Pain in the ribs - the causes, nature, treatment

The nature of pain in left rib can resemble heart pain. Often to understand the nature of the disease can only a professional doctor.

Rib pain can have a different character. It can be acute, pricking, or long-lasting pain pulling. You can bother the patient continuously, or it occurs in certain situations (during a workout on a particular body position, etc).

The causes diagnostics and treatment of pain in the ribs does not vary depending on the nature of the disease, the following doctors:

  • thoracic surgeon;
  • trauma;
  • therapist;
  • podiatrist;
  • neurologist.

Pathology of the directly edges

Injury of the ribs

pathology of the ribs

Pain in the ribs is a characteristic symptom of their injury. Most often happens during a fall or a blow.

The severity of pain and other symptoms depends on the type of injury:

  1. With the injury, there is a sharp but not severe pain in my ribs on the right or left side, depending on the type of injury, which then becomes painful, and then completely disappeared. At the site of injury occurs, swelling and bruising, hurts to the touch. The appearance of the patient and the intensity of the pain is not always possible to determine exactly what the injury without fracture. Help to clarify the picture of the CT.
  2. Rib fracture – severe injury, which is accompanied by pain in the ribs during inhalation and moves. At the time of injury is a sharp pain that stays for a long time strong enough and can be extended to the entire chest. There are three types of fish breaks:
  • crack is the most harmless type of injury is simple fracture of the ribs;
  • subperiosteal fracture – a broken rib, remains intact periosteum, which surrounds it - thus, the cuts remain in effect;
  • the whole of the rib fracture itself is not very dangerous, but the sharp edges fragments may damage the lungs and other internal organs;
  • complicated rib fractures: fracture of several ribs comminuted fracture – the most serious type of injury, which causes very severe pain in my ribs, shock States and various complications.

In addition to the pain in the ribs, fractures may occur following characters:

  • the pain becomes stronger during deep breathing, talking, coughing, sneezing, changes in body position, physical activity;
  • sometimes the patient is breathing and heartbeat, his skin becomes bluish tint;
  • if the pieces ribs hurt easy, there is hemoptysis;
  • in a complete fracture and displacement of the chest wall, at the site of the injury is a blow.

Patients with acute severe pain in my ribs and a suspected fracture should be for the emergency room, which allow you to view and perform x-rays. In most cases, the treatment prescribed pressure bandage, which limits the respiratory movements, reduces pain and promotes faster healing. When damage to internal organs and fractures can be shown to function.

Malignant tumors

Among malignant bone tumours that primarily affect the ribs, occur most frequently osteosarcoma. There are several types of this disease, it can occur at almost any age.

Malignant tumors of the ribs, that may manifest in the following signs:

  • long-term chronic rib pain which may be aching, pulling, stabbing, constant, or occur under certain conditions;
  • characteristic night pain in the rib area, especially if the patient is lying in a certain position;
  • sometimes the tumor there for a long time without symptoms, and the pain starts to bother after a minor injury (which in this case is the precipitating factor) - in this case, the patient often relates the occurrence of pain on account of injury and a long time unaware that there is a completely different disease;
  • in a place where there is no pain, you can see the swelling, unevenness, to probe the punch, which corresponds to the tumor.

The basic principle of the diagnosis of malignant tumors of the rib biopsy. In the world of medicine is the rule: the study should take place for all the people who have a suspected malignant neoplasm of the ribs.

Treatment of osteosarcoma is in the cancer hospital, subject to the General principles of management of malignant tumors.

Osteoporosis of ribs

Osteoporosis is a disease that develops as a result of the reduction of the calcium content in the bone tissue, strengthening the processes of destruction of the bone and reduces its ability to recover. This pathology may also accompany the pain in the ribs. Osteoporosis is most commonly caused by aging, metabolic and endocrine diseases, insufficient intestinal absorption of calcium and vitamin D.

For a long time osteoporosis can have absolutely no symptoms. Ribs and other bones lose calcium, but always maintain enough power.

But then there are the pains that generally have the following origin:

  • rib pain and back pain are due to the fact that in the bone tissue of the ribs and the vertebrae there are a large number of microscopic fractures, irritation of the periosteum, and in it, as you know, there are a large number of nerve endings;
  • a sharp pain in the back occurs as a result of the compression of the vertebrae;
  • acute severe pain in the chest, which may be associated with rib fracture: the so-called pathological fracture, which can occur at minimum load due to the fact that the bones are becoming increasingly fragile;
  • patients with osteoporosis have problems with the posture, and sometimes very pronounced deformation of the spine and thorax, their growth may be reduced by 10 – 15 cm.

Most often the pain is very intense, causing the patient serious suffering. Suffer from disability, reduced quality of life, sleep disorders, and then depression.

Cause of pain in the ribs, which is established after examination and x-rays. The treatment is carried out in the hospital and then at home, with the use of appropriate drugs.

