Imagine coughing and assuming it is the usual cold or something similar — only for your chest to start burning. Asthma patients are somewhat used to the burning sensation in their chest. However, it can be worrisome for those experiencing it for the first time. They might run to the doctor to exclaim, ‘Help! My chest burns when I cough’, not knowing what to do. Whether you’re among those people or not, we got you. Carry on reading to learn why it happens.

Why Your Chest Burns When You Cough

Many factors can be why chest pain when coughing occurs. Fortunately, it doesn’t always signify a medical emergency. Still, you must visit your healthcare provider when coughing makes your chest burn. Some common culprits of this condition are:


Asthma can cause trouble while breathing. Particular irritants can cause inflammation, narrowing down your airways. These irritants include pet dander, mold, and smoke, among other contaminants. What the majority might not know, however, is that cold air can also trigger the symptoms of an asthma attack.

The resulting chest pain from asthma symptoms ranges from dull to sharp to burning, depending on the gravity of the situation. In addition, excess mucus due to asthma can also lead to a cough.


If your chest pain when coughing is accompanied by fever, muscle aches, runny nose, headache, and fatigue, chances are you have flu. Since it can cause excess mucus production, you might have a persistent cough that leads to chest discomfort.


COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma, and other lung conditions cause breathing difficulties. If you have this condition, you might complain that your chest burns or hurts when you breathe. The inflamed lungs give rise to mucus production, which results in chest tightness and coughing.

Acid Reflux

A burning feeling in the chest might be due to your stomach acids flowing into the esophagus, causing heartburn. In some cases, it might also trigger coughing. So the burning in your chest when coughing might be due to acid reflux.


Organisms like bacteria, viruses, and fungi can infect the air sacs in your lungs, causing pneumonia. The pus or fluid in the air sacs can also bring symptoms like fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. Therefore, the painful cough with mucus might be due to pneumonia.

Acute Bronchitis

Inflammation of the tubes that allow airflow to and from your lungs is called bronchitis. Also called chest cold, it is a temporary condition that can cause frequent coughs with chest discomfort.

What Should I Do?

There are various reasons why your chest burns when you cough. Although not all these factors are harmful, you should check in with a good doctor. This will help you know whether it has something to do with your lungs or if it is due to a medical condition. You can also talk to our specialists regarding your health. Just visit us at Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center or dial (281) 252-8600 to schedule an appointment today.

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