Post quitting smoking chest pain/joint swelling

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/8/2007 2:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello everyone! I quit smoking 8 days ago after smoking for 3 years. I am doing great with the no smoking part and I am very happy about my decision! but something strange has happened. An intense pain in the top right side of my chest began the day after my last smoke. The pain got worse day after day until virtually my whole right side: arm, neck, head, elbow, wrist are in excruciating pain. I have swelling around my clavicle/sternum joint as well. Has anybody else experienced physical post-quitting side-effects like this?

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/8/2007 12:48 PM (GMT -6)   
I saw my doctor today and he said that the inflammation could be a flare of my RA triggered by quitting smoking. He wants a blood test and an xray or my sternum. The results should be in later today. He seemed worried that it may be a bone infection. - Beating juvenile rheumatoid arthritis!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3199
   Posted 9/8/2007 5:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey there gurudami.. did your doc give you anything for the pain? How are you feeling now? When should the results be back from your tests? Oh, and welcome to the forum! :) :) :)
Moderator of Arthritis Forum
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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/8/2007 10:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks! Both the xray and the blood test were inconclusive and normal. I will be getting an MRI on Monday to further investigate this issue. - Beating juvenile rheumatoid arthritis!

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/23/2009 11:04 PM (GMT -6)   
How I Quit Smoking 30 Years Ago

I used to drive a trailer truck. I would decide I was going to quit smoking, and throw sometimes a carton of cigarettes out the window. An hour later, I’d be looking for someplace I could get the darn truck off the road to get a pack of cigarettes. I’d always feel like crap because I couldn’t quit. I probably quit 25-30 times, but never made it. Then somebody told me about the psychology behind smoking, and how to overcome the habit. I tried it, and it worked. I don’t know if it will work for you, but it can’t hurt to try. I’ll relate it as quitting cigarettes, but you can apply it to smokeless tobacco, or for that matter, any other habit a person might have that they want to get rid of.

To adequately explain this, it takes a fairly long post. I will put the method into one long paragraph. It is meant to develop a series of thoughts as a means to make a conscious choice based on rational thinking, as opposed to the automatic action of pulling a pack of cigarettes out of your pocket, taking one out, putting it in your mouth, lighting it, etc. Even though we think we are doing something (a habit) because we want to, we often find we are doing it almost unconsciously. Habits like tobacco definitely have a negative impact on your life, but most of us don't listen or even try to see that in the early stages of use. I always said I could quit anytime I wanted to, but that only worked before I started trying to quit. Incidentally, according to behavioral science, when a habit/behavior is removed from a repertoire, another activity must be introduced to take its place. That is one reason why AA is successful; meetings replace drinking behavior. That may also be the reason people seem to gain weight when they quit smoking. They replace the smoking behavior with increased eating behavior. I don’t have any suggestions as to what you might do to replace smokeless, but I’m sure you can figure out something. Okay, ready? Here goes!

First off, don't throw your cigarettes away, because you'll need them for this to work. When you feel like you need a cigarette and think to yourself that you have to quit: tell yourself you do not have to quit. Understand to smoke or not to smoke is a choice, and you have decided to make the choice not to smoke, at least not smoke right now. It is a choice you make for only this time. Understand that you can smoke if you want to, but right now, for this moment, you are choosing to not smoke right now. Don’t think you can’t have a cigarette. You can if you choose to. Maybe you will choose to smoke five minutes from now, maybe choose to smoke an hour from now, maybe not until tomorrow, but for right now, you choose not to smoke. Then think about all the negative/bad things that come along with smoking. Smoking and tobacco use has been proven to cause a variety of life-threatening physical problems, from chronic coughs, heart disease, cancer, and too many others to name. A smoker literally stinks from the smell of tobacco. Smokers burn holes in their clothes. How many times have you seen a cigarette burn-hole in a chair or car seat? Cigarettes can cause fires in other cases, things like forest fires. Cigarettes are very expensive. Today’s cost for even just a pack is about $5. A pack a day exceeds $150 a month, $1,800 a year; if you live another fifty years, that’s $90,000, and that’s at today’s prices. Think how much that money would buy. The number of smokers has gone down in recent years, so the likelihood of you being socially unacceptable in many circles because you are a smoker is much greater; even the possibility of being rejected for employment looms large. It is a very long list I’m sure you can add to. Okay, so now you’ve spent a fair amount of time considering your choice, why you are making it, and the automatic urge has decreased as you’ve used a true rationale to overcome it instead of just letting it happen. Habits, friend, are alive. They do not die easily. They fight to stay alive. You might not be successful the first time you try it, but don’t quit trying. The habit will tell you that you have failed. Don’t let the habit tell you that you’ve failed, or even lost the battle. You are still in the fight as long as you keep trying. You are a strong person in a struggle with a strong adversary, but you are stronger. And believe it, because it’s true.

