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Which Doctor To Consult For Rib Cage Pain

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Possible Conditions Causing Rib Cage Pain

Slipping rib syndrome and costochondritis treatment with Prolotherapy

Our app works by showing you how doctors have diagnosed symptoms like rib cage pain in people like you in the past. But since weve had over 8,000 chats with users who reported pain in their ribs, we took a look at the conditions most commonly associated with this symptom.

Heres what you need to know about these conditions:

  • Injuries: Musculoskeletal chest pain can be caused by trauma or injury to the ribs, intercostal muscles, or skin and other tissues overlying the ribs. This is very common. Costochondritis, or inflammation of the cartilage that connects your ribs to your breast bone, is another musculoskeletal cause of rib pain.
  • Infections: Infections including upper respiratory infection, bronchitis, or pneumonia can also cause pain in your ribs. In this case, the pain may be caused by the infection itself, a pulled rib muscle from coughing, or by pleuritis, or inflammation of your pleura, the inside chest wall. Other causes of pleuritis include autoimmune disorders, certain medications, or injury to your ribs or adjacent structures.

When To Visit A Doctor

  • Pain in the rib cage can be attributed to many underlying injuries or medical conditions. A person should always see a doctor in all cases of unexplained chest pain.
  • If chest pain or pressure is severe and breathing becomes difficult, a person should seek emergency medical attention as these symptoms may indicate a heart attack.
  • What Are The Common Causes Of Costochondritis

    The basic problem is inflammation but the cause of this is unknown for most people. There are some situations that are associated with inflammation and they include:

    • Chest infections of varying types.
    • Large physical efforts, like lifting heavy objects or repeated bouts of coughing.
    • Accidents which hit the chest, like falls or car accidents.
    • Some types of arthritis.

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    How Does The Chest Wall Work

    To understand costochondritis, you need to know a bit about the way the rib cage is put together. The rib cage is a bony structure that protects the lungs. Bones are hard and solid and they can’t bend or move much. Your lungs, however, need to move, so that you can breathe.

    When you take a deep breath in, your rib cage expands. In order for the ribs to expand, they need something to allow movement. Cartilage allows this. Cartilage is a softer, flexible material found in joints around the body.

    Cartilages attach the ribs to the breastbone and the breastbone to the collarbones . The joints between the ribs and the cartilages are called the costochondral joints. Those between the cartilages and the breastbone are called costosternal joints. Those between the breastbone and the collarbones are called the sternoclavicular joints.

    The prefix ‘costo’ simply means related to the ribs. ‘Chondr-‘ means related to the cartilage and ‘-itis’ means inflammation. So, in costochondritis, there is inflammation in either the costochondral, costosternal or sternoclavicular joints . This causes pain, which tends to be worse when you move, or when you press down on the affected part.

    ‘Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved.’

    When To See Your Doctor

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    Rib cage pain may be apparent with no movement. You may also experience sharp pain when breathing in or when moving into a certain position.

    Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain when breathing in or moving your body into a specific position, or if you have any difficulty breathing.

    If you feel pressure or have pain in your chest along with rib cage discomfort, call 911. These symptoms may be the sign of an impending heart attack.

    If youve recently fallen and you have difficulty and pain while breathing, along with significant bruising in your chest area, call 911 immediately as well.

    If you need help finding a primary care doctor or a specialist, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.

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    Symptoms To Watch For

    Since there are a variety of causes that can lead to pain in your ribs, it can be helpful to chat with a doctor about any other symptoms youre experiencing. These symptoms can be clues to whats causing your pain.

    The following are just some of the symptoms that often appear with pain in the ribs:

    • Skin changes outside the ribs, like bruising
    • Shoulder blade pain

    What Is The Main Cause Of Sciatica

    When the sciatic nerve is pinched, it can cause sciatica. This condition typically results from a herniation of the spine or an overgrowth of bone known as bone spurs on the spinal bones. Tumors can have a small impact on the nerves more frequently than others. Diabetes, for example, can damage the nerve.

    Sciatica: What You Should Know

    You must keep track of your sciatica symptoms in order to remain healthy. It will allow you to track your progress and make informed decisions about how to treat your condition based on any changes you notice. Compression of the sciatic nerve is one of the causes of sciatica. A variety of factors, such as arthritis, herniation, and tumors, can compress the nerve in the back of the leg, resulting in a compressed nerve. It usually takes a month or two for sciatica to resolve itself on its own, but if it does not, it is important to see a doctor. If the sciatica is caused by a herniated disc, surgery may be the best option. If the sciatica is caused by arthritis or a tumor, you may need to take medications or injections to relieve the pain.

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    Causes Of Pain Under Right Rib Cage

    Under your right rib cage are your liver, gallbladder, right kidney, and your right lung. Any inflammation or infection in these organs may cause pains in your back and upper abdomen. Because your heart is located in the middle of your chest, slightly to the left, heart-related pains usually cause pain under the left rib cage.

