Although there are many different causes of rib pain that will in no ways respond to my TISSUE REMODELING TREATMENT (costochondritis, osteoporosis, fracture, etc), there are many people whose rib pain can be effectively treated by what I do in my clinic. If you are interested in meeting a couple of these folks, take just a couple of minutes to watch THESE TWO VIDEOS.  (HERE and HERE are a couple more).

Although rib problems are not typically dangerous like a ruptured disc can be (unless you happen to shatter them in a terrible accident), rib pain can be severe to the point that people think they are dying.  I frequently see patients who come to me after getting a fifty thousand dollar helicopter ride to the hospital, being run through several days worth of tests that cost more than the house they are living in, and finally having this conversation with their cardiologist.

Thank Goodness Mr Jones!  We have run every conceivable test — many of them several times over.  We cannot seem to find a single thing wrong with you.  Everything appears to be just fine.  You are as healthy as the proverbial horse, and your heart is just about perfect.”  

But doc, why am I still having the same pain that I came in here with in the first place?” 

(Deer-in-the-headlights look) “That is a great question Mr. Jones.  Be sure and ask your family doctor when you see him later this week.” 

If you think I am over-exaggerating, you would be wrong.  I see numerous patients each year who have been through this very scenario.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want people showing up in my office in the middle of a heart attack.  But something is rotten in Denmark when it takes the better part of a hundred grand to (incorrectly) tell someone that there is “nothing” wrong with them.



To understand some of the most common causes of rib pain, we have to understand a little bit of anatomy (see the picture at the top of the page).  There are typically 12 pairs of ribs that make up the “rib cage”.  As you already know, the rib cage surrounds and protects several organs (chiefly the lungs).  All ribs attach to the spine, and the “Thoracic Spine” is the 12 vertebrates that the ribs attach to.  In the front, ribs (or more correctly, the rib cartilages) attach to the sternum or breast bone.  The lowest two or three ribs are said to “float” because they do not have a bony or cartilage attachment in the front. 

An important fact to remember is that ribs move.  I know that ribs feel like they are anchored to the spine, but trust me — they move.  You can feel this simply by putting your hands on your ribs and breathing deeply.  When ribs do not move properly, not only can it hurt (sometimes terribly), it almost always hurts specifically to cough, breathe, sneeze (see the previous link), laugh, hiccup, etc. 

I frequently see patients who have ribs “out of place”.  The technical term for this condition is SUBLUXATION.  In a nutshell, “subluxation” means bones or joints are either misaligned or not moving properly in relationship to each other.  One of the beauties of subluxated ribs is that they usually respond to adjustment immediately.  When they do not, I start to think that FASCIAL ADHESIONS could be restricting rib motion and causing pain.  HERE is a post to help you tell the difference.

Another fact that people may not be aware of is just how much “tissue” attaches to ribs (HERE).  Much of this is Fascia, although there are ligaments, tendons, and muscles as well.  Let’s look at a few pictures of the tissues that attach to ribs.

Rib Tissue Pain

The thing that I want you to see here is just how many tiny muscles (muscle tendons) attach to the rib cage.  Also notice the muscles that actually run between the ribs.

Rib Tissue Pain

This picture, as opposed to the previous, is from the front.  Again, notice how the rib cage as well as the individual ribs are completely covered with muscles and tendons.

Rib Tissue Pain

Notice not only the muscles that attach directly to the rib cage, but look at the amount of fascia.  This fascia runs from the pelvis to the skull and attaches to ribs along the way.  And remember….. Fascia is arguably the single most pain-sensitive tissue in the entire body!

Rib Tissue Pain

A great picture of the relationship of the fascia and associated musculature of the abdominal muscles, to the rib cage.

Rib Tissue Pain

Serratus Anterior.  This muscle covers the entire lateral rib cage.

Rib tissues can be injured in a variety of ways.  Coughing and sneezing are a couple of common ones.  Throwing is also a fairly common way to injure these tissues (especially throwing something really heavy like a chunk of firewood).   As you can imagine, rib injuries are common in sports as well.  Not only are they found in contact sports like football, but they are also found frequently in baseball, softball, and even golf (swinging a bat or golf club can tear rib tissues and put even the “HEAVY HITTERS” on the D.L.). 

Bottom line: Rib pain is common.  Dog common.  Just yesterday I treated a woman who had torn a rib fascia while coughing.  she is a tough gal, but her pain was about as severe as anything that I see in my clinic. Fortunately, our Tissue Remodeling fixed her right up.   If you are one of the thousands upon thousands of Americans dealing with this all-too-common, yet misunderstood problem, CONTACT ME to see if I can help.

400 responses to “RIB TISSUE PAIN

  1. Renee

    I have frequent pain over my right rib cage. I’ve had this problem off and on ever sense I had laparoscopic gallbladder surgery 10 years ago. It’s been quiet for a while but today we did rigorous core and leg workout at the gym. Yesterday was upper body shoulders and back. I am on a fitness plan that I stick to for the last six years but every now and then I get this horrible pain on top of my right rib not underneath… Sometimes it happens all on its own without a workout… Do you have any idea what I could be doing wrong?

  2. Adacia

    Hi am a 26 years old. I had a car accident 8 months back and I tore the muscles in my chest but last month my rib under my breast began shocking me. I did massage therapy and they said my rib is folded in due to the impact of the cars and now the pain is unbearable.

    • Hello Adacia,

      MVA’s are the worst. They are common and cause such serious problems — problems that often cannot be seen with standardized tests. This leaves injured people to be marginalized and treated as though they are only after money. Make sure to follow some of the links on the post as I have videos of people (one of them a young woman) with similar circumstances.

      Dr. Russ

  3. Tipu

    Hi There Doctor Russ.
    My name is Tipu and I have an issue which no one has been able to diagnose.
    I am 47, male and towards lean side. I don’t have any chronic illness so far. I do have some chronic diseases in my family. Like my mother is diabetic, has arthritis and sarcoidosis.
    My father didn’t live that long. Road accident.
    I’m in military. in 2006, while chasing terrorist on mountainous terrain and on foot, I exerted beyond limits. Though I toasted them, but in the process I experienced ‘as if my right lung somewhere in the lower back region has torn apart’.
    Sir, this pain is with me ever since.
    My Xray and MRI (without illumination) shows nothing.
    Currently, I can breathe nice. I do sports and swimming. Yet even in resting state, when I take deep breath and inhale, expansion in my rib cage causes pain. After deflation, it subsides.
    Sir, what is wrong? How to get it diagnosed?
    Please help.

    Regards and respects.

    • Hello Tipu,

      So; you’ve been dealing with this for 10 years. Sounds almost certainly like a soft tissue adhesion — probably in the Fascia. The problem is, tests will not show this sort of thing up. It’s what’s known as a “clinical” diagnosis. Have you seen someone for intense massage of the area?

      Dr. Russ

  4. John

    I am had a ct done and they said nothing was wrong with me. That was two weeks ago. I am in major pain still. The funny thing is it hurts even more when I lay down. On my left front side it does not feel like my ribs it feels like a organ behind my ribs. It hurts so bad I can’t sleep at night. I do feel like a pop or knock when I push on my chest. It hurts when I cough sneeze or lift my arm. Any help you could give me would be awesome. I am so tired of being in this pain

  5. Eric

    I bruised my ribs on the left side a few weeks ago playing baseball. Now over the past few days the front lower left side of my rib cage is super tender. When I move certain ways it almost feels like a sharp knife under the ribs. Even when taking breaths and just talking I sometimes get this sharp pain under my rib cage. It feels like it’s either loose cartalidge or a floating rib. What’s the best course of action. I though about going to my chiropractor to see if I got an adjustment it may go away. I usually have a high pain threshold, but there’s times with this pain that it literally feels like a knife is sticking me. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Thank you

  6. Johanna

    Underneath my right rib is a huge knot horrible pain going into the back, fell getting out of the tub 3 years ago on that side been excruciating for a week now, can not get comfortable, sleep etc. PLEASE HELP ADVICE!!😥 Muscle relaxers, pain cream, nothing working!! I already have extensive nerve & disc damage in the back. Have a incredible pain tolerance but this is unbearable!😦

  7. Kashmir

    Hello there, names Kashmir, I came across this while ‘googling’ my symptoms trying to see if I should go to er. I’m not sure how long uvr had the pain but I’ve really noticed it the last month. I’m a stay at home mom, 22, haven’t had an accident or anything that could of broken anything but I’ve been experiencing tenderness on or around my ribcage, it feels about halfway down but I can’t quite pinpoint it. Sometimes the pain feels like its on the edge of my ribs where it meets the abdomen and sometimes it feels like its on my abdomen with some swelling. It hurts if I lay on my stomach or if I brush against something while I’m standing. The only medication I’m on right now is Ibuprofen for my arthritis.

  8. Nicole

    Hello…so glad I stumbled o to this. I had ribs 5, 6, and 7 come out front and back a few weeks ago… noticed shortly after I have an almost annoying ache down my side from armpit down to just under where my bra would sit. I was wondering if this is a result of having the ribs put back in place maybe muscles adjusting?

    • Hello Nichole,

      If you had an adjustment, it is common to get post-adjustment soreness. However, this lasts for a day or two tops — not several weeks. You either need more adjustment or you have a tissue problem. From where you are describing, I would guess it’s the later.

      Dr. Russ

    • steven

      hi I’m 34 i have had rib pain on my upper left side around ribs 2,3,4 under my arm pit and going around my back it started again after work i went for a jog ten to fifteen minuets it stated and it calms down a bit when i hold my arm flat against my side when running and way i was on holiday last week and it started again when i was running ten mins on the running machine and the next day the same and the next so i would finish my workout on the cross trainer as i was pushing it a bit in the gym because normally that pain would make me stop and not go back. i have had the pain constant not debilitating but slight sharp pains even now im writing this.
      I’m 3 stone over weight and i lay bricks for a living i love running but this is stopping me from getting on with my life in so many ways thanks i hope you have some advice i could really do with some help. ps the pain has even radiated lately shoulder and a slight sharp pain in my ears just above my ear lobe

      • Hello Steven,

        Best guess is that you have FHP (Forward Head Posture) that is pulling on your SCM muscle (check out my blog post from a few days ago). Also sounds like a rib problem — maybe subluxation, maybe tissue thing, maybe both. Tough to say without examining you.

