Stinging in the lungs – causes, treatment

Stitches in the lungs

Stinging in the lungs is not an independent disease, but a symptom that can be traced back to numerous causes. Since the lungs are in direct contact with the outside world through breathing, both internal and external influences can be responsible for the symptoms.

What is stinging in the lungs?

If there is a stinging in the lungs, this is usually due to a disease. The lung membrane is insensitive to pain; however, lung pain can emanate from the surrounding lung tissue or the bronchi .

These are often accompanied by a feeling of tightness in the chest, increased sweating and dizziness . Shortness of breath can also occur together with the stinging, which is perceived as unpleasant. The causes of the symptoms can be harmless and can be cured quickly. Under certain circumstances, however, a serious illness can also be responsible.

Medical therapy is almost always necessary to alleviate the symptoms and prevent further progression of the existing disease. A doctor’s visit is therefore always advisable if a stinging sensation occurs in the lungs .


Since the stinging in the lungs is always just a symptom of an illness, the cause of the symptoms must be found. A common cold or mild bronchitis is often enough to cause the stabbing pain.

Numerous viruses and bacteria that can be ingested through the respiratory tract can be responsible for the infection, as can certain molds. Pneumonia, which affects particularly weak people, also causes the typical stinging in the chest. Allergies and asthma are other common causes of stabbing pain in the lung area.

Under certain circumstances, hereditary diseases such as cystic fibrosis or injuries to the chest and abdomen can also affect the lungs and lead to symptoms. Last but not least, lung cancer causes a reduction in breathing volume and ultimately also pain, but often only at an advanced stage.

diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & History

If a patient with stinging in the lungs consults a doctor, the doctor will first listen to the lungs in addition to a detailed discussion and an examination of the patient’s lifestyle.

An X-ray examination can provide information about possible changes in the lung tissue. Bronchoscopy may be done to remove some tissue and then examine it in a laboratory. A blood test can also provide information about certain diseases.

The course depends largely on the type of underlying disease. Mild bronchitis usually heals on its own, while diseases such as asthma, allergies or pneumonia can become life-threatening in the worst case.

Lung cancer that progresses untreated is also potentially fatal. Injuries to the chest and abdomen also require treatment, otherwise they can affect and damage the internal organs.


If the stinging in the lungs is due to a cold, there is a risk that it will escalate. If an initially harmless cough is delayed, it can develop into acute bronchitis. In these cases, the entire ear, nose and throat area becomes inflamed.

The throat, nose and paranasal sinuses as well as the mucous membranes of the mouth are usually particularly badly affected. If the disease is not brought under control, further complications can arise and chronic bronchitis may develop. This is accompanied by increased coughing and even more sputum.

If the underlying disease causing the stinging pain is a cold caused by bacterial pathogens such as streptococci or pneumococci, pneumonia can develop . The course of the disease then worsens within a few hours. High fever and severe chills are the most common complications.

If the stabbing pain in the lungs is due to COPD, i.e. to a chronic lung disease for which inflamed and permanently narrowed airways are typical, a number of complications are likely. The lungs can lose elasticity, which usually results in an increase in residual volume. In the next stage, the so-called Euler-Liljestrand reflex develops, which in turn can be the precursor to a pulmonary heart.

When should you go to the doctor?

Stinging pains in the lungs do not always have a pathological cause. Therefore, it should be observed when the stinging occurs to decide whether or not to seek medical attention. A stinging in this organ can be harmless and does not necessarily have to be clarified by a doctor.

The pain can be triggered by improper breathing during physical exertion. If this symptom occurs during exercise, the pace should be reduced. Deep, steady breathing can also help. If the stinging doesn’t go away after a short time or if it occurs unusually frequently, a doctor should be consulted to be on the safe side.

In any case, a doctor should be consulted if the symptoms do not subside or if they intensify. If the pain persists for several days or weeks regardless of physical activity, a doctor should clarify the causes as soon as possible. If the stinging in the lungs occurs even without physical exertion, the person concerned should definitely see a doctor.

