Rib Back Pain

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Rib Back Pain
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.

When should I be concerned about rib pain?

6. Pulmonary embolism – A pulmonary embolism (PE) is when an artery going into the lungs becomes blocked. The blockage is often caused by a blood clot that has traveled up from one of the legs. As well as rib cage pain, PE can cause the following symptoms:

shortness of breathrapid breathingcoughing, including coughing up blood anxiety lightheadednesssweatingirregular heartbeat

PE is a serious condition that can damage the lungs and other organs due to reduced oxygen in the blood. Anyone who experiences the symptoms of PE should see a doctor. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute estimate that 30 percent of people who develop PE will die if they do not receive treatment.

Fortunately, a quick diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications. The rib cage consists of 24 ribs, 12 on either side, and it shields the organs of the chest, including the heart and the lungs, from damage. The ribs are attached to the breastbone, which is the long bone that runs down the center of the chest.

They are attached at the front, by cartilage, which is a firm yet flexible tissue. At the back, they are attached to the spine. The liver is located at the lower end of the rib cage on the right and the spleen is on the left. Both are given some protection by the rib bones.

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The gallbladder and kidneys lie just below the rib cage. If any of the components of the rib cage, including the bones or cartilage, or the organs nearby are affected by injury or illness, a person will have pain in or near the rib cage. Rib cage pain may occur in the chest, below the ribs, or above the naval.

As there are several different causes of rib cage pain, the symptoms can vary. As a result, the pain may be:

sharpdullachingsuddenslow to developconstantintermittentworse when breathing in or moving

Other symptoms affecting the rib cage can include:

bruisingtendernessdifficulty breathing

Rib cage pain can be attributed to many underlying injuries or medical conditions. A person should always consult a doctor in any case of unexplained rib cage pain. If the pain or pressure in the chest is severe and breathing becomes difficult, a person should seek emergency medical treatment, as these symptoms could indicate a heart attack,

Can stress cause back rib pain?

Rib and back pain can be debilitating and painful, but why does this pain occur? We’ll discuss 7 common causes of this type of pain. Rib and back pain can range from troublesome to debilitating. Whether it’s an oncoming common cold or a strained intercostal muscle, pain throughout the torso and core could be a sign of deeper troubles to come. It’s important to get any pain in your chest checked out by a doctor – even if it feels relatively minor.

Why does the middle of my back and ribs hurt?

Mid/Upper Back, Rib & Chest Pain: Causes & Recommended Treatment – Mid and upper back pain, rib pain, and chest pain (possibly extending into the shoulder) are often caused by poor posture or daily repetitive activities that strain your muscular-skeletal system.

  1. If the pain begins gradually without explanation and worsens over a long period of time, this is the most likely cause.
  2. If the onset of pain occurs more suddenly, it could be related to a sudden injury or strain.
  3. The pain can be felt on one or both sides of the back, the shoulders, the chest or the ribs.

Stiffness in the shoulder, chest, and/or upper back due to muscle tightness can reduce the ability to perform basic tasks, such as getting dressed or driving. Taking over-the-counter medications can help in the short term, but it is far better to address the root cause of your back or chest pain and find longer-term relief.

How long does rib muscle strain 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.

What feels like a pulled muscle in ribs?

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We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness. An intercostal muscle injury can cause symptoms that include rib pain and tightness that gets worse with certain motions. What is an intercostal strain? Your intercostal muscles lie between your ribs, attaching them to one another.

They help stabilize your upper body and help you breathe. There are three layers of intercostal muscles: the external intercostals, the internal intercostals, and the innermost intercostals. A strain is when a muscle stretches, pulls, or is partially torn. A strain of any of the layers of the intercostal muscles can cause pain and difficulty breathing.

Muscle strains are a common cause of chest pain. From 21 to 49 percent of all musculoskeletal chest pain comes from the intercostal muscles. You can strain or pull your intercostal muscles in many different ways. These muscles are usually hurt during some twisting motion.