        Dr. Russ

      • Steven

        Hello Russell thanks for the reply I liked what you said about it could be my posture scm muscles and the subluxation all sounds positive I live in London who would be best to help me sort this out is it a chiropractor and some one who could help me with my posture?

      • Probably a chiro, but not all do this sort of work. No idea who to send you to.

        Dr. Russ

  9. Ritamarie

    I’ve been looking for you! I’ve always kept busy all my life. I’ve have coradid artery tumors removed and radiated. I still have one on the left jugular and has grown into my L ear. I cough a lot, I have IBS, and CRONIC acid reflex. I have 2 meds for that. (Omeprazole 20 2xday and Raniditidine 300 mg @ night). My sleep is chaotic, pillows, stuffy nose,coughing at times I can’t breathe, and choke. This has been going on for years. I thought my matress was a bag of rocks, hubby spent over $2,000 on a bed that adjust the front and back. That feels like a bag of rock, brain-shock: I’m a Bach of rocks. For the last 3 years I had gone to the ER, 3 X’s, for digestive and bowel problems, like my inside were fighting food intake from my mouth to my other end. A lot of sick stomachs, and torturous events on the toilet, sometimes throwing up at the same time, my husband was there, thank God cause he said that I yelled and passed in and out while on the John, and throwing up. At these disalussioning trips to the ER, a C scan was done each of the 3 dif times, from next to thighs. The first 2 dif visits I was told my lower area is FINE, but I have pneumonia in my right lung. ( mind you, I’ve been complaining of all pains on the left) I’m discharged with a prescription. Last February 24, 2016, was the 3rd trip to ER, same troubles, but I went in complaining of chest and back pain, I thought they were heart attack symptoms. Cat scan, pneumonia, but no blood clot over my left breast. I was given a small IV with antibiotic. They did no more than 1 small bag, said they were testing, (??). Then the doctor and about 6-8 students came in and said no, you do not have pneumonia, and no blood clot. I said, So, nothing’s wrong with me?? They said I had a room and was admitted. In about 4 hours I had the worst painful bowel movements, and my stomach and below was hurting a long time after. One doctor comes in to tell me that he and the other students took a longer look at the catS, and said they know what the problem is. A long name for this he said…His conclusion was that my first major artery below the esophagus is smaller than the following 2 arteries below. He tried to say that that would cause much pain mostly at the upper left side. (but I beat him to the punch after he said you have 3 major arteries under the esophagus, that’s where I said my problems the first..? Yes! He said, I said it gives pain toward the upper left side), Yes! He said, you must have been in a lot of pain. ( no shit Sherlock) he said he just talked to my primary to get an appmt follow up by a week. It took me AND my husband to convince my HCP’s nurses that my doc is to follow up with me and he already knew this, I finally was going to lose it, and handed my phone to my husband and said I’m done or I’ll say something bad over the phone. This took about 3 weeks of calling there. I finally see my own doctor, he says no to my queries to costrcondritis, plurosey, and then said that he’s seen many cat scans for this area, but the interns look at the scan too fast, what happens is when you hold your breath that’s what makes it look like you have this condition of this mentioned artery, but you don’t. But the bottom of each of your lungs are empty, flat. I asked what should I do for that any exercises? He said no there’s nothing just keep breathing they should fix sometime. I said what if my lungs don’t go back? He said, well, that would be very bad. ( oh well another on bites the dust?) Were in Upstate NY, were its a managers of hospitals, Upstate University Hospital have student doctors from all countries, where I was told to my face my problem is because of the American diet. At that point I snapped and said loudly, my mom taught us to eat good food! I went back to my pulmanologist and filled him in and we’re going to do my 4th sleep study, since I had to tell him of nasal pillows sound right for me since all other CPaps were futile, cause my sinuses are havoc ( coradid tumor in my ear? no one will admit like my ENT SPEC). The previous last time seeing my pulmonologist said the only device left is new called WINX, but I don’t think the insurance will cover, here’s their phone number… Me and hubby call, the WINX is very close to $1,000, and maintenance supply’s every 2 months are $240. So see ya doc. Talking to another party told me about nasal pillows, is the only reason I went back to that pulmonologist. My GI doc’s nurse had been filled in on all this BS, now he also grew a new ear, has me taking a new pill, when any symptoms start just ale a pill, I usually do if my acid reflex is still making me cough, it’s seem to help a little. That Med is Dicyclomine 10mg 1 every 6 hrs, as needed, I’ve yet to google it. My pulmanologist knows the whole story too. He says, I think I’m seeing what’s going on… Your poor breathing is what’s causing the acid reflex, which you cough a lot, the ribs and back hurt, even feels like heart problems. If this breathing gets tamed, acid reflex should go, no need for coughing, and we are thinking the acid reflex was messing up proper digestion, thus poor bowel management. This has been going on for years. I’m frustrated and had had gotten depressed, and developed a lack of trust with medical people. Well maybe it’s true that nice guys finish last, which is why I’m becoming explicit to my doctors, and every doctor I see, I explain what all the other doctors are doing for me and of any results, now they’re all going to have to work together because they are all associated with Upstate University Hospital. If one screws up, they all are going to know. Prior when I was frustrated and feeling low, I was seriously tossing around the chance to just get all different doctors. Then I thought, Why make it easy on them? So they have me whether they like it or not, I felt like I was getting squeeze out, so I’m reversing that process. I’m very thankful that I found you ( accidentally, but my belief system says no accident) I hope I haven’t bord you, I’m glad there you were just giving me a chance to get it all out, it felt good and best that someone wanted to know what’s going on. In my world, even tho we don’t know each other, I find you as a friend, even if nothing becomes of this, you’ve put my confidence back into medical persons, and that is a big help. So thank you for caring and allowing me to know, yes I am significant and deserve the best from all medical parties, they are on our payroll……🙉🙈🙊. 😉

    • Wow Ritamarie,

      A lot of stuff here — difficult to know exactly where to start. It’s your lucky day because I just posted a blog post over at my Doctor Schierling site that pertains directly to your condition. Hope you find it helpful.

      Dr. Russ

    • barbara

      Rita have the Doc run a CDSA ( bowel culture) I had alot of what you are talking about. Turns out it was a over growth of yeast (Candida) in my small bowel. The over growth was bad it can cause liver, skin, foul breath and heart issues and more. I treat it with a three day fast of probiotic drinks, nothing with sugar no starch drink lots of water. I feel better the third day of fast, then I watch what I consume I like my starches and soda I just can’t have much it will make me sick. One of the main symptoms for me besides IBS is night sweats they smell foul. Good luck. A good nature’s path can make a big difference in your life. My nature’s path also performs Bowen therapy an awesome treatment if chiropratic doesn’t work for you.

      • Thanks Rita,

        I have tons of stuff on my doctorschierling dot com blog concerning IBS, SIBO, Gut Health in general, Dysbiosis, Sugar Addictions, FM, and many others. Check it out as solving inflammation is a critical part of almost any health problem.

        Dr. Russ

  10. Helen

    Hi – I had a riding accident 2 years ago – my ribs on left side of body feel extremely sore to the point i feel sick with the pain .The flare up comes ,lasts days then subsides.The pain is in my back ribs and very sore to touch one minute then not the next.GP’s not listening but im in agony and its very worrying .

  11. Dan

    I am a male age 50, slightly overweight and VERY active. Today is April 20, on Feb. 25 I fell on the ice and landed on my lower left rib cage. I was sore for a few days but that was it. Since March 14 I’ve had an annoying, but not excruciating, pain that seems to be around the lower left back ribs. At one point late in March I woke up with nasty muscle spasms and my spine was sore, but that was the only time the back pain has moved from the initial sore spot. Ice and Alieve help, as does a few cocktails on the weekend, but the pain will not fully go away. If I go to the gym and power walk on a treadmill the diaphragm muscle seems to hurt in the front. But otherwise, the pain remains around the lower left back ribs. It’s worse in the morning and if I’m active, and medicated, it doesn’t seem to be as bad. I went to the Dr. in March and he said I had a pulled muscle. Any insight would be much appreciated. Thanks

  12. Cherie

    What/where is your blog if you don’t mind me asking?;)

  13. Cherie

    Wow! I live in Ny, can you still help? I have band-like lump areas throught my upper and lower back, sacral area, neck, both sides of my chest( worse on the right) just where the side of my bra sits, my sternum area, and just under my right breast. I was told they are all muscle spasms or trigger points from workers comp injuries, given soma, but nothing takes the pain away and all these areas have a big tight, hard lump! Some very big in size too! When i sweep or do the least slight bend or twist it feels like my muscles are just ripping apart!!

  14. Dorothy

    Hello my name is Dorothy and I have been dealing with this type of condition for 13 years. I have been to 10 doctors and 8 emergency rooms. After reading your article I kinda feel that something is really going on in my rib cage. Please contact me soon I would like to discuss this further with you.

  15. Shell

    I fell on my left side back on Jan. 20th, 2016. My feet went out from under me in the snow & my body slammed on the ramp I was standing on. By the weekend I was pretty sure I had fractured a rib. 5 weeks into healing I developed Bronchitis & re-injured the rib.. (Around the end of Feb.). I am having a sharp pain with certain motions that feels like something is tearing. I feel like I should be seeing blood running down my side, but of course there is none. Went to the Urgent Care to ask if maybe I had done something more than fractured my rib.. They took 3 x-rays & confirmed that I had broken my rib & new bone growth was generating.. No, Brachial Nerve damage, hand & fingers are fine.. But, I am still having this constant pain that gets sharp with certain movements (ie. Sweeping a floor, getting the trash bag out of the garbage can, pulling my pants on). Is this something that is going to have to just heal on it’s own? I am only taking Ibuprofen for the pain, but have been since Jan.. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank You,

  16. Nessa

    Thank you. Not sure what else I can do at this point. Can thoracic discs cause pain in the ribs?

  17. Sue

    I was taken to the ER on friday with severe pain under right breast/ ribcage area. I was dismissed with diagnosis of “Acute chest wall pain”. The Dr. told me I have a tear in tissue in that area. I was given pain meds & told to take it easy & rest. Is this something that will heal on its own? (I also had a colonoscopy 2 days prior) but the pain was already mildly there prior to that procedure.

