Pain In Back Side Of Ribs
Pain in the back ribs can happen for many reasons. It can result from an injury, such as muscle strain or fractured rib, but it can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as osteoporosis, gallstones, or a lung condition. The pain may be sharp or dull and mild or severe.
- Often, the pain resolves without intervention, but it can sometimes indicate a more serious medical condition that requires specialist care.
- This is more likely if the pain is intense or there are other symptoms.
- This article looks at some common causes of pain in the back of the ribs, as well as the associated symptoms and typical treatments.
Injuries can cause back rib pain. Common rib-related injuries include:
bruised ribspulled muscles fractures broken ribs
If pain after an injury is lasting or severe, the cause may be a broken rib. To diagnose this injury, a doctor may use an X-ray or MRI, Treatment options vary. Many people with broken ribs just need rest and pain relief medication. Surgical intervention is sometimes necessary, but only in severe cases.
sharp, severe pain in the upper back or ribsstiffness and tension in the upper back musclesspasms in the intercostal muscles
To treat this type of strain, doctors often recommend pain medication and physical therapy, Costochondritis is inflammation of the cartilage that holds the ribs together. It is a common condition, particularly in adults aged 40–50, and it causes pain in the chest wall, sometimes at the back of the ribs.
heat therapylocal or oral pain medicationscapsaicin creamphysical therapy
For many people with costochondritis, the issue improves in a few weeks, However, because the symptoms can be similar to those of a heart condition, it is vital to speak with a doctor. Preexisting conditions, such as osteoporosis, can weaken the ribs so that they break more easily, often during less intensive activities.
Osteoporosis causes the bones to lose the minerals that they need to stay strong. With a low mineral density, bones can fracture spontaneously or when the person is coughing. It is a common condition in older adults, especially in females. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 12.6% of adults over 50 had osteoporosis in 2017–2018.
The figure for females only was 19.6%. The symptoms of osteoporosis include soreness and pain. Healthcare professionals often diagnose the issue with X-rays. They may also test a person’s kidney and thyroid function. Some treatment options for osteoporosis include:
doing gentle strength trainingreducing alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking, if applicabletaking calcium and vitamin D3 supplementstaking medications that reduce the risk of fractures
Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain in the muscles and bones. People may also have specific tender points. Researchers are unsure what causes it, but it is more common in females than in males. Beyond the pain, fibromyalgia often occurs with:
fatigue headaches paresthesia, which is a numb or burning sensation, usually in the extremities depression anxiety cognitive disturbances, such as problems processing and remembering information
Because fibromyalgia has such diverse symptoms, doctors may recommend a variety of interventions, including:
improving sleep quality practicing relaxation techniquesstarting cognitive behavioral therapy getting regular cardiovascular exercisetaking medications, including antidepressants and anticonvulsants
Gallstones are hardened deposits in the gallbladder, They sometimes cause no symptoms, but they can also move and block the ducts of the gallbladder, leading to problems. Gallstones can cause pain, especially when they block ducts. The classic presentation is pain in the upper right part of the stomach, under or around the ribs.
Some people also feel the pain in their back, such as between their shoulder blades. The pain may be intense, though it is mild for some people. It usually develops shortly after a meal and lasts for a few hours, A person may also have nausea and vomiting or jaundice, This yellowing of the eyes and skin signals that the gallstones are affecting the liver.
It may also cause dark urine. A blocked gallbladder duct can become a medical emergency. Anyone with gallstones should receive prompt medical attention for any intense abdominal pain, especially if there is jaundice. A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood vessel in a lung is blocked, often by a blood clot.
- A person may initially notice pain and swelling in one leg when the clot blocks a blood vessel there.
- If the clot breaks loose, it can travel to the lungs.
- Pulmonary embolisms are serious and relatively common.
- Research shows that they are responsible for around 100,000 deaths per year in the United States, and this figure is rising.
Aside from pain in the back of the ribs, a pulmonary embolism can cause the following symptoms:
coughing, which may bring up blood sweatingheadaches and lightheadednessshortness of breathrapid breathinganxietyan irregular heartbeat
A pulmonary embolism is a life threatening emergency that requires immediate treatment. Typically, treatment involves blood thinning medication, which makes it harder for clots to form. A person who cannot tolerate this approach receives a different medication that prevents the blood from clotting.
- Certain health conditions that affect the lungs can also cause back rib pain.
- For example, pleurisy, or inflammation of the lining of the lungs, can cause pain in the chest, shoulders, and back ribs.
- Researchers know that several underlying issues can cause pleurisy.
- For this reason, the treatments are varied.
