Also known as: Pain - ribcage
- Bruised, cracked, or fractured rib
- Inflammation of cartilage near the breastbone ([[1000164|costochondritis]])
- Pleurisy (the pain is worse when breathing deeply)
- When did the pain start?
- Is it there all the time?
- Is it getting worse?
- How would you describe the pain?
- Is the pain sharp or stabbing?
- Does it feel like pulling or grabbing?
- Does it ache like a bruise?
- Is it a crushing pain?
- Does it feel like pressure or heaviness? (This may be a sign of [[1001107|angina]] or [[1000195|heart attack]])
- Exactly where is the pain?
- Is it only on one side?
- Is it the same on both sides?
- Is the pain worse when bending or twisting?
- Is it worse when coughing?
- Is it worse when breathing deeply?
- Has there been an injury to the chest?
- What other symptoms do you have?
- [[1003833|Bone scan]] (if there is known history of [[1001289|cancer]] or it is highly suspected)
- [[1003804|Chest x-ray]]
Ribcage pain includes any pain or discomfort in the area of the ribs.
With a broken rib, the pain is worse when bending and twisting the body. Such movement does not cause the pain in those who have [[1001371|pleurisy]] (swelling of the lining of the lungs) or muscle spasms.
Rest and immobilization are the best cure for a ribcage [[1000001|fracture]].
Follow your health care provider's instructions for treating the cause of ribcage pain.
Call your health care provider if
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you do not know the cause of the pain, or if it is ongoing.
What to expect at your health care provider's office
The health care provider may perform a physical examination and ask about your symptoms and medical history, including:
Tests that may be ordered include:
Your health care provider may prescribe treatment for your ribcage pain. Treatment depends on the cause.
Lee-Chiong T, Gebhart GF, Matthay RA. Chest pain. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al., eds. Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 30.
Reynolds JH. Thoracic trauma and related topics. In: Adam A, Dixon AK, eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 5th ed. New York, NY: Elsevier Churchill-Livingstone; 2008:chap 20.
- Review date:
- November 13, 2014
- Reviewed by:
- Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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