  18. Nessa

    I was in a car accident 3 years ago. They found 3 bulging discs in my thoracic spine. I’m currently 26 weeks pregnant and have suffered from back pain under my shoulder blade and upper ab pain (both on right side). The pain was so intense doctors thought it could be my Gall bladder, pancreas or liver. I had an MRI done two weeks ago to rule out any I flamation to these organs. Luckily the tests came back normal so I’m starting to think this pain is mechanical. I have the most relief when I’m standing up. I found two “lumps” on my rib cage that tend to hurt when I massage them. I’m starting to think I had more damage from the accident then originally found. At times if you push on my upper ab I can feel the pain at the point of contact and in my ribs. Just curious what your thoughts are and what you think the next step is for me. My OB is at a loss.

    • Hello Nessa,

      You could very well be correct (Thoracic disc herniations are fairly rare). You have to find someone to look at you (treat / examine) who understands the material on this page.

      Dr. Russ

  19. Alasdair H

    Hi. Just read this entry and found it extremely helpful and easy to understand. Two months ago, I tripped on an uneven paving stone & fell heavily on the sidewalk. Nothing broken, but lots of pain still from tear to serratus anterior or fascia tissue – worse in the morning or when lying on back. Waiting for Time the Healer to do his stuff!

    • Hello Alasdair,

      Glad I could be of help. Usually injuries like this heal with time. Hopefully you do not fall into that group that does not. Make sure to be about the business of stretching while it heals.

      Dr. Russ

  20. Jasmin

    I’m suffering pretty bad.. The pain is only on the left side of my body it my left shoulder and my shoulder blade it goes up to my neck sometime but the worst part is my left breast and my chest and rib cage again all on the left side I get this intense flare up. I need guidence as to what dr to go too have great insurance ivebeen told that it’s fibro and costochondritis but and me I did show tendinitis on rotar cuff but the breast pain and rib pain is very bad wondering what kind of testing should I do I’ve had extasy on rib cage before but it showed nothing and had my breast Mri and that showed nothing but my ribs are getting worse. It has been several months when I did these tests

    • Hello Jasmin,

      The problem is, it doesn’t really matter how good your insurance is. Unlimited medical care cannot help what it does not understand or cannot see. If you want to better understand what I mean, take a look at my current blog post because it addresses this subject.

      Dr. Russ

  21. Mitzi

    I got in a car accident 5 days ago and my soreness is kind of gone. But still when I cough, sneeze, laugh too hard, my chest hurts so bad, it makes me wanna cry cuss of the pain I’m feeling. I’m pregnant so I couldn’t get any x-rays done, but I’m worried cuss the pain, is like a sharp pain in the middle of my breast on the sides as well, my back but on on my shoulders blades N between my shoulders blades, but its all inside. Like internally sharp pains.. This is the best way I could explain it…/:

    • Hello Mitzi,

      See a good chiro for this; sounds like rib subluxations and is quite common after MVA. Your chiro will determine whether this is correct or not. Adjustments are not contraindicated for pregnant women — if that’s what you need.

      Dr. Russ

  22. Rob

    Quick one doc. I was bench pressing in September of 2015 and had a “pop” under my left arm pit. No immediate signs or symptoms of a pull or tear. Shortly after that, I started to get feeling of fluttery pain in left ribcage/chest area. Went to hospital because I thought I was having heart attack, like you explained before, “nothing wrong”. Now its been 6 months, still no signs of muscle damage, still getting minor fluttery pains, more gas pains & cramp pain in left ribcage. Anything for me?

  23. nicole

    Dear Doctor,
    I had a very sever coughing spell 3 months ago, due to allergies. I was sitting on the couch leaning forward. I was coughing so intensely and dry heaving. I felt something pull on my right side just under the arm pit. it was very painful. the pain goes all the way around my back. only on the right side. it is now 12 weeks later and the pain has not gotten any better. please help.

  24. Bee

    I get pain in my lower abdomen like maybe the tissue in between some of my lower right ribs. Hard to localize. Started as a horrible sharp pain I woke up with and two years later is milder but still there. Im female, 27, just got diagnosed with ehlers danlos syndrome but it doesn’t feel like my other joints when they sublux because there’s no clicking feeling. It is bad when I sit for more than an hour but fine when I stand (fun joke, universe, since I’m having surgery on both my feet over these next 2 years)Is there any way you could tell me what can cause this in connective tissue disorders and what type of doc to see to make it go away? My xray was normal and I think my primary care doctor is gonna get irritated if I ask for more testing on it since I get injured every time I move practically:/

  25. Connie

    I am 59 female who had to have pic line 2 weeks ago in left arm. Dr had trouble getting in due to scar tissue from many past pic lines that caused blood clots and PE. She could only do a mid line. However when inserting it she was very rough and kept jabbing line in. I knew IMMEDIATELY something was not right afterwards. I had severe upper left pain and chest and heart pain. 2 days later back in ER and admitted in ICU. Told me pic was laying on nerve. Don’t worry about it. It’s out now. But still severe pain. Hurts when breathe laugh Lift move. I’ve had broken ribs in past so I know the pain and this feels similar.

    Can the pic line have caused this?
    What am I to do? Will it go away. Been 2 weeks now!

  26. Josie

    I am a 20 year old female dealing with a dislocated rib. After almost 4 years of constant “back” pain, or what i thought was my back, the doctors have finally discovered my 11th rib has been dislocated the entire time. I recently got an intercostal injection which is when the dislocation was found. After researching I’ve found that it could also cause damage to the surrounding nerves, tendons, etc. I am now seeing a chiropractor to correct the problem however we have not discussed tissue damage. My question: should i be concerned about long term or residual damage to my nerves? & What do you think my best plan of attack is to find these answers? (specialist etc)?

  27. Jazz

    Hello I’ve been suffering from my lower left rib for about 3 months. It seems to be expanding outwards and I feel so much pain. I wonder if some of my organs under my rib have a problem because it keeps getting worse and more constant what should I do ?

  28. Christine

    I was in a car accident 2 years ago and I have been for X-rays and scans and nothing was found. I have troubles sitting for long periods of time and whenever my ribs are pushed on, it really hurts. What would the next step be to figure out what this pain is and how can I treat it if possible?

  29. Nina

    Hi. I’ve had back pain in the center of my bank for as long as I can remember but has become worse recently and has been radiating around my lower ribs in a stitch like pain sometimes it’s more painful on the left and then on the right, it’s mostly a discomfort but yesterday started to get a pulse like stabbing on the left.
    Iv seen my doctor she poked around a bit and listened to my breathing all seemed fine but she referred me to a physio I don’t know if this is the right person to see?
    Id really like some advice to shed any light on what might be causing this? I’m 31 busty but slim, and I’ve worked in a hair salon for 16 years but recently started my own business where I’m sitting down everyday, for a month now. I swim about once a week but I wouldn’t say I’m fit.

    Please help. Kind regards, Nina

    • Although many women clamor for the very figure you describe yourself with (busty but slim) this is a recipe for problems exactly where you are getting them. Although Tissue Remodeling might help you significantly, the results would not likely last very long. I have yet to meet a woman who got a reduction for chronic problems of this sort who wasn’t glad she did it. However, before jumping to surgery Nina, make sure you go to the world wide web and look at what others with the same issue are doing for their problem.

      Sincerely, Dr. Russ

  30. shemusicblog

    Hi, I am 6 month postpartum, and I still have excruciating pain in my left rib. I had a 48 hour birth & the midwife told me to push at the wrong time (when I was only 7cms dilated). I pushed for just over 2 hours until they realized I wasn’t fully dilated. Because of the excessive strain I have 4 hernias, but nobody seems to know what this rib pain is. I think it is related to the birth. Any suggestions? Thank you!

  31. cheri

    Hello Dr. Schierling,

    I’m currently 27 weeks pregnant. I’ve been dealing with bronchitis and a violent cough. Over the weekend I’ve developed severe pain on the left side of my rib cage. The pain is constant sharp and almost feels like something is pulling on my rib cage on that side. It’s tender to the touch, hurts to breathe and it is extremely painful to deep breathe, cough, laugh, burp etc. Sometimes I feel I can’t catch my breathe, like it’s so painful it takes my breathe away. I also have a lot of pain that is radiating to my left shoulder and neck. There does not seem to be any position that makes the pain better. My dr thinks i may have broken a rib. I’m concerned about the radiating pain, is this normal? When does the pain start to subside with these types of injuries?

    • Hello Cheri,

      Breaking a rib while coughing is fairly rare, and to the best of my knowledge, only occurs in mid to lower ribs (as opposed to the very top ribs where your Brachial Plexus lives). HERE is something to read.

      Dr. Russ

  32. Rob

    Hello I’ve been having apron let the last few weeks been too the hospital 3 times and my family doctor no one seems to know what’s wrong. Hurt my upper back from poor posture while playing games sitting on my bed. Then went to lay on my right side and felt like my ribs were collapsing! Had X-ray and MRI they said nothing showed up. Feels like my ribs are pushing on my stomach on the right side they tested my gull laser kidney and looked for kidney stone all came back fine tried to lay on my right side 2 days ago now my ribs feel sore again same with my stomach. Was wondering if you had any idea what’s going on and what I can do to help it they put me on naproxen 500 mg twice a day also gave me pills for infection in case there was an infection my last visit to the hospital was a week ago still have the same problem any advice helps thank you for your time! One more thing my one rib cage is tender to touch closer to the stomach doesn’t give me excrusiating pain more like a dull pain. Except when I sit . I thaught I would let you know also I didn’t hurt my back from sitting in a slouching position for hours at a time on my bed playing video games not sure if that helps you but figures I should let you know about that also! Thanks for your time!

  33. Michelle

    Hello doctor,

    I’m a 29 year old female and for the past 7 months I have had chronic pain/discomfort in my middle back that wraps around under my breasts and into my sternum. It all started in my 8th month of pregnancy and has progressively gotten worse with time. I have been to several different doctors and have had many medical tests ran to which I have received no answers. I have recently changed my diet to a diet that avoids food causing inflammation, I am in physical therapy but the pain is still there. It gets worse through out the day with movement or standing. It almost feels like I’m
    Being squeezed really tight or it’s bruised or something. However it does not hurt to the touch at all. It feels really deep. Muscle relaxers don’t help, anti imflammatories don’t help. I just don’t know. I haven’t had an MRI of my spine yet which I am wondering if that needs to be my next test. I just feel like I have a lot of pressure on my chest and aching throughout my ribs and back on each side of my spine. What does this sound like it could be to you? Could it be a nerve thing? I also had an epidural with my birth. Do you think maybe it has something to do with that? I would appreciate any advice as I am at a complete loss. Thank you.