  • reaching, like when painting a ceiling
  • lifting while twisting
  • chopping wood
  • coughing or sneezing
  • participating in sports like rowing, golf, tennis, or baseball
  • falling
  • being hit in the ribcage, like in a car accident or during contact sports

Symptoms of intercostal muscle strain include:

  • Pain: You may feel a sharp pain at the time of injury, or it may come on more gradually. The pain will get worse when you twist, stretch, breathe in deeply, cough, or sneeze.
  • Tenderness: The area of the strain between your ribs will be sore to the touch.
  • Difficulty breathing: Because it’s so painful to breathe, you may find yourself taking small, shallow sips of air. This can leave you short of breath.
  • Swelling: A partially torn or strained muscle will become inflamed. You may see some swelling between and around the affected ribs.
  • Muscle tightness: The injured muscles may feel tight when you breathe, reach, or twist.

These symptoms can be similar to those of more serious problems, so schedule an appointment with your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and determine the underlying cause. If you think you’ve injured the muscles between your ribs, make an appointment with your doctor.

Is back rib pain serious?

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.

  1. Osteoporosis causes the bones to lose the minerals that they need to stay strong.
  2. With a low mineral density, bones can fracture spontaneously or when the person is coughing.
  3. It is a common condition in older adults, especially in females.
  4. 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:

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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.

Will rib pain go away on its own?

In most cases, a bruised rib will heal on its own. You can take pain medicine while the rib mends. Pain relief allows you to take deep breaths.

Can rib pain last for months?

Rib Injury Clinic As the most common chest wall injury, it is usually caused by a direct blow or from a fall leading to bruising of the muscle of the chest wall and/or a rib break (fracture). If the rib or ribs are broken, what part of the rib depends on type of injury and which ribs are involved though typically it is the part of the rib called the neck (towards the back) or the shaft (side of the chest) of the rib that is broken. Anatomy of the typical rib Rib cage showing the different types of rib depending on connection to sternum Pain – Often strong in the chest area despite an apparent minor injury, especially on deep breaths in. Worse on coughing, laughing and sneezing. Can persist for weeks. Breathing – Typically difficult to take a deep breath in and feeling of ‘catching’ breath or chest tightness often made worse with certain movements.

You may feel breathlessness when you exercise. Cough – Occasionally following the chest injury you may develop a persistent cough which often causes more pain. You may need a chest x-ray to exclude presence of fluid in the chest or developing lung infection. Fever – If after the injury you start feeling hot and shivery, particularly if you start coughing you may be developing a chest infection or have fluid in your chest.

Following the injury, depending on the severity of the injury it can cause immediate pain, swelling and bruising over the area injured and difficulty breathing. The chest typically hurts more when you take a deep breath in or with certain movements especially twisting.

  1. Coughing, sneezing or laughing also hurts more.
  2. If the rib is broken, you may feel or hear a ‘cracking’ sensation particularly on twisting.
  3. If the injury is minor, it can take up to 6 weeks for the pain and discomfort to settle.
  4. If the pain does not get better and is still affecting your breathing, there is a risk of developing a chest infection which can give you a persistent productive cough often with mucky green or yellowish sputum.

Sometimes, particularly if there are more than one rib broken or the ribs were badly broken (displaced) the pain and discomfort can persist for months. Chest x-ray showing several right-sided broken ribs and a collection of fluid or effusion in a middle-aged man with pain and breathlessness following a fall. He thought he might have ‘cracked’ a rib The diagnosis of a rib injury is what doctors call a clinical one; that is taking a precise history of the injury coupled with a careful physical examination with a doctor familiar with chest wall injuries is usually all that is required, particularly if it’s a minor rib injury.

There is no specific blood test unless an associated chest infection or other internal complication is suspected. Radiological assessment (chest x-ray) may be helpful to assess the severity of the rib injury and identify other associated problems such as fluid in the chest or a collapsed lung. If the injury is subtle occasionally a chest wall ultrasound may demonstrate a ‘hairline’ or partial rib fracture as well as identifying internal problems such a fluid (effusion), bruising of the lung (contusions) or lung collapse (pneumothorax).