    How To Address Your Rib Pain And Possible Treatments

    Costochondritis (Rib Cage Inflammation) | Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

    Your rib cage is a collection of bones and tissues, and any of these components can cause rib pain, so its important to explore the cause. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help with pain. If your pain is caused by cough, you can try a cough suppressant. While I always recommend a personal assessment, here are the most common ways people address their pain:

    • Speak to a primary care doctor: Most people with rib cage pain are evaluated by a primary care doctor, who will ask them questions, examine them, and order any appropriate tests, like an x-ray of the ribs.
    • Take over-the-counter painkillers: Try taking anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen .
    • Try a cough suppressant: If your pain is associated with a cough, you could try a cough suppressant, such as dextromethorphan to give your ribs a rest from the coughing motion.
    • Watch for serious symptoms: Rib or chest pain may be a sign of a serious health issue, so its important to seek care if you have severe pain, especially if associated with other symptoms like difficulty breathing, fainting, irregular heartbeat, or profuse sweating.

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    What Could Be The Cause Of Chronic Cough At Night And In Early Morning How Can I Stop The Cough

    Thank you for your question. Im sorry to hear that your mother is suffering from a prolonged and problematic cough which can be a complex condition. Coughing is a reflex that protects your upper airway and lungs from irritants such as excessive mucous and foreign bodies. When persistent, it is often a symptom of a condition, ranging from conditions arising from the nose & sinuses , lungs , throat and stomach to side effects from medications or smoking.

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    The Sciatic Nerve: Causes Pain In More Than Just Your Spine And Legs

    When you have sciatica, it can affect more than just your spine and legs. The condition can also cause pain in your ribs. This is because the sciatic nerve runs from your lower back all the way down to your feet. If the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated, it can cause pain in any part of your body that it innervates.

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    How Is Costochondritis Treated

    Remember that you should always see a healthcare provider if youre experiencing chest pain. Its vital to get the right diagnosis so you can receive the best treatment.

    Your healthcare provider might first recommend over-the-counter medications that can help reduce the swelling and pain in your chest. Medications include:

    Take one dose two to three times per day, or as your healthcare provider recommends.

    If those dont help with your pain and swelling, your healthcare provider may prescribe:

    • Corticosteroids, an anti-inflammatory injection.
    • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation . TENS is a small device that uses electric currents to treat pain.

    What Could Happen When You Break A Rib

    Costochondritis ICD9 Code

    Your ribs have two main jobs:

    • They help protect the organs in your chest.
    • They help you breathe by keeping space open inside your chest while the muscles you use to breathe squeeze in, or contract. This leaves plenty of space for your lungs to fill up with air.

    The muscles used for breathing pull on the ribs, so breathing may be very painful when you have a fractured rib.

    It is important to see a doctor after a rib injury. A blow that is hard enough to fracture a rib could also injure your lungs, spleen, blood vessels, or other parts of your body. A common injury when you have a fractured rib is a punctured or collapsed lung .

    Flail chest is a serious problem that happens when three or more ribs are broken in more than one place. If you have flail chest, the broken area can’t hold its shape when you take a breath. This leaves less space in your chest for your lungs to open and air to flow in. It also makes it harder for the muscles to work well, so it’s harder to take a breath.

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    Sciatica Pain Below The Rib Cage

    Although sciatica is most commonly associated with pain in the lower back and legs, it can also cause pain below the rib cage. This is because the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body, extends from the lower back all the way down to the feet. When this nerve becomes compressed or irritated, it can cause pain in any part of the body that it innervates. Sciatica below the rib cage is relatively rare, but it can occur.

    It is possible that rib pain is caused by a problem in the spine, even if the pain is more intense in the chest or abdomen. Here are some of the possible causes of rib pain that may be caused by a faulty mid-spine, also known as the thoracic spine.

    It is almost always possible to experience Sciatica pain along the nerve pathway. The back of a thigh and calf will almost certainly lead to a path from the low back to the buttock. A mild ache can be followed by a severe, burning pain.

    On the left side of the body, pain under the left rib cage is commonly associated with infection or inflammation in the stomach, as well as injury to any other organs .

    Sciatica symptoms tend to be limited to one leg at a time, and they are most common in the lower back or buttock, as well as down the leg. There is a chance of pain in the front, back, and/or sides of the thigh and leg as a result of sciatica.

    What Causes Pain From Structures Of The Rib Cage

    The rib cage consists of 12 ribs on each side. Of these, 10 attach to the spine in the back and the breastbone in the front. The bottom two are floating ribs. They have attachments in the back but not in the front.

    This system of bones supports your skeleton and protects your internal organs, including the heart and lungs. Ribs play a critical role in breathing.