  34. Heidi

    I had severe bronchitis starting middle of January and extreme coughing. About the end of January, I noticed I started getting a pain in my left rib cage, almost worse when I lay down or eat. Went to my GP and she thought I may have injured my rib while coughing and did a few visits of soft manipulation. The pain did not subside. I then had several chiropractor adjustments and the pain is still there. This morning I woke up and noticed my left rib is protruding out much further than the right side and the pain has turned into almost a dull numbness. I have an appointment with my GP today. I worry because I went through colon cancer 4 years ago and any time I get pains or potential growths my mind goes to bad places, but I have had this pain in my left rib which also goes into my back for almost 2 months now.

  35. Kelly

    Hi Dr!

    I was diagnosed with pleurisy two months ago. It started with a cough and then a sudden pain in my chest that spread to my rib cage. I was also in high altitude in Peru before the cough came on. Lastly, I slept in a bed that was perfumed and it irritated my breathing. After two rounds of antibiotics, one round of steroids and antinflamatories, I am still having pain in my upper rib are on the bra strap line. When it’s bad, the pain is also in my upper back on the opposite side of the front pain. Do you think it is pleurisy? I’ve had an MRI, Chest CT, Echocardiogram, and chest and rib X-rays and everything is coming back normal.

    • Hello Kelly,

      What I can tell you is that rib subluxation is frequently characterized by pain that would catch points on both the chest wall and the back, with a knitting needle. Doubtful it’s pleurisy. I woke up with pleurisy as a little kid and was panicked by the fact that I literally could not get a breath without terrible pain. Have you seen a chiro yet?

      Dr. Russ

      • Kelly

        Yes I’ve been to the chiropractor and she adjusted my back and neck and I felt better after that. Then I had a massage and went to the acupuncturist and started feeling worse again. I am not in the severe pain I was in when it first happened. I could barely get out of bed or breath two months ago. Now it’s just an irritating pain that comes when I do more activity and just on the left side. As I type this, I am laying on the couch with some pain and I just woke up. I am going back to the chiropractor and acupuncturist today.

      • Sounds to me like it’s getting better. Probably some tissue stuff going on that was stirred up by the massage. You should do fine with this.

        Dr. Russ

      • You are probably on the right track. Let us know how it goes.

        Dr. Russ

  36. Isaac

    Dr. Russ my wife has been dealing with rib pain on one side of her body for roughly seven years but more recently it’s gotten worse.
    She’s seen doctors and gotten X-rays but all they can say is that her ribs are collapsing. We’re not sure where to go from there as it seems no one really has said anything about ways of treating her condition. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Hello Isaac,

      Never heard of collapsing ribs without ugly disease process or severe trauma. Not enough info to even speculate about what might be going on.

      Dr. Russs

      • Stella

        Hi. I’m Isaac’s wife Stella. The doc who told me about the collapsing ribs said my tissue may be deteriorating. If I could describe it, if I were to lift my shirt and take a deep breath, the “normal”side is rounded like people’s ribs would normally look. The “bad” side is flat now even though it used to be rounded. Also if I take a deep breath it feels like my ribs are in a vise grip with something wrapped tightly around them. The pain feels like a constant strain and it is there 24/7 but the degree of pain is different daily/hourly. Nothing really triggers it. Obviously if I did strenuous activity it will be really bad but it could be really bad without me doing anything at all. Other than what the doc told me above the most I’ve ever gotten from a doc is one said he’d never seen anything like it before. I’ve seen lots of doctors about it but never find a solution to the problem. If there is one.

      • Stella

        Hi Stella again. Just wanted to say that I have fibromyalgia and occipital neuralgia and arthritis and the pain from my ribs far exceeds the pain from any of those 3. The occipital neuralgia being the closest. Not sure if that gives you an idea of what is going on or if the fibro or arthritis could be contributing factors. But any idea would be appreciated very much. Thank you.

      • Hello Stella,

        Would love to sound super intelligent and tell you exactly what this is, but I don’t really know. I have never seen Scar Tissue so tight that it dramatically and visibly tethers the ribs, but I guess that’s not out of the realm of possibility. Seems odd to me that if it is an autoimmune issue like they are implying, it is only attacking one side. Wish I could help you more with this Stella.

        Dr. Russ

  37. Tanya

    Hi, my name is; Tanya, I’m 47 yrs old. When I was 12 yrs old I had Scoliosis surgery. I’m cut from just below my neck down to the top of my buttocks. I have a Harrington Rod placed in my spine. Not beside the spine. They actually opened my vertebra’s placed the bar in, covered it with bone graph from my left hip, then closed the vertebrae. Now that I’m much older I have a lot of muscle issue’s , from my upper neck and down to my left shoulder n arm. Recently I have been experiencing, a muscle like spasms that I n others have seen a ball like form n roll up under the middle towards the left side rib cage and felt like it was going on top of my heart and squeezing, like maybe a heart attack. It slowly went away, however since then I’ve been having muscle like spasms under my left rib cage. It of course Scare’s the heck out of me and I end up having anxiety attacks badly, sometimes making my heart rate go up to 133 – 137 bpm. Although I have always had a high heart rate of 113 on a normal day. Now I have like nerve damage down my left arm n hand. The muscle like spasms don’t really hurt as much as it feels like a knotted muscle and a lot of intense tightening. The ER Dr’s just say I’m having severe anxiety and act as though I’m crazy saying it feels like my heart or a muscle spasm . they say it’s not my heart cause nothing comes up on the EKG. This happens then I go into anxiety attack, that’s why I question the ER Dr’s. Which say other than the heart n lungs there is no muscles to spasm. So my question to you is what cause’s this tightening I’m feeling? And is there any thing I can do to stop this feeling from happening?

    • Hello Tanya.

      While sometimes necessary, the loss of PROPRIOCEPTION in a surgery like this is huge and potentially devastating. Be aware that beyond the pain, another mechanism for the sort of things going on with your heart can be found HERE. As is always the case, you more than most, need to be on an anti-inflammatory diet. Tons of info on the site the links will take you to.

      Dr. Russ

  38. Laurie

    Dr. Russ.. i have been reading on your website and thank God for you. I am a 38 year old mother of a 7 year old and a 2 year old, the 2 year old weighing almost 40 pounds. I was scrubbing crayon off the wall using two Mr. Clean large erasers down to a shredded pieces. I was laying in bed that night and thought i felt a breast lump, ran to urgent care the followign day, and was told it was normal rib. i am thin built, weighing 109 pounds. They diagnosed with me with costochondritis. Started seeing a chiropractor who works the muscles. he was working on my ribs and said i more than likely had an intercostal neuritis as every time he got into the lower ribs, i had hot spots. He got that lower rib pain to settle down for the most part and then i developed pain at my serratus anterior muscle, which now im having issues with. I get soo frustrated i could cry. I have a desk job and at my desk 9 hours a day with poor posture and slight scoliosis. I try to sit up straight but doesnt always last. I have days where i feel like something is majorly wrong. Please tell me that im being a hypochondriac. I tend to google every symptom which i know is a no no.

    • Doubtful you have CC. Not sure what it is, but at your weight, you absolutely have to be doing some resistance training. Tons of info on my Doctor Schierling site about getting healthy and regaining your posture.

      Dr. Russ

  39. nichole

    hi I’m 20 years old

    I went to the gym yesterday. I jogged and did elliptical and layer on my back after on that giant gym ball to relax then went sauna after. right now in the middle of the night, when I exhale deeply, it seems like my left chest is bruised. it even feels bruised when I press it and the pain’s kind of connected to my back. it also hurts when I lay on either side but not when I’m on my back unless I press my chest. what could this be doc? I am really scared

  40. Rachel

    Hello my name is Rachel and I feel as though my concern will be unbelievable but I would like an opinon. I have been suffering from rib pain for quite some time now. If I had to estimate it would probly be close to 8 years. I never got it checked out mostly because it was never beyond an occasional discomfort. Over the past few years it has gotten a lot worse though from what I can pinpoint ever since I was pregnant which my daughter is now right over 4 years old. I looked up things on my own and assumed it was somethino called slipped rib syndrome but now I would like to know for sure because it has become unbearable. Everything I do bothers it. Some times its so bad I can’t sleep at night because any way I lay it feels like my rib is hanging. If I lay on my back it feels like it’s going to fall out my back. The affected side is my left side so if I lay on my right side it feels like it’s hanging down into my organs if I lay on my left side it feels slightly better putting pressure on it but it’s still awkward feeling. I am a CNA for my work and it is a very physical job and I belive I now I have a back problem on my lower right side because of it. I would like to know what is wrong with my ribs though and of it is even my ribs or maybe muscle spasms because sometimes it feels like the affected area is vibrating. That’s the best word I can describe it with. Any thoughts would be helpful. Thank you.

  41. Wennie

    Hi, I was bending to get clothes out of the dryer and had a feeling of something popping out under my ribs on the right side. This happened two weeks ago. Whenever I sit up, cough, sneeze, or bend over, I feel like someone is stabbing me. I don’t know how to treat this. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  42. John

    Hello my name is John,
    I am a hockey player who recently got tripped and landed on my hip. When I got up a felt a very sharp pain in my left hip. This is not my concern though . After my game I started to stretch. I realized I had a pain around the area of my rib cage. This pain only occurs when I stretch. Could you help me finding out what this is

    • Hello John,

      Pain when you stretch, move, or contract the muscle, almost certainly means you have a tissue thing going on. Sometimes these cause pain when coughing, sneezing, or breathing, and sometimes not.

      Dr. Russ

  43. Darren

    Hi I moved to pull my fiancé out of the pool from the side and felt a pull in my left side of my mid back just to the right and below of my shoulder blade I have had a dull acute ache the size of a quarter in between my ribs and pain on my left side of my ribs occasionally.

    I have recently started back to dancing
    And it has come back with vengeance and after 6 trips to the physio and dry needling it still won’t settle he seems to think I have overloaded my thoracic joint. Massage does help temporarily , but comes back after 30 minutes it sometimes hurts at the top of my inhalation as well any ideas ? Many thanks Darren

    • Definitely some sort of tissue thing. The needling is great for Trigger Points, but not so hot for Fascial Adhesions, which is probably what this is. However, I would try a couple adjustments and see what happens.