Lung cancer can also cause pain in the chest and ribs. It is life threatening and a leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. Other symptoms of lung cancer include coughing, which may bring up blood, and shortness of breath. The best course of treatment depends on the cancer’s type and stage, as well as factors specific to each individual.
The pain worsens.It remains after a few days of home treatment.It limits the ability to move.It occurs with a fever, chills, vomiting, nausea, or other symptoms.
People who think that they may have gallstones should call a healthcare professional and ask if their symptoms are signs of an emergency. But anyone with intense gallstone pain should go to an emergency room. In general, seek emergency treatment if:
The pain is so severe that it limits the ability to function.It occurs with jaundice.It occurs with trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain.The person feels very sick.Any symptoms rapidly worsen over several hours.
Minor injuries can cause pain in the back ribs. These injuries are not usually dangerous, and they often heal on their own. However, this pain can also stem from a more serious health condition. This is especially likely if the pain is very intense, comes on suddenly, with no clear cause, or occurs with other symptoms.
What is the stabbing pain on the side of my ribs?
Your left ribs protect the organs that sit below them, like your heart and your stomach. Pain in this area can be caused by injury, infection, or an underlying condition. If you have pain in your chest, you might worry about a serious condition, such as a heart attack.
While it’s true that pain under your left ribs can be a heart attack symptom, discomfort in that area is not always related to your heart. Depending on the cause, left rib pain might feel sharp and stabbing, or dull and aching. For many people, pain in this area is due to a benign (not harmful), treatable cause.
But if you’re having chest pain, it’s best to see a doctor or healthcare professional to make sure it’s nothing serious. Read on to learn about possible causes of left rib pain, diagnosis, and treatments. Chest pain can sometimes signal a medical emergency, such as a heart attack,
pain, discomfort, or a heavy feeling in your chest, usually in the middle or on the left sidepain or discomfort in your neck, jaw, shoulders, arms, back, or above your belly button shortness of breath sweating fatiguenausea and vomiting lightheadedness or dizziness fast or irregular heart rate
If you think you could be having a heart attack, call 911 or local emergency services right away. Your rib cage consists of 24 ribs — 12 on the left and 12 on the right side of your body. Their function is to protect your organs that lie beneath them. On the left side, this includes your heart, left lung, pancreas, spleen, stomach, and left kidney.
When any of these organs are infected, inflamed, or injured, pain can radiate under and around your left rib cage. It’s also possible to injure your ribs themselves. Costochondritis refers to inflammation of the cartilage that attaches your ribs to your breastbone. This condition doesn’t always have a clear cause.
It can happen for several reasons, such as:
an infectionan injurysevere coughing
Costochondritis causes a sharp, stabbing pain that’s usually felt on the left side of your rib cage. It may get worse when you cough, sneeze, or press on your ribs. A forceful blow or injury to your chest is the most common cause of bruised or broken ribs,
a collapsed lung injuries to your blood vessels or organs, such as your spleen flail chest, which is a medical emergency that happens when you have many fractures in your ribs
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are two different digestive conditions. The causes of IBS and IBD aren’t fully known. IBS and IBD both cause persistent, long-term pain in your abdomen, which is the area from your chest down to your hips.
It’s possible for IBS or IBD to cause pain under your left ribs. These conditions also cause digestive symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhea, and gas. Symptoms may come and go. IBS symptoms tend to improve after you have a bowel movement. IBD is a more serious condition that causes physical changes to your intestines.
A doctor can see these changes using imaging tests, Your pancreas is a gland located near your small intestine, on the left side of your belly. It makes insulin, which your body uses to turn sugar into energy. It also releases digestive juices into your small intestine to help break down food you’ve eaten.
injurylong-term heavy alcohol use gallstones
Pain caused by pancreatitis can happen suddenly (acute pancreatitis), or it can slowly get worse over time (chronic pancreatitis). Additional symptoms of pancreatitis include:
feverfast heart ratenauseavomitingweight loss jaundice
It’s important to treat pancreatitis to prevent serious complications. Your spleen also sits in the left side of your body, near your rib cage. This organ is an important part of your immune system. It produces white blood cells that fight infection, and it processes other parts of your blood. An enlarged spleen, also called splenomegaly, can cause symptoms such as:
pain or discomfortbloatingfeeling full after eating only a small amount of food
Several things can cause an enlarged spleen, including:
viral infections, such as mononucleosis bacterial infections, such as syphilis parasitic infections, such as malaria blood diseasesliver diseases
Sometimes, your spleen can rupture, usually as a result of trauma. It’s a medical emergency, and you should get medical attention immediately. If your spleen ruptures, the area might feel tender when you touch it. In addition to pain, other signs and symptoms can include:
low blood pressure dizzinessblurry visionnausea
More rarely, a splenic infarct happens when a portion of your spleen necrotizes or “dies.” This happens when the blood supply is lowered or stopped, usually as a result of an injury or conditions that affect your blood. Your kidneys are part of your urinary tract.