    Injury or inflammation affecting the rib cage can result in pain. However, pain can also occur without injury.

    Rib cage pain can stem from various parts of your rib cage, such as the:

    • connective tissue between the ribs and the breastbone
    • membrane that lines the inside of the chest
    • muscles between the ribs
    • nerves of the chest wall

    The sections below discuss conditions that cause pain related to rib cage parts.

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    Nerve Pain In The Arm

    An issue with the nerves supplying the areas of the arm, particularly the fingers and hands, is frequently the source of arm pain. The brachial plexus, which stretches from the spine to the shoulders, arms, forearms, and hands, is a group of nerves that regulate the muscles of the shoulder, arm, forearm, and hand.

    What Is A Broken Rib

    Cervical Rib – A hand at risk | Dr. Robbie George

    A broken rib is a crack or break in one of the bones of the rib cage. A break in the thick tissue that connects the ribs to the breastbone may also be called a broken rib, even if the bone itself is not broken.

    The most common cause of a broken rib is a direct blow to the chest, often from a car accident or a fall. Coughing hard can also break a rib. This is more likely to happen if you have a disease that has made your bones weak, such as osteoporosis or cancer.

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    Muscle Sprains Or Strains

    Sprains and strains of intercostal musclescan cause sharp or dull rib cage pain. There may be an obvious stretching and tearing injury.

    Sometimes, the injury is not obvious, only the pain. The pain may worsen when you cough or take a deep breath. It may also be painful to press over the injured area.

    Resting the muscle, icing the area, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help.

    Costochondritis Treatment And Home Remedies

    Home Remedies for Costochondritis

    These home remedies may provide relief from costochondritis:

    • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen as needed
    • Using local heat or ice to relieve pain
    • Avoiding unnecessary exercise or activities that make the symptoms worse avoiding contact sports until there is improvement in symptoms, and then returning to normal activities only as tolerated

    Your doctor may suggest the following:

    • Prescription-strength NSAIDs.
    • A local anesthetic and steroid injection in the area that is tender if normal activities become very painful and the pain doesnât get better with medicine.
    • Narcotics like hydrocodone/acetaminophen or oxycodone/acetaminophen can help with extreme pain, but, as with any narcotics, thereâs danger of becoming addicted to them.
    • Steroids. Your doctor can give you a corticosteroid shot directly into a painful joint, but thatâs considered something of a last resort.
    • Tricyclic antidepressants or cyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline can help ease pain, but they also can have side effects, like weight gain and drowsiness.
    • Antiseizure drugs, usually gabapentin , are typically used to treat epilepsy, but they also may help with costochondritis.
    • Infectious costochondritis should be treated with IV antibiotics. Afterward, antibiotics by mouth or by IV should be continued for another 2 to 3 weeks. You should see a doctor during recovery, and then once a year.

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    Signs And Symptoms Of Rib Injuries

    In addition to pain while breathing in and out and tenderness to a specific area of ribs mentioned earlier, there are other signs and symptoms that you have sustained a rib injury. You may also experience chest or back pain more generally, and even experience swelling and bruising in the area. Depending on the cause of the rib injuries, such as a severe cough or illness, you may also experience pain while sneezing or coughing. Any time you experience difficulty breathing you should seek medical care.

    Rib injuries can vary depending on how they were caused, and therefore their signs and symptoms may present differently. For example, an extreme force like an airbag going off in the event of a car accident can sometimes injure your ribs. An immediate blow to the area in the case of a car accident or perhaps a sports injury or even a fall can cause extreme and instant pain. However, other types of signs and symptoms of a rib injury can develop more gradually, like when you are sick and coughing or vomiting a lot, which puts a lot of strain on the ribcage. Consistently poor posture over time can also cause a rib dislocation as your muscles and supportive tissues become unable to sustain the strain.

    Can Back Pain Cause Your Ribs To Hurt

    Image Off Under Ribs Front And Back Human : Arthritis In The Back ...

    Mid-back injuries are frequently accompanied by rib pain, according to studies. rib cage and ribs are both located on the spine. As a result, if you experience pain in one area, it may cause pain in the other. It is not uncommon for your back or ribs to be extremely tender after being injured.

    The thoracic spine is made up of two parts: the cervical spine, which connects the neck , and the low back, which connects the ribs. The pain is most commonly felt in the back of the rib, but it can also be felt all the way to the front. This pain in the upper back can be accompanied by other symptoms as well. Any of these structures may be affected by pain in the ribs and back. Discs in the thoracic spine serve as shock absorbers for the spinal bones, just like in the neck and lower back. The spinal nerves can become damaged, causing them to bulge and irritating the nerves. Joints in the ribs that meet up with the next above or below can become injured or have arthritis as a result of the meeting.

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