      Dr. Russ

  44. Dorothy

    Hello, my name is Dorothy. I am from Philly and I have been diagnosed. With Costochondritis. The pain is indescribably. What should I do? Please, I need help fast.

    • Hello Dorthy from Philly,

      The suffix “itis” on the end of a medical word means you have inflammation. Because few people know what it really is or how to control it without drugs, you need to go over to my Doctor Schierling dot com site because I have dozens of articles on the topic.

      Dr, Russ

  45. Leslie

    I was doing some stretching. I pulled “something”” at the base of my left breast, on the left side of the breast. I can see a bulging line, about an 1/16 of an inch wide, running to the base of my rib cage. I looked at all of the diagrams on the rib cage and could not ID anything along the line described above. The pain has not gone away. And only painful when touched. I am thin so it is easy to see the rib cage. I am 70 years old and a runner. No pain while running

  46. Jane

    Thank you for doing this.

  47. Debbie

    18 months ago i had an accident. I was pulling up a sod of grass in the garden when I got the worst pain ever in ribs. Lower left side. I have always had discomfort since than. 4 weeks ago i leaned on something on that side. The pain hit me again. X rays show normal. My rib still feels sore to touch and my breathing is ok.

  48. Lisa

    I have horrible pain on my left rib cage. My husband and I bought a new house and he picked me straight up and carried me over the threshold. I heard two big cracks and my pain is so bad. How can just picking me up cause that?

  49. Julie

    I am a 30 yo female. 9 years ago I suffered with bronchitis and coughed so hard that I injured my ribs. After some scans, I was told that I separated three ribs from the cartilage on the left side.

    Fast forward to this year. Approximately 12 months ago, I began to have unexplainable pain in the same area. Saw my Dr, x-ray was clear. Pain has been off/on since, past two weeks have been the worst. I schedule to see my Dr for this coming week to rule out underlying problems, but of course I am anxious. The pain will radiate into my back and it feels similar to a pulled muscle in my lower/mid left back. Breathing is normal with no increase in pain. Is it likely that this is related to the initial injury or should I be more concerned?

  50. angela

    i have severe pain but it would start in my lower upper back and ecalates to around my sides to my rib cage just under my breast!!! every single time i have went to the hospital they have told me its mucle spasms its worse then that and i can not deal with it any suggestions???

  51. Tory

    I am suffering daily rib/muscle pain from 40 years plus of bra wearing. I do not wear the underwire version.
    Constant back pain as well. I have been fitted with bras correctly, but fear too much damage has been done. I take daily pain relief which lessens the pain.
    Hope u can help!

    • Hello Tory,

      I have seen lots of these problems over the years — almost always in women who are well endowed. Although I can certainly help, my experience is that because the underlying cause of the problem has not changed, anything I do is temporary. Of the dozen or so of my patients I’ve known to get reductions, never once have I seen one not be happy with the results. I realize that I am making assumptions here, as this was not a lot of information to go on.

      Dr. Russ

  52. Serena

    Hello Doctor,
    I’ve had a pain around the scapula area or the ribs or something for several months now. I went to a massage therapist then to chiropractor and, unfortunately, neither helped at all. No relief, whatsoever. I do have herniated T5 and T6. Not sure if this has anything to do with it, of course, but FYI nonetheless. I do not recall injuring anything in that area. I am miserable. I cannot sleep/rest on my left side which is odd because the pain (area) is on my right side. I cannot lay on my tummy with my head lifted up, either — like when I was a teen, I’d lay on my bed on my tummy and talk on the phone? I did that earlier and the pain was horrific. There is also popping, cracking when I roll my arm around in a circle. Pain also when I tilt my head to the left and it pulls that area. Not as bad, but it does hurt. My husband will rub it, and I feel like it would help some, but it doesn’t help a single bit. I don’t have insurance or I’d go get x-rays or something. Do you happen to have any ideas?

    • Hello Serena,

      Herniated thoracic discs are pretty rare. In 25 years of practice I have only see a few of them. Would be interested in knowing what you did to cause them as this is the general area you are hurting. X-rays are unlikely to create that elusive “Ah Ha” moment. I tend to think it’s a tissue thing, but honestly, with your history (or without your history for that matter) it could be any number of things.

      Wish you well.
      Dr. Russ

  53. Shane

    Hi there doc my question is I’m a 48 year old man had a ruff life of trucking and cowboyin all my life! My body is darn sure reminding me of it!! Every day!! Lol but yesterday I woke up and man my back felt like hell!! And it hurt me to walk and everything!! Just miserable so I had a gal I know that is 100# soak N wet walk on my back for me! BTW I’m 6.3 300 pounds big feller! They say but when she walked on my back I felt a definite bang!! Inside me to the point she felt it threw her feet! Lol but uhhg today the back pain is gone!! But I feel like someone took a bat to my ribs on the tight side! And I’m asking you for your help do you think my carcass was just that out of alignment that the sore ribs are where the pressure was relieved?? From alignment? TY

  54. Lizane

    Good Day Dr

    I have been seen by many diffrent doctors this year with no help at all, I am from South Africa.

    It all started when I got pregnant with my 3rd child, I started getting bad migraines, so bad when an migraine episode started I lost my speech, (I know what to say in my mind but can’t say it) I couldn’t even walked, and got a very sharp pain in my left eye. So when this happened I went to the ER and they given me a drip.

    After my baby was born it got better, but for the last year I am getting dull pains on the left side of my head close to my left ear, so I went to the dr got a MRI of the neck, the dr said I have a slipped disk in my neck but it is nothing to worry about, I also had xrays of my back and chest and a ekg.
    I get this sharp pains between my ribs 3rd and 4th upper left ribs and it is driving me nuts, recently it also started on my right side, I noticed when I lay flat on my back my right rib case is higher than the left one. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Hello Lizane,

      This could be two separate problems. You might have an issue with your ribs or it might be a systemic issue related to your pregnancy and migraines. I have a ton of information on Migraine Headaches on my doctorschierling cot com site.

      Dr. Russ

  55. Nasir

    Dr Russ ,
    Thank you so much really your explanation very helpful.

  56. Paula

    I have had pain underneath my right breast for more than a year now. It is an off and on pain, but I have been wondering if it is a rib or rib tissue problem. It can be quite uncomfortable. I typically feel it the most when I am straining on the toilet (I’m sure no one wanted to hear that)! Sometimes it begins bothering me when I’m sitting up in bed working on my laptop.

    • Absolutely no way to even guess from a short blog comment.

      Dr. Russ

      • Kevin

        Sir, I have a quick for you. I’m not asking for a diagnosis without actually seeing me, but would just like to know if it’s common. I was throwing a football around for about four hours or so with friend. When I came back inside I noticed something wrong with my right side (ribs mid high) been like this for a week or so. It doesn’t hurt when I’m still. It doesn’t hurt when I breathe in or out, but any contorting or any movement up of the ground with my arms hurts something fierce, actually I thought it was an organ to be honest. Thank you, also I’ve had broken ribs before but this feels different, like it’s it feels sprained but I’m not sure. Will I survive, hospital or no hospital, that is the question.

        NC Central University

      • Hello Kevin,

        This is a classic “pulled muscle” (pulled rib tissue). The question is not whether you will survive — you will. It’s whether or not you should go to the hospital. Providing you don’t have an undiagnosed case of who-knows-what (cancer or something else), a trip to the ER will be quite unproductive. There will be nothing done to actually help you (imaging will be negative), and you will probably be prescribed meds that cover the symptoms temporarily but don’t actually get to the root of the problem. Will it go away on it’s own? Maybe. But don’t be surprised if it rares it’s ugly head as you get older. My Fascia page helps explain why.

        Dr. Russ

  57. Jesse

    About a year ago i had appendicitis surgery laproscopically. In order to do this they had to bloat my stomach up with carbon dioxide in order to see in it. Less than a week after the surgery i started noticing pain under my lowest right rib. As the week went by it started hurting more and more until i couldn’t breathe and i thought i was going to die. I haven’t been able to sit in a desk forever without being so uncomfortable under my lowest rib i feel like i’m going to explode. Anytime i lift anything slightly heavy such as a bookbag or weight, it hurts underneath my rib really bad for a few days and is constantly uncomfortable. After a year I am able to lift my backpack without any comfortableness but it still gets uncomfortable when i sit down for an hour plus. Today i was feeling my lowest rib and i would swear it felt like the entire thing was bruised. Before i could never tell exactly where the pain was under my rib, on it or over it. But after feeling now i feel almost sure my rib is bruised or out of place or something. Maybe a muscle but it feels like a bruising pain not sharp. I’ve had every test done just like everyone else and it’s clean. The doctors all have been telling me i pulled my rectus abdominus but it isn’t getting better after a year. I doubt that wouldn’t have healed after that long. Please help me get my life back.

    • Hello Jesse,

      If you spend any real time on my site, you’ll learn that pulled muscles are most of the time pulled fascia. Although these tend to heal OK most of the time, sometimes — depending on any number of factors including your level of health, inflammation, as well as the intensity of the injury — they don’t heal properly. If you want to get a better idea of what I’m talking about, take a look at my Fascia Page. If the doctors are correct in their diagnosis of your pain coming from a pulled Rectus Abdominus (I have know way of knowing), Tissue Remodeling should provide a quick and inexpensive solution.

      Dr. Russ

  58. Chrystee

    Help me understand Please!!

    first let me start off by saying that I have not had any accidents and have no clue what has caused this issue… I have been having pain in my mid back along with pain around my left shoulder blade for a few weeks now. I noticed while rubbing my back that I had 2 bulges on my spine that can be seen through my clothing. They are very tender to the touch as well. I went to my primary dr today to have it looked at. My dr agreed that the lumps were abnormal so had me do an X-ray. The results were normal and showed no reason to have these lumps or the pain I am experiencing. But… He said that my ribs were very long for my body and that the 11th and 12th rib could be the issue. When he said that a light went off in my head. Every since I can remember, my 2 bottom ribs on the left side pop in and out only in a sitting position. It’s never been painful but rather a weird feeling. Never thought much about it until today. My doctor seems to think that my “unusually long ribs cage” is causing my back pain. I don’t understand all of this and he isn’t very informative. He wants me to do stretches at home for a few weeks then come back for a ct scan. He gave me a shot of prednisone in my back today which has caused the pain to be worse. Everything I have read so far, talks about pain in the front like chest or abdominal pain. I have neither. So as of right now I’m back at square one… In pain but now utterly confused. Please help if you can. Thanks so much!

