and accelerate the healing or alleviate the symptoms.

Naturopathic therapies

Plants for the lungs are: fennel fruits, lungwort, plantain leaves, coltsfoot leaves, mallow flowers, mullein flowers, anise fruits, marshmallow root, licorice root, Icelandic moss, thyme herb, sage leaves and some more. These are prescribed in the form of tea formulations, tinctures or mother tinctures.

In naturopathic practice, acupuncture, foot reflexology massages and targeted injections, possibly from anthroposophic medicine, are used for lung pain.

Schüßler salts such as No. 3 Ferrum phosphoricum, No. 4 Kalium chloratum, No. 6 Kalium sulfuricum help with inflammation, swelling and mucus secretions. Aconite, Belladonna, Ipecacuanha, Drosera, Spongia and Bryonia are the remedies of choice from homeopathy.

Appropriate probiotics are prescribed in naturopathy to accompany antibiotic therapy so that the intestine does not have to suffer as much from the antibiotic. Colon cleansing is then often recommended.

Once the disease has healed, the immune system is built up using suitable agents such as taiga root, propolis, coneflower, rock rose, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin C to prevent another infection.

If the cause of the lung pain is an allergy that has already affected the lungs or the bronchial tubes, autologous blood therapy, regular ear acupuncture (possibly with permanent needles), individually composed remedies from phytotherapy or even anthroposophic medicine can help. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) also has some methods to deal with an allergy. (sw)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • F.M. Müller et al .: S3 - Guideline "Lung Disease in Cystic Fibrosis", Society for Pediatric Pneumology e.V. (GPP), (accessed August 22, 2019), AWMF
  • Federal Chamber of Physicians (BÄK), National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), Working Group of the Scientific Medical Societies (AWMF): National Care Guideline Chronic Heart Failure - Long Edition, 2nd Edition, Version 3, 2017 (accessed 22.08.2019), DOI: 10.6101 / AZQ / 000405. , AWMF
  • C. Vogelmeier et al .: S2k guidelines for the diagnosis and therapy of patients with chronic obstructive bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema (COPD), German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine e.V., (accessed August 22, 2019), AWMF

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