'nough said. Best of luck, you can do it!

Keep on keepin’ on!


New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 9/24/2009 9:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey gurudami,
Congrats on quitting! 
I personally have never heard of a flare from quitting but stranger things have happened I'm sure. 
Keep us posted on what your doc says & know that quitting is the right thing to do.
Once you choose hope, anything's possible. ~ Christopher Reeve

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 981
   Posted 6/12/2010 10:37 PM (GMT -6)   
I quit smoking about 7 years ago now and it was the best thing I ever did. There is no way I would ever go back to it. Keep up the good work and hope you feel better soon and get the answers on whats happening with you

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/16/2010 6:12 PM (GMT -6)   

hello.....I quit somking 2 days ago and have now started to swell!  Notice other people have had this side effect.  How long will this last? Any ideas on what to take to help ( besides water pill-did that)


Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 9/16/2010 7:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi I've never smoked but when my husband gave up, I remember him coughing up all this goop for weeks afterwards. Are you coughing?
I'm just wondering if it could be costochondritis? I developed this from having RA and recovering from pneumonia, the coughing just started it off. I'm wondering if you're coughing, if it could be the same thing? That was agony, there is a really good description of it on the fibro site, do a search there and see if it matches your symptoms.
Well done giving up smoking, bad news with your chest.
Hope the doctor comes up with an answer soon for you, golitho

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9072
   Posted 12/14/2010 12:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, so glad you made such a hard decision about quitting smoking..
Hope you find out something from the doctor soon...
Sending healing hugz and prayers and keep us posted as to how your doing...
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 926
   Posted 2/3/2012 5:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi as Everyone has said Congrats Good Choice Don't give in to Tempation,
i have Known quite a few people get Pneumonia or Colds After Giving up smoking i think as you are no longer Layering your lungs in Goo it starts to come away hence the cough or pain,Keep an eye on it and do Deep Breathing excersizes.
and ClassWarrier is spot on Don't Toss the Cigs, i used to Drink a bit - well Everyday nono   and when i decided to give up i told myself i am not giving up just stopping for now and Rum was my Weapon of choice so i kept a Bottle on the kitchen shelf and told myeslf i can have it if i want, i just Choose not to, and as i used to start my day with a glass i would replace it with Orange Juice and Believe it or Not i Never had another Drink and Never got any Withdrawal symptoms occasionaly i Really wanted a drink so i oppened lid took a smell and said ok thats enough and put it back, i had the bottle for about 2 years then when i moved house just "forgot" to pack it that was 19yrs ago
Rhumatoid Arthritis 20Yrs.(that is Diagnosed-but had symptoms since teenage) Asthma,Osteoperosis,Cervical Spondalosos,Degenerative Disc Disese,Diabetes,Heart svt Diabetes
Metheltrexate,Tramal 200mg(twice Day),Endone,Prednisone,Metforman(Diabex),Digoxin
- - -
* We are Born Crying We Die Crying Try to Laugh inbetween, None of us are Getting out of here Alive *

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 877
   Posted 2/3/2012 8:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Joymilson, I would like to welcome you to healing well.