    • Hello Chrystee,

      The first thing I want to mention is that X-rays, while a valuable tool, only show one tissue — bone. If your problem is soft tissue, it won’t show. Secondly, telling you that you have “long ribs” or a “long rib cage” sounds like mumbo jumbo. Doctors are notourious for making things up instead of just saying three words — I’m not sure. Thirdly, corticosteroids are dangerous and degenerative. If you read the articles on my blog concerning this topic, you quickly realize that most of the time, doctors are not following standards of care when they use them. Fourthly, if you read my article on MRI vs CT, you already know that CT gives you such a huge amount of radiation that they are considered a significant risk factor for cancer. It is tough for me to tell you what is going on, but the “two bulges seen through clothing” thing is a red flag. I would think seriously about getting a second opinion on this.

      Dr. Russ

      • Jane

        A second opinion, and not from the ER or that same physician. Someone who understands myofasical and other pain. So sick of the made up diagnoses. I’d bet, too, that this person’s doctor didn’t even suggest heat, or cold or — anything.

  59. Robert

    Hi Dr. Russ,

    Where to start…. for about 12 years I’d get intermittent pain in my neck and shoulder on my left side. When it flared up it would be bad and feel like something was pinched, but it always went away on it’s own.

    Fast forward to 2012, I woke up one morning and noticed that one of my ribs (t2 I think) was protruding about 1/4 inch on the left side of my sternum. It was not painful at the time, but I saw my GP as lumps are scary. She said “costochondritis” and told me to use Ibuprofen. That did nothing

    Now in the present day I’ve noticed that 3 ribs (probably t2, t4 and t5, possibly t3, t5 and t6) are protruding near the sternum and the rib that runs under my pec muscle is protruding and lumpy. My neck and shoulder pain are constant and burning around the chest at the sites of the lumps.

    I’ve went through a course of chiro and am finishing up a course of physical therapy at the end of this month, but neither have provided anything more than slight relief that always passes.

    I’m at my wits end. I’m constantly depressed due to the pain, and despite knowing it’s not rational I have started to think terrible things like “This lump must and pain must be mesothelioma and you’ll be dead soon.”

    I’ve also got digestive issues; small burps all the time and feeling uncomfortably bloated and unable to burp.

    The doctors I’ve seen have been unable to provide any help. Chrio, PT, one trip the ER, and 2 different GP’s tell me it’s just pain and/or anxiety; but I’ve got these lumps and I’m pretty scared. It’s been 2.5 years since I noticed the lumps and there hasn’t really been any noticeable change in either direction with their size, but the pain in my neck, shoulder and chest on the left side seems to be getting progressively worse.

    If you have any ideas at all I’d appreciate any knowledge. I’ve all but given up on this pain ever going away and most days am 95% convinced it’s a horrible cancer despite knowing my thoughts are irrational.

    • Hello Robert,

      Yes, those thoughts are irrational. If I have said it once, I’ve said it a million times — rib pain (no matter the cause) will make you think you’re dying. It could certainly be a Scar Tissue problem as it is doubtful that the treatment you’ve had thus far has addressed this.

      Dr. Russ

  60. Bill

    Please help me Doctor,

    I fell off my bicycle 9 days ago and have been in severe pain where I landed on my right side of ribcage. Fortunately the pain is a little tiny bit less each day since. What concerns me is when I sneeze. I am terrified of sneezing now because my ab muscles and lungs seize up on me and I literally can’t breathe and make a gut wrenching vomiting noise. It isn’t until I am at the point of passing out from no air, where I can finally start taking small gulps of air and then things become normal again. Is this normal from a rib injury?

    • Hello Bill,

      No matter what is wrong with a rib (bruised, broke, cracked, out of place, etc) they can make you think you are dying — especially when coughing or sneezing. This is normal. The fact that you are getting better each and every day is a good thing. Although you are not my patient and I am not giving you any personal advice; in my clinic I tell my patients that as long as they are getting better — even if it’s slowly — this is a good thing. The problem with going to the doctor with rib problems like this, is that as long as you have not punctured a lung (you obviously have not) there’s no treatment for them, whether they run tests or not. Broken rib — nothing. Bruised rib — nothing. I would suggest that once you get to the point you are not in such excruciating pain, you find a good chiro to consult with about getting those ribs adjusted.

      Dr. Russ

  61. laura

    Hi Dr. Russell,

    I played basketball a week ago and was hit really hard in the ribs on my right side (I’m 36 years old). It was someones shoulder going into my ribs when I went up for a shot as they were trying to block me. Immediately, I felt a lot of pain. It really hurts to touch it and do a lot of simple movements. I read that injuries sprains/and breaks will heal on there own. However, the pain seems to be getting worse. It hurts to sit up from laying down, cough , bend down to pick stuff up etc. I have a constant dull pain and then sharp pains when I move wrong. I am wondering if should see a doctor? Or if it’s just going to get better on its own. I also like to run daily. Is running something that would help it not heal. Amazingly, I feel a dull pain when I start running and then it goes away. However, doing many of my everyday stuff hurts really bad.

    Thank you,


    • Hello Laura,

      I stopped taking x-rays of suspected rib fractures probably about a year after I got into practice (1992). Ribs do heal on their own. Experts used to suggest things like braces or tape. Now they know that the restriction coupled with the shallow breathing, causes pneumonia. In other words, whether it’s broken or not, the treatment is the same as far as the medical community is concerned. If running does not make it worse, it is highly doubtful it’s broken. This is the classic case of give it a little time, then see a chiro when it’s well enough to adjust. The fact that running actually makes it better, but sudden movements hurt makes me think it could be a tissue injury.

      Dr. Russ

  62. D

    I have a rib injury from a sledding accident. I hit the ground hard and it caused my ribs on my upper right side to hurt severely. After 5 days of severe pain and not being able to move with out screaming, I went to the doctor. He examined me and said he thought it was just bruised, but if my pain continued to come back in and we would do xrays…. but last night my upper ribs started popping every time i moved. This morning i woke up feeling a lot less tender and sore, but every couple hrs i will move the wrong way and its a severe pinching feeling that takes my breath away it hurts so bad. I know ribs are tricky and not much you can do, but i have heard of dislocated ribs hurting internal organs. So my question is should i go back and get xrays? or is this normal feeling to have with hurt ribs?

  63. Brian S

    Hi there –
    Over the last 6 months I have had discomfort to the touch on the costal margins around my xiphoid. I have also had a lot of burping, along with IBS. Can the cartilage pain be digestive related? If so, it is a functional pain, hypersensitive to something specific?

    • Hello Brian,

      This sort of pain can be and often is functional — usually the result of poor digestion. Make sure to go over to my DoctorSchierling dot com site and type in “H” on the search bar. My articles on H. Pylori and Hypochlorhydria will come up. You need to read.

      Dr. Russ

  64. Mercy Rosato

    Hello Doctor
    My daughter who is 14 very athletic and as big as I am squeezed me really tight on my right side sideways taking my breath and causing me to cough..I felt like a pop and slide feeling and it hurt a lot.. I thought the pain would just go away! The next day I woke up with so much pain and it was radiating to my back.. I can’t take deep breaths or cough or sneeze cause it hurts so bad and the worse when I yawn I can’t catch it cause it’s too painful! Today is Wednesday it happened a week ago.. I went to doctor they did X rays and it was normal no broken ribs.. They prescribed me naproxen and before that I had taken Tylenol with no results! The pain is still there! I can’t sleep cause every position hurts.. Whatever I do causes me pain! Please help! 🙏🏻🙏🏻
    What kind of injury do I have? 🤔🤔
    Thank you 😫😫

  65. liban

    Hi Dr Russell. My girl friend is very sick last 2 years. Her shoulder is swelling. 2 years ago had a car wreck and injured her back and shoulder. Now star swelling all sides of arm, leg, and side of stomach. What advice can you give me please. She is felling pain from the side on her neck to her leg.

    • Hello Liban,

      Make sure to go over to my Doctor Schierling site and read about the specific problems associated with MVA. I also think she needs to treat this, at least on some level, as a systemic problem. I have talked about this in any number of comments.

      Dr. Russ

  66. Arisha

    Hello… i am 19 years old female… i am suffering of rib pain on bothside (right and left ) just below the breast only on back side… since i was 11 Years old … can u give me some advice…

  67. Lindsay

    I found this information interesting. I have a Sharp pain in the left rib area that radiates between right under the breast bone to further back under my arm. Had an X-ray done which came out normal. Told to treat with anti-inflammatory med and heat. It’s been two weeks and it is worse. It started I assume after bad coughing and blowing my nose with allergies. I woke up with the pain. Weirdly it feels better when I lay on the side of the pain. When I try to lay flat when first getting in bed it feels awful, sharp pains as well as when I move indifferent positions. I try to stop myself when I have to sneeze as it starts the sharp pain all over again. I am assuming it’s just muscle strain but should it have gotten worse? One thing that keeps sticking in my mind is that an X-ray tech once told me I have very large lungs. Since I haven’t had an MRI or CT should I be getting one? I’m also wondering if I should be doing something else to aid in he healing process.

    • Hello Lindsay,

      Firstly, be aware that my brother (an ER doc in your general neck of the woods) says that when it comes to back pain, do not get advanced imaging until you are ready and willing to have a surgery. If you want to understand why, go to my Doctor Schierling dot com site and read about overdiagnosis / overtreatment and the fact that CT’s blast you with radiation, significantly increasing your lifetime chances of cancer. Secondly, as I talk about in this post, these problems are often caused by ribs that are out of place (subluxation). If this is the case, it’s usually an easy fix for your chiro. Thirdly, as long as you are not a smoker or have COPD, large lungs likely mean nothing. Heaven forbid this doesn’t clear up quickly, but if not, contact me and we’ll talk some more.

      Dr. Russ

      • Lindsay

        I definitely appreciate the information. Since they did an x-ray would it show if a rib is out of place? I guess I could get a copy for my Chiro so that he can review. It stinks as I know I need rest but sitting/laying down has gotten so uncomfortable that I dread it. I ordered a rib cage wrap that should be arriving today. In the meantime, at least until I can get into my chiro I’m hoping that it provides a little relief. My doctor said to use heat however everything I read says to use ice pack 3-4 times a day for 20 minutes or so. Which is best? Also because I have an autoimmune disease of the intestine I am told not to take anti-inflammatory meds so I take Tylenol which doesn’t phase it. Thank you so much for allowing me to vent… 😉 – I really appreciate your knowledge.

