Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why is my rib cage hurting? Possible Causes

Pain in rib cage is essentially very dreadful as it can bring sufferer an unbelievable discomfort. It can occur at any place from the chest area to the upper and middle back. The Rib cage is very essential part of our body that protects internal organs - lungs, heart, kidney, spleen, liver, and assists with breathing. The human rip cage is covered with 24 rips in 12 pairs, which are attached to a vertebra in the spine, from which only two lower pairs are attached to the spinal column in the backside. The pain is significant when damage happens because the skeletons are structured with lots of nerve endings. Pain under the rib cage may be experienced as a result of variety of mild to serious conditions, diseases and disorders like liver damage, gallbladder disease, crohn's disease, costochondritis, liver cancer, bone cancer, etc. But often, it happens by reason of serious injuries like strained or broken ribs or pulled muscles and tendons. It does not occur at any particular age, so any age of people may become hunted of this dreadful experience.

Why is my rib cage hurting? Possible Causes

Normally, pain hurts when you touch that particular area, but in case of rib cage pain, patient hurts constantly 24/7, as it not only includes ribs, but also the tissue, ligaments, nerves that entail in whole part from the front to the back and the top to the bottom of rib cage. It hurts so badly that noting can be worn around the rib cage. It hurts more when you talk, laugh, and take deep breathe. A pain like this can continue for days or even weeks and even can travel from the shoulders, arms and back to your ribs. Sometimes, it is caused by low oxygen levels and high carbon dioxide levels that you can find out only through medical testing.

When you feel pain in the ribs, it is important to be evaluated by a physician because the problem may be small and insignificant or it could be big and serious. Diagnosis of rib cage pain depends upon cause and sickness allied to pain in ribs. You should treat and diagnose rib pain as quickly as possible if you are suffering with it. Here are enlisted the possible causes of rib cage pain with detailed info.

Common symptoms of rib pain:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Body aches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain in the arm, shoulder or back
  • Restricted mobility of the shoulders or back
  • Pain when you twist or bend your torso

Serious symptoms of rib pain:

  • High fever (Greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Bewilderment, dizziness, or change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
  • Chest pain while breathing or coughing
  • Chest pain, which may spread to the left arm, jaw, shoulder or back
  • Chest pressure, tightness, cramping, or a tearing sensation in the chest
  • Heart palpitations or a fluttering in the chest
  • Cold, clammy skin or cyanosis, a bluish color of the skin, lips or nails
  • Coughing up yellow-green phlegm (mucus)
  • Respiratory or breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, complexity breathing, labored breathing, wheezing
  • Rough, earsplitting or raucous sound when breathing
Causes of Rib Cages pain

Broken or fractured rib:

The first cause of Rib pain is broken or fractured rib, which can occur anywhere in the rib cage due to the car accident or drinking too much eggnog, athletic competition, falling off the table, etc. You cannot treat this difficult condition without the help of a doctor and his/her x-ray machine. He/she can also get major pain, even while motionless, and taking a deep breath may feel unfeasible because of the intense pain that escort the action. It becomes worse, when the chest is twisted, moved or stretched. The injured part will be possibly tender and sensitive to touch. If you think that you have broken rib, then immediately visit doctor, despite of the fact that most broken ribs cure without special attention. In this condition, Anti-inflammatory medicine, ice packs, hot water bottle or heating pad becomes helpful to reduce the pain, tightness and swelling.

Bruised rib:

The main cause of bruised rib is a blow to the chest. Mostly, it can occur through sports and other arduous “contact” activities. The pain of Bruised rib can be little harsh and can remain for several weeks. In the bruised rip condition, person gets significant pain in surrounding muscles and rib cage cartilage, pain while taking a deep breath, and even the tell-tale signs of bruising on the skin over your ribs, such as dark discoloration and a bit of minor swelling. Bruised rib can be cured without need for treatment; you just need to control your movements as much as possible until the affected tissues have cured properly. Meanwhile, patient can take anti-inflammatory medicine to cut the pain and swelling that may have happened as well as apply ice packs at least 20 minutes every hour after the injury.


Pleurisy happen when thin layers of tissue membrane the lungs swell and rib cage. When coating becomes tender, it causes pain which can be very intense sometimes. It can be also happened as a result of list of other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, a chest injury, pulmonary embolism, and bacterial or viral infection of the lower respiratory system. The most common symptoms of Pleurisy is pain in only one part of chest, less pain when holding breath, increased pain when coughing, moving and sneezing suddenly that may widen to the abdomen or shoulder. The treatment for pleurisy depends on the cause, but in most cases, doctor recommend patients to use aspirin, ibuprofen, or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

Costochondritis is a disorder that causes pain in the cartilage that attaches the breastbone to the ribs on left and right side. Pain caused by costochondritis may impersonate the pain experienced in heart attack or other heart conditions. There are many causes attached with this condition like referred pain, injury, fibromyalgia and infection. It can also cause trouble breathing, and even hurt when coughing and breathing deeply. You can come out from this type of condition through physical exam and by preventing other conditions that can cause similar signs. Mostly, doctor prescribes NSAIDS, muscle relaxers, and tricyclic antidepressants to cut the pain and feel relax.

MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Hug:

Many of us may not believe in this cause, but it is fact that the MS hug is very sore and itchy symptom of multiple sclerosis. It happens due to the injury on the spinal cord. The pain caused by the MS hug is sharp, burning, crushing, and squeezing as well creates difficulties to breathe normally.

Several other causes if your rib cages hurt:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
  • High carbon dioxide levels and acidosis
  • Injury to organs and structures in your chest including your arteries, lungs, kidneys, liver and spleen
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Tuberculosis
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory failure and respiratory arrest
  • Sepsis
  • Shock
  • Congenital cardiac anomalies, disorders and birth defects, such as coarctation of the aorta and aortic valve stenosis
  • Coronary artery diseases (heart disease) including coronary artery spasm or angina due to atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries)
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction), and many more


You don't appear to show any reference to Tietze’s syndrome.
As a sufferer myself I can assure you this is a very real and painful condition affecting the rib cage.

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