The post you responded to is over a year old. Most of the people are no longer posting. Maybe you could start a new post and introduce yourself to us. We love having you on board. Post anytime you like.

take care,

forum moderator/RA

Rheumatoid arthritis, Fibromyalgia, meniscus tears in left knee, Cancer survivor

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/15/2013 7:30 AM (GMT -6)   
gurudami said...
Hello everyone! I quit smoking 8 days ago after smoking for 3 years. I am doing great with the no smoking part and I am very happy about my decision! but something strange has happened. An intense pain in the top right side of my chest began the day after my last smoke. The pain got worse day after day until virtually my whole right side: arm, neck, head, elbow, wrist are in excruciating pain. I have swelling around my clavicle/sternum joint as well. Has anybody else experienced physical post-quitting side-effects like this?

Hi Gurudami,

I am having the same problem that you mention above, but I dont see a solution to this, or if you have got past this problem. I guess I am trying my luck here since this is an old post, but it would be very helpful if you or someone who has experienced same/similar problems can post your current status or what worked for you about this issue.

I quit smoking 6 months back, and i had severe joint pain in my knees, elbows, knuckles, and 90% of that went away after 3-4 months (My quit had lasted only about a week to 10 days). Recently, I tried another quit 10 days back, when my joint pains have relapsed. That's when I realized that these were interconnected. I started smoking again and now it is better. I am determined to start another quit very soon, armed with a couple of solutions that have worked for others for this issue, but I don't see many people referring to a solution but only the problem. Any help from you or others who have faced a similar issue would be helpful. The last time I had seen a renowned Rheumatologist, and he ended up saying this was Reactive Arthritis and I don't trust him on his diagnosis. If any of you advise me to see a doctors, please suggest the type of doc I should see.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/10/2013 11:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow. I know this is old, but I had to respond I was diagnosed with ra in 2000. Not long after I quit smoking. I failed at the attempt and started smoking again and my ra symptoms disappeared. My husband and I quit again and the same thing. I was in horrible shape. I quit for a year and started back and symptoms once again gone, back to my old self. In in 2009 we quit again and wham. This time I didn't start back. It's been four years and I'm not in great shape but refuse to go back. Even though at this moment I would love to smoke one. I have thought about putting on a smokers patch to see if it was the removal of nicotine. I just can't take the chance on going back for my husbands sake mainly. I pray we who suffer with ra will find relief. May God strengthen, and comfort us so that we can let ra live WITH us not live FOR us.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2013
Total Posts : 317
   Posted 9/10/2013 11:47 PM (GMT -6)   
I stopped a few weeks back after picking up an e-cigarrette and giving it a try. It has helped immensely. I went through a few days of withdrawals but I was a pack a day smoker as well as chewed a can of cope every other day. I am still getting nicotine but in decreasing amounts and if I get the urge I can puff on the e-cig and the best part is that the urge is not accompanied by the massive cravings I experienced in the past when I have quit.

It might be worth a try for anyone thinking about stopping.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 9/20/2013 9:10 AM (GMT -6)   
smoking is always bad.

Richie Z
New Member

Date Joined Nov 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/20/2013 4:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Guys
I stopped smoking in December 2012 (after 30 years of 20 a day) and in March 2013 developed sore joints, muscles etc. I am a long distance runner and after seeing a couple of Drs they have decided on reactive arthritis as the cause.
Can anybody tell me if their RA symptoms have been helped by taking nicotine replacement/substitutes?
Kind regards

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/26/2014 7:34 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't think my symptoms are a result of quitting smoking since it was over 5 weeks since I have had any nicotine and 6.5 or so since I smoked, but how long did these symptoms last for people?

Chest pain, joint pain, wrist pain and carpal tunnel type of symptoms (which I never had), and other stuff
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