The most sensitive radiological investigation particularly if more than one or two rib injuries is suspected, is a Chest CT scan. This allows the number and severity of the rib injuries to be clearly seen as well as identifying any other chest related injuries such as lung bruising or contusions. Following the Chest X-ray of the middle aged-man with pain and breathing issues he underwent a Chest CT scan and 3D reconstruction of his chest wall. This demonstrated 4 broken ribs from his fall. Video of a Chest CT scan showing multiple right sided broken ribs and lung bruising (contusions) from a ski accident.

  1. Patient had a chest drain inserted.
  2. Rib injuries vary significantly from a minor injury with associated pain and bruising to severe, multiple broken ribs and associated internal injuries.
  3. The type of injury and what happened is often the most useful guide to severity of rib injury.
  4. Mild: Type of injury: Minor such as knocking into object Symptoms: Mild with discomfort and no obvious bruising or swelling though tender to touch associated with no breathing issues.

Diagnosis: Often clinical, requiring no investigations. If discomfort persists, consider Chest x-ray or if Chest x-ray normal and/or clinically suspicious (persistent pain and tenderness) consider Ultrasound assessment. Moderate: Type of injury: More serious such as a fall Symptoms: Pain with breathing and obvious tenderness and/or bruising or swelling to the area of the chest.

Diagnosis: Clinical concerns of rib injury with or without signs of an obvious rib fracture/s, consider Chest x-ray or if associated with significant breathing concerns a Chest CT scan. Severe: Type of injury: Serious such as a fall from height (ladder or top of stairs) or road traffic accident as pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist, or driver Symptoms: Serious constant Pain with tenderness, bruising and/or swelling to the area of the chest.

Abnormal findings on chest examination. Diagnosis: Clinically significant chest injury and usually requires Chest CT scan to assess chest wall injury and any associated internal injuries. The classification of rib fractures is often based on the appearance of rib fractures on chest x-ray or commonly on Chest CT scan. Chest X-ray (left) and CT reconstruction showing two simple non-displaced rib fractures (blue rings) Chest CT demonstrating (in red circles) two non-displaced ‘simple’ rib fractures in different parts of the ribs Complex: Typically, multiple rib fractures, usually displaced where the broken ends are misaligned. If multiple adjacent ribs are broken in multiple places, part of the chest wall can become separated, creating a segment which is free-floating and moves independently. Chest X-ray showing multiple right sided rib fractures with several comminuted (broken in more than one place) fractures (blue ring) CT chest reconstruction (left) showing multiple displaced complex rib fractures (right) and flail segment (red rings) Chest CT demonstrating (red circle) a significantly displaced rib fracture with associated lung contusion Pain: Immediate (acute) and can be severe even after minor rib injuries, the area of rib injury is sore to touch and worse on certain movements.

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In most the pain will eventually settle, however occasionally it can persist and become chronic causing significant issues. Reasons of this include: Failure to manage appropriately after the initial injury, no or not enough painkillers, appropriate rest, restrictions of activity and tailored return to normal activities.

Rib fractures or any bone that fails to heal properly can lead to conditions called mal-union, delayed healing or non-union. Symptoms of a fracture that is not healing normally include tenderness, swelling, and an aching pain that may be felt deep within the affected bone.

Non-Union: Permanent failure of healing following a broken bone unless intervention (such as surgery) is performed. It may occur when the fracture moves too much (displaced), has a poor blood supply or gets infected Delayed Union: Defined as a failure to reach bony union by 6 months post-injury and includes fractures that are taking longer than expected to heal Mal-Union: Occurs when a fractured bone heals in an abnormal position, which can lead to impaired function of the bone or limb and make it look like it is ‘bent’

Chest CT scan showing a non-healed rib injury (non-union) and accompanying persistent pain Rib injury can cause associated complex rib injury involving a junction between sternum and rib leading to dislocation or subluxation at the junction. For more information see,

Breathlessness: Shortness of breath acutely is usually caused by the chest wall pain not allowing deep breaths to be taken, occasionally it can be associated with the lung collapsing after the injury; a build-up of fluid in the chest cavity (effusion) or even a developing chest infection (pneumonia).

