Pectus Excavatum Post-Op Sneezing Pain [2024]: Cause & More

Written by Mihail Veleski

Last updated on: April 25, 2023

Recently, in pectus excavatum forums, I started to see a pattern that a lot of people feel pain in their sunken chest when sneezing. I have never experienced it, but I discovered some possible answers to this problem.

Sneezing Pain After Pectus Surgery

Pain when sneezing is widespread after a pectus excavatum surgery.

As a result of not receiving adequate pain warnings before a Nuss operation, some patients have reported on the forums that they are frightened to sneeze after the surgery because they experienced sharp, unexpected pain.

Patients described the need to sneeze during the first three weeks following surgery as a feeling of tearing through the muscles. Others agree that the pain is intense but does fade quickly and is not unbearable.

Level of Chest Pain

The level of chest pain when sneezing after surgery determines the treatment you may receive.

Of course, some patients may not necessitate any therapy because it may be due to a momentary nerve sensation that will pass soon.

For any other cause, your doctor may prescribe medications, and maybe some people will require more time until the pain is gone.

But you should notify your doctor immediately if sneezing bothers your chest.

Other Possible Reasons for Chest Pain When Sneezing

Besides post-surgical pain, sneezing can cause pain in the sunken chest for various reasons. The primary and most usual reasons are:

  • The severity of the deformity
  • Illness
  • Disease
  • Some form of injury to the chest wall or bones

When you sneeze, the chest pain you may already feel caused by the sunken chest can even worsen.

Why Discomfort Can Appear

Discomfort may appear because sneezing can shift your chest muscles, bones, and cartilage.

Chest pain may also result from muscle strain. Your ribs might feel tender or injured when you have a muscle strain. When you sneeze or breathe deeply, the pain might worsen.

When you breathe, these muscles raise and lower the ribcage.

Heart & Chest Pain When Sneezing

Heart issues are another common reason for this type of pain.

Chest pain while sneezing can also be a primary indicator of a heart attack and other cardiac conditions.

Other causes include chronic diseases like heartburn and even more severe issues like tumors.


Rib or rib joint injury or any damage to the chest bone linked with the chest area might produce chest pain that intensifies when you sneeze.

If bones in the rib cage around your chest are fractured, shattered, or damaged, including the sternum and collarbones, that type of pain may occur.

Bone fractures and breaks can cause intense pain, aches, and discomfort in the chest.

Sneezing may cause you to feel additional distress because a rush of air in your chest pushes the bones and cartilage of the rib cage.

However, your doctor needs to ensure that pain when sneezing is not creating other problems in your chest.

Area and Type of Pain

Sneezing can produce pain in a single area or throughout your chest. It can happen anywhere from the neck to the upper abdomen, and the pain interval can vary.

The chest pain when sneezing can feel:

  • Sharp
  • Dull
  • Tender or aching
  • Like a burning, painful sensation
  • Tightness or pressure

The Bottom Line

Chest pain after pectus excavatum surgery is common. If you haven’t received instructions about how to deal with it post-surgically, please ask your surgeon for guidelines.

Observe it and explain the feeling you experience with your surgeon. Seek medical help immediately if you have any other issues besides discomfort.

6 Sources

Article by:

Mihail Veleski

I am Mihail Veleski, the person behind this website. Established in 2015, Pectus Excavatum Fix (Now Mr. Pectus), has helped thousands of people improve their sunken chest deformity, both physically and mentally. I pride myself on ensuring the information and methods I share are tried by me and backed by research. I improved my concave chest and rib flare deformities non-surgically.

Leave a Comment



Learn everything you need to know about the pectus excavatum deformity from A-Z. See how I managed to improve my pectus excavatum deformity non-surgically.

Sign up and discover how you can improve your physical and mental wellbeing once and for all.