6 Conditions That Cause Rib Pain

6 Conditions That Cause Rib Pain

When you have pain in your ribs, you might be wondering what’s causing so much discomfort. Is it your heart, or a less severe condition that’s making your ribs ache? Unfortunately, there are several conditions that can lead to rib pain, each one a little different than the next. The good news is that most rib pain isn’t a cause for concern.

At Pinnacle Health Chiropractic in Kirkland, Washington, our team is led by our expert chiropractor, Dr. Jason Ablett. Whether your rib pain is the result of a pulled muscle, or another more complicated condition, Dr. Ablett helps you to ease the pain through a variety of treatment modalities.

What does rib pain feel like?

Have you ever had a shooting pain in your ribs that just about knocked the wind out of you? Or do you occasionally feel a dull ache in your chest? If so, you’re feeling rib pain that occurs for a number of different reasons.

But how can you differentiate rib pain from something more serious? Your symptoms depend on what is actually causing the pain in your ribs. For example, some of the signs of rib problems include:

Your pain may either be severe or minor, depending on what’s actually causing the discomfort. It could also be constant or come and go. The pain may be sharp, stabbing, or aching in nature, and may make it difficult for you to perform your normal activities.

Conditions that lead to rib pain

It’s frustrating when you have pain but have no idea what’s causing that pain. This is especially true when it’s affecting your ribs, because this type of pain may mimic the more concerning pain of a heart problem. 

However, in most cases, rib pain is caused by something less severe. Here are six of the most common causes of typical rib pain:

1. Broken ribs

When you break your ribs, it usually causes significant pain. Usually an injury such as a car accident or a fall causes rib fractures. However, conditions that weaken your bones, like osteoporosis, may also lead to this type of injury.

While broken ribs are usually harmless, if they’re severely broken, you could end up damaging your internal organs. 

2. Costochondritis

Your ribs are connected to your breast bone by cartilage. Sometimes, that cartilage becomes inflamed, which causes pain. This condition is known as costochondritis. 

Costochondritis has no apparent cause, but may lead to pain that feels similar to the pain of a heart attack. However, this condition is generally harmless, but may last several days to several weeks. It does often go away on its own.

3. Osteoporosis

This condition usually affects you when you’re older, and leads to weak and brittle bones. While osteoporosis itself doesn’t usually cause pain, it does often lead to easily broken bones. If you have osteoporosis, you may end up breaking a rib just from coughing too hard.

4. Fibromyalgia

This condition causes pain all over your body, with no apparent cause. Rib pain is very common when you have fibromyalgia. However, it’s very hard to diagnose, as the symptoms of fibromyalgia are usually vague and mimic other disorders.

5. Pleurisy

Pleurisy is caused by inflammation of the lining in your lungs. It’s also called pleuritis, and happens when the tissues in your lungs are inflamed and rub against one another. This usually leads to significant pain in your chest.

6. Muscle spasms

If you live an active lifestyle, a pulled muscle probably isn’t something new to you. The muscles in your chest are just as vulnerable as other muscles in your body to injury. Muscles that have been injured sometimes go into painful spasms that usually go away with rest.

When you’re experiencing rib pain from any of the above conditions, you want relief as quickly as possible. Dr. Ablett determines a treatment plan based on your symptoms and the severity of your pain.

In most cases, treatment is conservative in nature and focuses on regular chiropractic manipulation by Dr. Ablett. However, he also offers other types of treatment, all of which could benefit you by decreasing your rib pain.

If you’ve been suffering from unbearable rib pain, call Pinnacle Health Chiropractic today, or you can schedule a consultation online using our handy booking tool.

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