Chronically, on-going breathlessness can be due to chronic pain but also occasionally to complications of retained blood or fluid in the chest cavity which can trap the lung. Internal injuries: Even relatively minor chest injuries can lead to internal injury to the lung (lung bruising (contusions), collapse (pneumothorax), effusions (blood or fluid) and rarely hernias (whether the lung or upper abdominal contents starts providing between broken ribs) or even a diaphragmatic (the muscle between the abdomen and the chest) hernia whereby the bowel contents slip into the chest from a hole or hernia in the diaphragm.

Symptoms typically include on-going pain and breathlessness, swelling if a chest wall hernia and diagnosis requires a chest x-ray or even a chest CT scan. Chest CT scan showing a developing chest wall hernia (red arrow) following multiple rib injuries of the lower chest wall 2 years earlier Rib injuries can be treated either conservatively involving rest, restrictions of activities and painkillers, or through some form of intervention including targeted physical therapy, trigger point injections or a variety of surgical options.

See, : Rib Injury Clinic

Can sleeping on side cause rib pain?

What Causes Rib Pain? – Rib pain can result from many different factors, some of which are more serious than others. If your rib pain only occurs after sleeping, you may want to consider your sleep position. Sleeping on your side can put excessive strain and pressure on your ribcage, arm, and shoulder and thus may be the cause of your aches and pains in the morning.

If you have a traditional flat mattress, this may exacerbate your pain even more. Consider upgrading to the SONU Sleep System to enjoy the revolutionary patented Comfort Channel and sink-in support system with a top layer of plush serene foam, resulting in an unforgettably comfortable sleeping experience.

That said, rib pain can sometimes be the result of something more serious. Here are a few other causes of rib pain.

Can lack of sleep cause rib pain?

How to Stop Your Anxiety Rib Pain – Most people suffering from this type of rib pain do anything they can to stop it. They try to stretch more, they try to sleep differently – when rib pain from anxiety is bothering you, there is a natural tendency to do anything possible to relieve it.

  1. There are a couple of problems with focusing on relieving rib pain.
  2. First, the rib pain is a result of your anxiety, not a health issue, so there’s no specific way to rid yourself of the rib pain specifically without working on relieving your overall anxiety.
  3. Second, relieving rib pain requires you to focus on your pain, but focusing on your pain can make it worse, causing more anxiety and potentially more rib pain.

Start by trying the following:

Distract Yourself – Because focusing on your rib pain makes you rib pain worse, a suitable distraction is important for reducing the impact that the pain has on you. Pain can also cause more anxiety, which can then cause more pain, so a distraction helps to break that cycle so that while the pain may not dissipate automatically, it will be less likely to be fueled by your fear. Get a Massage Massages are generally a stress relief tool. But their benefits for your rib pain go beyond that. Your body is only able to focus on one or two sensations at a time. During a massage, your mind is focused on the impact of the fingers. You may feel some rib pain, but it will be minimized by focusing on the other, better feelings that you experience during a massage. Give Your Pain an Excuse Exercise is an incredible anxiety relief tool, but it also does something very interesting to those living with physical anxiety symptoms. Exercise gives your brain an “excuse” for your feelings. When you exercise thoroughly and then experience pain in the rib or chest, your mind is able to explain it away by your exercise, so that you won’t ultimately experience anxiety as a result.

These are valuable tools for relieving anxiety. But they are only the first step, since they do very little to reduce your overall anxiety symptoms, and thus it’s unlikely that doing this will prevent you from experiencing rib pain again. That’s why you’ll have to focus on strategies that are specific to your anxiety. Sign up for our newsletter and get science-backed tips to better manage anxiety and boost your mental health. Nurture yourself with mental health advice that’s rooted in medical expertise. Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to us via this website may be placed by us on servers located in countries outside of the EU.

What can mimic rib pain?

Bronchitis, inflammation of the airway, and upper respiratory infections can also cause rib pain due to prolonged coughing. Pulmonary embolism : A pulmonary embolism (PE) or blood clot in the lung can also lead to irritation of the lining of the lung, also known as pleuritis, which can mimic rib pain.