If the pain occurs in combination with breathing difficulties, he should not waste any time and make an appointment immediately. It is possible that accidents and falls trigger the pain in the lungs. In this case, a rib may be damaged. Again, it is advisable to consult a medical professional.

Treatment & Therapy

Once the attending physician has discovered the disease behind the stinging in the lungs, he can initiate appropriate therapy. If it is an infection, depending on the trigger, antibiotics are administered, for example, to weaken the infection and kill the bacteria.

In the case of an allergy, the cause of the allergic reaction must first be determined. If this is deliberately avoided, unpleasant symptoms such as stinging in the lungs will not occur. Asthma patients need an emergency spray that they can use in the event of shortness of breath and sharp pains. If lung cancer is diagnosed, it is usually treated with chemotherapy . In this case, the cancer cells are specifically prevented from growing with drugs, which prevents the disease from progressing.

In some cases, an additional surgical procedure is necessary to remove the damaged areas of the lungs. In some cases, stinging in the lung area can also be traced back to cardiovascular disease , which can lead to pulmonary edema . Here it is important to closely monitor heart function and prevent fluid from pooling in the lungs.

A stabilization of the general condition can reduce the symptoms and significantly improve the condition of the person concerned. Since suitable therapy can sometimes be life-saving, a prompt visit to the doctor is urgently required in the event of severe or persistent symptoms.

Outlook & Forecast

In the case of a stinging in the lungs, a doctor should be consulted. In the long term, the symptom can cause great harm to the body and should therefore be examined by a doctor. In addition to the stinging itself, there are usually breathing problems. The patient suffers from shortness of breath and also from an increased urge to cough . The stinging in the lungs can also spread to other parts of the body. This mainly includes the back and the head.

In most cases, the stinging in the lungs does not last long and disappears after a short time. It often only occurs as an accompanying symptom of a flu or a cold and is only a harmless symptom. Treatment is either with the help of painkillers or other drugs that soothe and warm the throat and throat. Surgical interventions are usually not necessary.

If the stinging in the lungs occurs when coughing, especially in smokers, they should refrain from smoking. This can also be the formation of a tumor. However, the further course of cancer depends strongly on the severity of the symptom.


Stinging in the lungs can be effectively prevented in some cases. A healthy lifestyle that avoids risk factors such as smoking can protect against serious illnesses. With a well-functioning immune system, which is supported by a balanced diet and sufficient exercise, unpleasant infections can often be avoided.

Cardiovascular diseases can also be prevented in this way. If possible, allergy sufferers should avoid the substances that trigger the symptoms and thus ensure rapid relief of the symptoms. Naturally, hereditary illnesses and serious injuries caused by accidents, for example, cannot be ruled out in this way.

You can do that yourself

Stinging in the lungs can have many causes. If this symptom occurs more frequently or very severely, it is essential to consult a doctor, since a life-threatening underlying disease can be hidden behind it.

Short, sharp chest pains that localize in the lungs and occur after severe physical exertion are usually harmless but are a sign of overexertion. Anyone who works physically should first check their techniques when lifting and carrying heavy objects. Athletes should take this as a sign to increase their workload more slowly.

If the stabbing pain in the lungs is caused by a severe cough from a cold, the affected person can also help to alleviate his or her suffering. Warmth and bed rest are helpful when you have a cold . The sufferer can also consume expectorant herbal tea or fight the cold with salt water or chamomile tea steam baths. Hot tub baths can also alleviate the effects of a cold. In the case of severe diseases of the upper respiratory tract or acute pneumonia, you should refrain from all self-therapy measures and strictly follow the doctor’s instructions.

In cases of smoker’s cough, sufferers should begin nicotine withdrawal immediately. Professional support from a psychologist makes it easier to quit and increases the chances of successful weaning.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.