Rib pain: Possible causes and when to worry

The rib pain is one of the most common discomforts and affecting the set of bones that, together with the vertebrae and sternum, form the rib cage. Although it is usually due to an overload of the joint or muscles of the area or to a blow, it is a pain that should not be underestimated because it may be a symptom of some other more severe health disorder.

rib pain

The pain in the ribs may be due to multiple causes, so consult your doctor if it persists for more than two days, becomes recurrent or occurs, for example, when coughing or breathing. The location of the pain (left or right rib pain, pain under the ribs …), its intensity and the symptoms that accompany it will determine the cause or complaint associated with the rib pain.

Symptoms of rib pain

The symptoms that should make us suspect of a problem related to the ribs are:

  • Pain when touching (not always appears immediately, in some cases is gradual).
  • Difficulties to move.
  • Oppression in the chest, especially when breathing or coughing.
  • Appearance of a lump or bulge in the waist or abdomen.
  • A feeling of shortness of breath when trying to breathe deeply.

Pain in the floating ribs

The floating ribs are two pairs of ribs located in the lower part of the rib cage, only attached to the vertebrae, and which can be removed in aesthetic surgery to define the waist. The floating ribs have a very delicate structure so that, in the event of a sudden movement or blow, it can become inflamed or move slightly causing intense pain.

Pain in the ribs when breathing

The pain caused by costochondritis becomes more intense when breathing, even makes it difficult to perform any movement. It can be accompanied by inflammation and take weeks to remit fully. Costochondritis may be associated with other disorders, such as psoriatic arthritis, or appear from stress or after suffering a hard emotional blow.

Rib pain when coughing

It can be due to a small fissure produced by a sudden movement or by a blow or contusion in the area of the ribs. Even having a cough for several days in a row can cause some small fissure in the ribs.

Pain in the left side ribs

The most common cause of pain in the left ribs is an injury or fracture, but not the only one, since when the pain is located on the left side and under the ribs it may be associated with a problem of the spleen.

Pain under the ribs

Pain below the ribs may be associated with two mostly female disorders, due to its biggest predominance between the women. It is about fibromyalgia and osteoporosis. In the first case, damage to muscle tissues can cause pain in the ribs. Osteoporosis, by weakening bone structures and reducing bone mineral density, can cause pain under the ribs and on the left side. Gastroesophageal reflux can also cause localized pain in the same area.

Pain in the right ribs

The rib pain on the right side may be associated with kidney problems, pancreas, appendicitis or a bone disorder in the area of the ribs or hip.