Potential Causes of Rib Cage Pain

November 17, 2017 in STSMPT

The rib cage refers to the 24 rib bones that protect the organs of the chest. Pain in the rib cage can occur in the chest, below the ribs, or above the navel. Rib cage pain is a common complaint among people. There are several conditions that can cause rib cage pain. It’s important to outline the potential causes as some of them can be serious and require medical attention. Below are some of those causes.

  • Injury: Broken, bruised, fractured ribs, or pulled muscles qualify as injury.
  • Pleurisy: Inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
  • Costochondritis: Inflammation of rib cage cartilage.
  • Lung Cancer.
  • Fibromyalgia: A common area for fibromyalgia related pain is the ribcage.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Pulmonary embolism: When an artery going into the lungs gets blocked.

There are more causes, but these are some of the common ones. Because of the varying causes of rib pain, pain manifests in different ways. Some pains may be sharp or dull, aching or sudden. It depends on what specifically is causing the pain. Some of these conditions, such as pleurisy and costochondritis, usually sort themselves out in a few weeks. Other conditions, such as pulmonary embolism require medical attention. If rib cage pain comes unexpectedly and with no explanation, it’s probably best to see a doctor. This is especially so if the pain is severe and breathing becomes difficult. Other symptoms to watch for include increased coughing and irregular heartbeat. These are signs of more serious issues.

Pain made worse by taking a deep breath, twisting, or bending may indicate a problem with muscle and joint function in the rib cage. For these types of problems, physical therapy can help speed recovery and prevent recurrence.

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