They’re located on either side of your spine, but when they become inflamed or infected, the pain can radiate to the front of your body. When your left kidney is involved, you might feel pain near the left side of your rib cage. Kidney stones are hardened calcium and salt deposits that form into stones.
They can cause a cramping pain as they move out of your kidneys and make their way toward your bladder. In addition to pain in your left rib cage, kidney stones can also cause:
an urge to urinate, with little urine coming out bloody or cloudy urinepain in your side that radiates to the front of your body
Kidney infections occur when bacteria from your urinary tract make their way into your kidneys. This usually happens due to a bladder infection, Additional symptoms of a kidney infection can include fever and nausea. If you’re having symptoms of a kidney problem, it’s important to see a doctor.
You can get a diagnosis and start any treatment that may be needed. Your heart is surrounded by a fluid-filled sac called the pericardium. Pericarditis refers to inflammation of this sac. This can cause a dull ache or a stabbing pain that’s usually worse when you’re lying down. Pericarditis can also cause a high fever,
Researchers aren’t sure why it happens, but it often occurs after you’ve had a viral infection. Pericarditis can lead to complications if it is not treated. Pleurisy happens when the tissue that surrounds your lungs becomes inflamed. Causes of pleurisy include:
pneumonia blood clot in your lung injurycancer that has spread from another part of your body to the tissue surrounding your lungscancers that specifically affect the tissue surrounding your lungs, such as mesothelioma
Pleurisy on your left side may cause pain under your left rib cage, but the main symptom is a sharp, stabbing pain when you breathe. Be sure to see a doctor if you experience any intense chest pain while breathing, To figure out what’s causing pain in your left rib cage, a doctor will give you a physical exam that includes feeling the affected area.
This will help them check for any signs of swelling or inflammation that might be caused by conditions such as costochondritis. If they suspect the pain could be due to a heart problem, a doctor might use an electrocardiogram to measure the electrical activity in your heart. This will help to rule out any serious underlying condition.
Next, they may take blood, stool, or urine samples for testing. Analyzing these results can alert a doctor to signs of kidney problems, pancreatitis, or gastritis. If the cause of your rib cage pain still isn’t clear, you may need an imaging test, such as:
ultrasound CT scan X-ray endoscopy
This will give a doctor a better view of your bones, organs, and tissues.
Where is lung pain felt in the back?
Difference between back pain and a lung pain. – While back pain and a lung pain have similar symptoms, they’re caused by different things. Back pain is usually a dull ache in the lower back, which may radiate to the buttocks and legs. It can be caused by an injury or other conditions like arthritis or sciatica (nerve irritation).
How do I know if I pulled a muscle or broken a rib?
Check if you have a bruised or broken rib – Broken or bruised ribs are usually caused by a fall, a blow to the chest or severe coughing. Symptoms include:
strong pain in your chest area, particularly when you breathe inswelling or tenderness around the affected ribssometimes bruising on the skinfeeling or hearing a crack if it’s a broken rib
Ribs cannot be easily splinted or supported like other bones, so they’re usually left to heal naturally. There’s often no need for an X-ray.
How long does muscular rib pain take to heal?
How Long Does It Take to Recover? – The recovery time for a muscle strain in the ribs can take around two weeks for a mild strain, three to four weeks for a moderate strain, and up to eight weeks for a severe strain. Even if there is a muscle tear, these injuries usually don’t take longer than eight weeks to heal.
Could I have pulled a muscle in my rib cage?
The intercostal muscles and causes of strain – Your intercostal muscles are the muscles between your ribs. They allow your ribcage to expand and contract so you can breathe. But if they stretch too far or tear, intercostal muscle strain is the end result. You can strain the intercostal muscles suddenly or by doing certain movements over and over. Common causes include:
Coughing. Exercises or sports with repetitive movements, twisting, lifting or stretching. Injuries to the chest from a fall or hard hit. Twisting beyond your normal range of motion.
“Breathing can be painful, especially deep breaths,” says Dr. Morgan. “But what muddies the picture is that sometimes, painful breathing can be a sign of something serious, such as pneumonia or a blood clot in the lung. So we often end up doing X-rays to make sure there isn’t something else going on.”