Which doctor to contact, if you have rib pain?

what doctor to address the pain in the ribs

Pain in ribs may be due to a variety of conditions and diseases are diagnosed and treated by doctors of different specialties. Therefore, when pain in ribs, you will need to go to the doctors of different specialties in the field of professional competence, which includes the diagnosis and treatment of disease. To understand what is a doctor that it is necessary to use in the case of rib pain, help relating the symptoms and signs of pain.

If the pain in my ribs was present for a long time, and the pain, which have the character of pulling, aching, or stabbing usually present all the time, amplify or arise at night in the certain position, can result in swelling or irregularity in any point of the chest, shortness of breath, pain combined with impairment of the General health, it indicates the presence of cancer and therefore requires treatment by a doctor-oncologist (recorded).

If a person is concerned about the often experience pain in the bones (ribs, sternum, bones of the pelvis, etc), wanton deterioration of posture, growth, reduction and inability to do some torso twists due to the very strong back pain, the doctor suggests, osteoporosis, and in this case, first consult with a podiatrist. If in addition to osteoporosis, people who suffer from any endocrine diseases (e.g. obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease), in addition to the orthopedic traumatologist, at the same time the address of the endocrinologist (to write). If on a background of osteoporosis in people who have problems with joints, to be used at the same time with a doctor a podiatrist and a rheumatologist (recorded).

What tests and examinations that can be prescribed by a doctor for pain in the groin.

Because of the rib pain cause a variety of diseases and conditions, doctors prescribe various tests and exams for a given symptom to identify the disease. Selection of the necessary diagnostic tests are carried out on the basis of the associated rib to relieve the symptoms and allow the doctor to say, what disease is causing the pain. Next, to confirm your assumptions, the doctor prescribes tests and instrumental investigations. So it is clear that specific set and a list of tests and surveys, with pain in the rib in each case to be determined by accompanying symptoms.

When rib pain that occur after a traumatic impact to the chest (shock, injury, strong compression, etc), and so felt at one point or bottled on the whole chest, worse during inspiration, exhalation, sneezing, coughing, change of posture, physical activity, preferably in combination with a bruise, the physician, which includes damage to the bones and you can specify the following tests and inspections:

  • General analysis of blood;
  • A chest x-ray (covered);
  • Computer or magnetic-resonant tomography of the chest (key).

In practice, usually only prescribed a General blood test and chest x-ray, as these surveys are simple in execution, which is available in any hospitals and clinics, and it can detect damage to the edges (cracks, fractures, etc) in the vast majority of cases. Computer or magnetic-resonant tomography are granted only in the case of the insecure nature of the injury and the involvement of soft tissue damage.

With the onset of sharp, acute pain in the ribs or in the chest, which intensifies with time, becoming very strong and hard portable, can for the spread in the arm, neck and under the shoulder blades, in combination with swelling in the joints of the ribs and sternum, the doctor suspected Tietze's syndrome and assigns the following tests and examinations:

  • General analysis of blood;
  • Biochemical blood analysis;
  • Breast ultrasound;
  • Chest x-ray;
  • Magnetic resonance imaging;
  • Computed tomography;
  • Scintigraphy;
  • A biopsy (enter).

As a rule, when Tietze syndrome, the doctor is limited to appointment only the General and biochemical blood analysis, ultrasound examination and the diagnosis is based on characteristic clinical symptoms. However, if in health institutions that have the technical ability, also is assigned to your computer or magnetic-resonant tomography that allows, for the first time, to confirm the diagnosis, and secondly, immediately check the bones for the presence of malignant tumors.

If the doctor suspects that a person may be a tumor in the bone, and not Tietze's syndrome, is obligatorily x-ray or computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, or scintigraphy.

Chest x-ray in the absence of the suspected tumor is usually granted only in the case if the onset of the disease lasts for 2 – 3 months or more, as in the earlier stages of the disease the study does not give information and is therefore useless. However, if the doctor suspects that the person may not be Tietze's syndrome, a malignant tumor of the bone, a chest x-ray is assigned is mandatory, as this study helps to differentiate between tumor and inflammation of the rib cartilage.

A biopsy of the bumps, shall be granted only in case, if the results of the x-ray, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging or scintigraphy showed that the tumor. In this case, protrusions with a long needle to take a small amount of tissue and examination under a microscope. Depending on the type of detectable tumor cells, revealed the type of cancer and the question of the tactics of therapy.

When rib pain lasts for a long time, not disappear, but only gradually increase over time, having the nature of-pain or stabbing, may increase at night in a certain position, perhaps in combination with a swelling or bump on some part of the chest, shortness of breath, impairment of General health, the doctor suspects a malignant neoplasm of the bone ribs and assigns the following tests and examinations:

  • General analysis of blood;
  • Biochemical blood analysis;
  • Coagulation (blood clotting) (enrolled);
  • Chest x-ray;
  • Magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography;
  • Scintigraphy of the ribs;
  • A biopsy of the suspicious tissue showed the tumor with subsequent histological examination.



In most of the disease, which is manifested in the form of pain in the ribs, apply symptomatic therapy, including painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. In parallel, the attending doctor prescribes tools that help to cope with the main cause of the disease. Before applying you should consult with an expert.