The interior lining of the lungs contains very few pain receptors. However, the surrounding tissue and outer lining can feel pain. That's why lung pain after exercise may be related to issues elsewhere in your chest cavity, including your heart. If you have any existing lung conditions or experience very sharp and persistent lung pain after exercise, you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
Strain From Exercise
The sheer physical exertion of a serious aerobic workout can put pressure on the muscles and lining around the lungs. Also, high impact activities that require sudden and deep inhalations, such as weight lifting, can aggravate the lungs and chest. In many cases treatment simply requires an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. However, if you experience a tightening sensation, prolonged pain or numbness in your left side, see a doctor immediately as this may be a heart related issue.
Asthma & EIB
Asthma can cause lung pain after exercise. Asthmatics may experience shortness of breath or struggle to inhale fully. Allergies or infections may trigger asthma in adulthood, even if you have displayed no previous symptoms. A similar condition to asthma is exercise induced brochospasm, or EIB. However, EIB can trigger lung pain without the wheezing associated with asthma, according to the Netwellness website. Both asthma and EIB might be brought under control with asthma medications such as a salbutamol inhaler.
Chest Infections and Coughs
Temporary chest infections that affect the lungs may trigger pain that increases as you inhale. If you have been coughing or wheezing for several days or weeks before exercise, then your lungs may be inflamed and sensitive. Very deep coughs strain the muscles around the lungs causing pain when breathing. The added pressure on the lungs from aerobic exercise could irritate your chest, even if you feel you have recently recovered from your fever or infection.
Pleurisy affects the "pleura" lining around the lungs. When this lining becomes inflamed, inhaling can irritate the area and trigger sharp pains in the chest and lungs. So pain may be more pronounced after and during exercise. If you have had any recent respiratory problems such as pneumonia or any other chest infection you could be at greater risk of pleurisy. In some cases, lupus or another autoimmune condition could result in pleurisy.