      • A couple of things. An x-ray is not going to show a rib subluxation. Mainly because whether there is physical distortion present or not, subtle changes in motion are what causes the problem. Rib pain can be brutal — makes people think they are dying sometimes. These subtle changes rarely show up on x-rays. Ice is always best for this sort of thing. I would also suggest you go to my doctor schierling site and start studying autoimmunity. Type the word “Exit” into the search bar and read the first article that comes up.

        Dr. Russ

  68. George

    Hello, I’m a 46 year old male. July 2012 I had a motorcycle accident and broke numerous bones. Forearm, femur, all ribs rh side, most left side, both scapula’s etc. Horrific. I obviously had a flail chest, after being on vent, numerous collapsed left lung incidents in hospital doctors decided to perform rib fixation. I lived they did a wonderful job saving my life. However I’m having continuous pain in ribs. I still have non union issue as well as ribs healed together. I need help. Pain is intense at times

    • Hello George,

      As an avid cyclist myself (2001 GoldWing that is often ridden in Arkansas more like a sports bike), this sort of thing un-nerves me a bit. As for the injuries, the non-union throws a wrench in the machine. Even with the fixations, some good drop-table adjusting would likely do a good job of freeing things, without disrupting the fusions. Probably a great deal of tissue junk (Scar Tissue) as well. The very first thing I would do is get my hands on the bone health packs by Standard Process. Crazy how well they work. Move on from there to dealing with dietary inflammation (see my Doctor Schierling dot com site).

      Russ S

  69. Tracy

    Hello,I am a 39 year old female with an unknown autoimmune diease, I have inflammatory issues, I have been to many doctors and had lots of blood work that keeps showing inflammation. I also have horrible pain in my upper ribs and up in between my breast. I have been to the ER in the past and they tell me to rest and take ibprofren but as my immune system rejects or has bad reactions to medications and now I have sharp pains just under the left breast that last for secs and sometimes mins and is sore to touch. I can’t even wear a bra because of this. Is there any advice you can give that may help. Tired of being in pain

    • Hello Tracy,

      One of those dirty little secrets is that many — probably the majority — of all autoimmune diseases remain undiagnosed because there is no specific test for your specific problem (the ANA test only tells you whether or not you are autoimmune). This means that your problem might be purely autoimmune, or it might have a mechanical (Scar Tissue or Subluxation) component to it which must be dealt with. Without checking you, I have no way of knowing. If you go to my Doctor Schierling dot com site and do a search on the word “Exit” it should provide you some insight.

      Dr. Russ

  70. Pamela

    Hello I’m 33 years old and I’m having pain that takes my breath away. It startered out as a cramp under the bottom left side rib. It has stayed for a week now. I’m can no longer pick up towels without pain. I have tried everything to relieve the pain. Please give me some idea of what to do!!

  71. Anna

    Hi how are you Dr. Schierling ?!

    I’m 40 years old, 5’5″ now 130lbs but before pregnancy 116lbs, I am apparently very healthy, and no visible health problems. I’m a 5.1/2 months expecting mother of a first child. I started feeling a sharp pain right below my braw line on my left chest two months a go. The pain is in a 4 to 6 inches the bra line quadrant but stronger and deeper on the bra line, close to the rightist of my left breast, it is also sharp, burns, feels like I have a metal chain tighten my chest, and my skin feels numb on my left side of the belly starting where my bra line is toward down about a 4 inches quadrant.
    I can’t wear a wired bra or contract my upper abs, because the pain will start, but eventually it will subside after few minutes of few hrs… So, now I minimize the use of a bra since I have noticed that the bra makes it worsen even if it is only for 15 minutes. I feel I need to use bra because my breast grew 3 sizes due to the current pregnancy. I feel it got worse and more painful since this last week, I had a very horrible night waking up middle of the night several times, and the pain is stronger and sharper when coming, also it lasts longer to subside, but I noticed it is more prominent when I sit for long periods of time on my desk, or if I sit for over 30 minutes or more while driving, regarding of a pressure of a bra or not. The pain is just there, like an inflammation or an under bruising….
    I talked to my OBGY and my family Dr. All they tell me that they never heard of it and it’s unfortunately probably just part of pregnancy that I should just try to stretch out more often.
    I really wish I could find out what it is, so I could take care and start enjoying my pregnancy. Since so far that’s the only discomfort I have besides some lower back pain that comes and go very rapidly

    Thank you very much for your input!
    Have a fantastic weekend!

  72. Aidan

    Hi doctor how’s it goin I got beaten up badly and my ribs was just a bit bruised on one side for a week or two , I have no pain wat so ever nor have any difficulty in breathing sneezing coughing etc BUT my right rib bone sticks out as if a bone the bone has piped outwards out compares to the other side I’m just wondering what seems to be wrong ?? I had an mri scan for a different injury on my shoulder and never asked about my ribs cause it wast hurting or never came to my mind to ask the doctor did they see anything because I had no pain it’s been like this a good de months now have you any theory doctor
    Thanks you
    Much appreciated

    • Hello Aidan,

      My experience (well over 25 years) tells me that whether you have pain or not with an injury / deformity such as in your ribs, although I can usually help people with the pain (which is not your issue), but can never get the rib to stop poking out. By the way, this is a totally different injury than when your chiro tells you that you have a rib out of place.

      Dr. Russ

  73. Kim

    Thank you for this article. My 12 yo daughter has been having lower rib pain for months with stretching and sitting different not helping. The dr passed it off as nothing but I’ve been noticing that more & more the last few years. What other info do I need to ask her to see if I can narrow down what might be causing it? She has a 12 degree of scoliosis – would that affect the ribs too? Thank you for any info you may have.

  74. Angela

    Hello Dr. Russell Shieling,
    Many thanks for your article. I do hope that you might be able to shed some light on what is wrong with me.

    First of all I’ll give you some background information. I’m 46, female from the UK, I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome hypermobility type, POTS and fibromyalgia.

    Last August I began to feel what I first thought was anxiety in my solar plexus area. After a couple of weeks I was hit by what I can only describe as a severe and very painful spasm all across my upper abdomen under my ribs. It lasted a few seconds butbit took the wind out of my sails. I thought nothing of it but a few days later as I was cleaning kitchen cupboard doors and bending over as the same spasm struck me again. This time it was worse and I had to sit down immediately. Later that day I was again bending and it struck me even more severe going right up into my chest and either side of my neck. This left me weak and in terrific pain. It felt like I’d over strained my abdominal muscles but the pain was also in my sternum. A few days later the pain got so bad I couldn’t even sit up and I went to the hospital. They did tests for infection and presumed it was my stomach and sent me home with pain killers which didn’t work. I was in agony all night and the next day I went back to the hospital where they checked my hear and did a chest xray and blood tests. These were clear and it was again suggested it was my stomach. I have spent the last nearly 5 months virtually housebound in pain which is a burning pain all across my mid back in the ribcage which goes around me in a band around the sides and to the front. My abdominal muscles feel like they’ve been torn and the pain at the front goes up into my sternum causing burning searing what feels like neuropathic pain. I sometimes feel nauseated and feel like I’m going to go into a panic attack. I can’t wear a bra or have anything tight around myself from the belly button upwards into my sternum. It’s all hypersensitive to touch. In these past months I’ve had upper GI endoscopy, CT scan of abdomen and chest, ultrasound on upper abdomen, MRI of thoracic spine and blood tests that all are clear. I’m now waiting to see a rheumatologist for further evaluation. It seems that my pain is exacerbated by doing anything that involves the use of my arms like washing up or packing groceries into bags etc etc. Sitting can exacerbate it too. I also feel sharper pain under my right ribcage in the upper abdominal muscles above the belly button. I’m at a complete loss and feel like I’m going to be stuck like this for ever. I take mirtazapine and Lyrica but it doesn’t help. High doses of dihydrocodeine doesn’t help nor does anti inflammatory medication. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter. Many thanks for your help.

    • Hello Angela,

      It could very well be a Rib Tissue problem like I talk about on this page. The problem is, with ED, all bets are off. I have an interesting article on Ehlers Danlos over at my Doctor Schierling dot com site.

      Dr. Russ

      • Angela

        Thank you. I will definitely have a look. You are most helpful. I have just been told I have a nerve impingement at T7-8 level and I am now going to see a neurosurgeon. My pain is in the correct dermatome. I will now go and take a look at your information regarding EDS. Thanks again and Kind regards.

  75. Guru

    Hello Dr Schierling. I may have hurt myself while I was in the gym. I was doing a traditional leg press with about a 180 lbs and after I brought my knees in all the way to my chest and started pushing out, I could feel a sharp pain in my lowest right rib. I’m pretty sure I didnt break anything though, and I started using the icy hot patch for a few days. It went away(or so I thought) after a couple of weeks of rest. I hit the gym again after two weeks, but even one session on the elliptical brought the pain back. Now it’s a constant niggle – not pain, but I am afraid that going back to the gym will exacerbate it again. Is it just the fascia ? Or have I done deeper tissue damage ? I had similarly hurt my left side a few months ago, but a few weeks of rest seemed to make that go away. I know not to hit the leg press again (I plan to stay with squats and other extension exercises) but I would like to first recover from this so I can hit the gym again. I would appreciate any opinions you may have.

    • Hello Guru,

      Glad you explained what “niggle” means because I had no earthly idea! It is almost impossible for me to tell you how deep this injury is, although my guess is that with proper stretching it will resolve itself. However, let me share something with you. If you are doing squats, you don’t need to spend much (if any) time doing leg extensions. I wrote an interesting post for my Doctor Schierling dot com site just the other day about Extension Therapy.

