Q. What is the reason for chest pain after using CPAP?

Answered by
Dr. Amol Kumar Wasudeorao Diwan
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 14, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jan 06, 2023

Hi doctor,

I have obstructive sleep apnea and using CPAP for a year. I feel chest pain in the mornings. The same kind of pain is felt whenever I sleep without the mask. My BP, sugar and ECGs were tested before six months back and they were normal. What is the cause and remedy?



Welcome to

  • OSA that is obstructive sleep apnea happens when something partly or completely blocks your upper airway during sleep.
  • The common symptoms of the disease are snoring and intermittent pauses in your breathing during sleep, daytime sleepiness, difficulty in concentrating during the day, fatigue, restlessness during the day and aggravation of chronic pain.
  • Chest pain while on a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) is usually related to the machine setting if no other obvious cause is found.
  • Also, sometimes, it is associated with any other symptoms like coughing or breathlessness must be investigated to find out the cause.
  • The standard management of OSA is CPAP therapy, which should be adjusted according to the symptom relief.
  • If the symptoms are not relieved with the current pressure settings, then you may need to check with your doctor or machine supplier for adjusting the machine settings. Sometimes, if the pressures are high you may experience chest pain the next morning.
  • As you said, all tests including ECG are normal and so, you may need to see doctor for clinical checkup and chest x-ray. Sometimes, there may be aggravation of symptoms of obstructive airway disease like asthma.
  • So, spirometry is must to find out the underlying airway disease as there may be an association between asthma and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Also, you need to follow some lifestyle modification like weight reduction, no smoking, not to sleep on back and daily regular exercise to be fit. So, I advise you to see your doctor and do clinical examination and further necessary tests.

For further information consult a pulmonologist online -->

Thank you doctor,

I will get the tests done as advised by you. With mask on face, I need to sleep on back otherwise it leaks. Do have any suggestions about this?



Welcome back to

  • Generally, it is not advised to sleep on back while using CPAP mask. Might be that is the cause of your chest pain.
  • But, if you are comfortable, then you can sleep that way. But, I advise you to talk to your technician for necessary setting to avoid air leak from the mask.

For further doubts consult a pulmonologist online -->

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