      Dr. Russ

  76. Gina

    Hi Dr. Schierling,
    After my second pregnancy my rib has not been the same. On my left side, I think it is the second one or third one from the bottom. It has been a constant pain in my side an inch towards the front. It gets better, then I do things like bending, cleaning, picking up stuff off the floor or (everyday stuff) not sitting completely straight and then it hurts again. I start to exercise when the pain is gone but if I’m not careful with what I do it comes back. If I touch that rib it moves more than the other ribs. This has been going on and off for 8 years. Today is one of my miserable days. I can’t find a position to be comfortable. It doesn’t hurt if I cough, sneeze or take a deep breath. I’m in my mid forties. The pain started with my first pregnancy towards the last 2 months. And with my second one about half way through and then it never went back. I took an X-ray about 1 year after my second pregnancy and the Dr. said nothing wrong – nothing he could do. So i figured it is something I just have to suffer with on/off. Any suggestions/ anyone in NY that can help?
    Thank you in advance,

    • Hello Gina,
      Rib subluxations can be fixed by almost any chiro, and I deal with lots of rib tissue problems. When you start getting into the whole hypermobility thing, everything changes. Someone might have a solution for grossly hypermobile ribs, but I have not figured that one out yet. Is there anything that you do that makes it worse immediately (reproduces pain)?

      Dr. Russ

  77. Jane

    Your articles are very interesting and informative. I have been dealing with chronic pain in my right rib cage for over 10 years now. The pain at time can be mild and at times it can be severe. It comes and goes, I can go months with no pain and then it comes back more painful then ever and lasts from days to weeks to months. I do not recall any injuries that would of caused any pains, I only remember it hurting. I was in two car accidents but the pain in the right rib cage was already occurring. The pain wraps from the center of my sternum (under my chest, in the location of the gall bladder) all the way around on the right side to the center of my back. The pains I experience vary, some days they are aching, they can be sharp needle like pains (especially in the back), they burn, they spasm, my ribs feel bruised. I have tried numerous types of pain killers over the counter and prescribed and none have taken away the pain. Usually the only thing that makes it feel better is pressure, the more pressure the less it hurts. When it is hurting it also feels swollen, though you cannot physically see swelling, I sure feel like the whole area is swollen on the inside.

    I have seen numerous doctors and know one can figure it out. I have had ultrasounds, MRI’s, CT Scans, GI Tract tests, X-Rays and everything is negative. However on one MRI it showed that I had minor abnormal cartilage between rib 3 and 4, but the doctors seemed to ignore that.

    My husband is wondering if it is the Pepsi I drink (as that is my worst habit) so he asked me to include that question. I will do nearly anything to help the pain subside, it gets more painful and the time frame is longer as I get older (I am only 29), I am hoping maybe you can lead me in the right direction for help.

    • Although the Pepsi you are drinking is certainly bad news (#1 cause of osteoporosis, sugar is extremely inflammatory, etc, etc, etc — tons of info on this on my Doctor Schierling dot com site), doubtful it is actually causing this problem. Can you ever reproduce it via certain movements?

      Dr. Russ

      • Brett

        Oh my gosh I’m experiencing the exact same symptoms. Mine started while training for a 1/2 marathon and initally were very painful in the ribs but has since moved to the back as well. It comes and goes, but never completly leaves. When it flairs up it is only relieved by rolling my back on a softball. It is not reproduced by any certain movements and I am able to lift weights at the gym, run, and play hockey without it hurting. It seems to hurt more when I am in my classroom teaching or sitting at my desk. I also have had nearly every test imaginable as I thought for sure it must be a tumor or something if it wasn’t going away after 7 months but they have all come back clean. Any ideas? Please help.

      • Hello Brett,

        The thing to remember about Fascial Adhesions is that most of the time, although very specific motions or activities might set them off, the more active you are, the better they get — at least for the moment. They tend to be worse at rest when you are not forcing motion into the restricted tissues.

        Dr. Russ

  78. Hi there,
    last month i pulled a rib muscle in my sleep, the pain was not that bad, i took some days off, after a week i still could still feel pain but i thought it would’nt be a problem to train, (im training kickboxing) it got wose after the first training session, the next day i decided to spar with a friend, (sparring is a light fight) i didnt have any problem and i didnt get hit in my rib cage, i went back home, took a shower and then sit on my computer, the moment i tryed to stand up, i heard a crackling noise and i felt an unbearable pain, i broke a rib, i did the RICE thing, didnt train for more than a month now, it got really better but the problem is that the broken rib healed but i still feel some pain at the end of the rib, i only feel pain when i press on the end of the rib, the pain goes away almost completly when i sleep on my back, but at the end of the day pain comes back, im wondering is there anything wrong or i should just wait until the pain is gone.

    • Hello Doomsday,

      Not sure exactly what advice to give you, but for a young (I am assuming here) trained individual to “break” a rib getting up from their computer, raises some red flags. Firstly, I wonder if this was diagnosed by a physician and how they did it. And secondly, if it was really broken, you might have a much more serious problem going on.

      Dr. Russ

  79. Emily

    I twist my back to pop it a lot. I was wondering if that could have hurt my ribs by doing the motion to quickly. I often feel like my ribs need to pop and sometimes they actually do pop. The problem with that is that it hurts. It feels kind of like I’m being stabbed. The pain usually does last long but its been lasting longer than it usually does. I haven’t done any heavy lifting or frequent coughing.

    • Firstly, it is virtually impossible to tell you what specifically is wrong here. Secondly, popping your own joints all the time is never a good thing as it leads to imbalances of ROM, which is a known cause of degenerative osteoarthritis. Thirdly, the feeling like you need to constantly pop a joint is almost always related to Fascial Adhesions.

      Dr. Russ

  80. Laurence

    Hi – I’ve been getting sensitive-type pain across the midriff (normally in spots under either the right ribs or occasionally on the left – on a sporadic basis for the past 5 years. I’ve tried the chiropractor, GPs, medication, supplements for minerals etc (vitamin D) on specialists’ advice with no help. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Kind regards, LB

  81. David

    Hi, two days ago I was doing some sit up exercises but kept my back flat on the floor and only slightly raised my head upwards to receive the crunch in my abdominal muscles. I’ve performed this exercises many times in the past but only once recently since I have incorporated many chest and push up exercises.

    Two nights ago I could feel a slight discomfort in my right ribcage/right shoulder. Yesterday morning I struggled to get out of bed. And last night discovered that I couldn’t lay flat on my back.

    The healing has increased today with much rest. However I stayed in bed until 2pm trying to lay down in different positions. The pain was so extreme this morning that it woke me up instantly.

    I’ve been on my feet today trying to do daily tasks that have taken hours instead of minutes.

    I’ve attempted to lie down again, however the pain increased under the right shoulder pain. I’ve sat back up again and pressed lightly on my back with a flat ruler to try and locate the pain. It’s not on the surface on the back or chest. It feels like it is coming from inside my body but near the surface under the right shoulder blade.

    I know it’s the sit ups which caused this injury because the following day I woke up with a soreness to the front of my neck on both sides.

    I sneezed once early and that hurt like hell. It hurt so badly that the second sneeze disappeared by itself.

    I cannot cough because it hurts like hell. I burped early and that hurt like hell. And I can’t laugh either.

    This reminds me the time I fractured my cheekbone and I wasn’t allowed to cough, sneeze or laugh for the first couple of months incase it ruptured the fracture even more.

    Could you give me an indication to how long this injury may occur for?

    And as a final note, I tend to do military push ups daily. But no exercise now other than walking until this clears up.

    Thank you for reading my comment.


    • There are any number of things that cause pain with increased pressure such as what you will find in coughs, sneezes, straining at the stool, etc. Discs are common, but so are ribs. Could be out, could be a tissue tear, could be something altogether different. A word of advice to anyone reading this. I am not a fan of crunches or situps. Read the world’s foremost expert on spinal discs, Dr. Stuart McGill, to see why.

      Dr. Russ

  82. John

    So here is my story:

    Back in highschool I played baseball (right handed pitcher, shortstop). I remember one game my junior year (about 7 years ago) I pitched through some pain in my right ribs (seemed like that serratus anterior muscle pictured in this article.) and the next day I could barely throw because the muscles on right side of my rib cage felt like they were completely out of whack. I ended up not pitching again that season but rather seeking chiropractic care and the severe pain eventually went away but the chronic pain never did. I came back my senior year and continued to play, and I was able to work around the pain by icing, heating, and resting a little more than usual after I would pitch. The pain would still randomly come and go after throwing, sometimes more severe than others, but when I stopped playing baseball and went off to college (5 years ago), the pain in the right rib cage went away pretty much and from that point on I experience almost the same pain in my left rib cage except not from throwing. The right rib cage pain made sense because I was a righty thrower, but the chronic pain in my left rib cage has really left me confused. I have been to every specialist from shoulder to neck, and have been to several different chiropractors. My current chiropractor does a decent job of controlling the pain when It gets bad, but honestly the pain never fully goes away. It starts with what feels like painful knots in my side and front ribs on my left side, and sometimes it will go away for a little and other times it will manifest into my entire left side of my back being in pain and seemingly swollen from my shoulder to my hip (sometimes I even feel like I’m losing motor skills in my left arm and fingers when It gets really bad and my left shoulder feels out of place…just overall weakness in my left arm). I cant figure out anything in particular that sets it off, as sometimes when I work out it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t, and I have the constant urge to dig into my ribcage with my hands just to relieve the pain for a few seconds (I constantly see bruises on my ribs from me digging in to them and rubbing my left side up against wall corners). Ive done all I could the past 5 years to help this go away, but lately ive begun to realize the toll it takes on my life as I am becoming chronically irritable due to the fact that my back and left ribs hurt almost every day. I believe this has something to do with rib subluxation or rib tissue, but there has been such a weird timeline to my pain that I really have no idea. (Like why would the pain go from the right to the left side?)

    Sorry for making this post so long but any advice you have for me would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hello John,

      Even though most of what doctors see in their clinics everyday is “classic”, there are huge numbers of cases that defy explanation due to symptoms that point all over the place. I would guess that this is a myofascial issue. Doubtful there is any TOS involvement (something relatively common in pitchers), but there are aspects of it that make me wonder. No idea where you are located, but I would check for and break adhesions of fascia in the torso area, and you would know in one tx if it was going to work. Big difference or no difference — no middle ground.

      Dr. Russ

  83. patricia

    Hello,my name is Trish,I’m from Kentucky,I have had pain and pressure in my left rib cage that radiates to my back then to my right ribcage,and sometimes other places in abdomen.I have had this pain for 6 yrs,ever since my hysterectomy,that’s when it all started.sometimes the pain is severe and I can’t sleep cause I can’t lay certain ways it makes it hurt worse,sometimes it hurts so much,that it hurt between my shoulders,about where my bra strap sets.I stay exausted ,I’ve been to every doctor and ER around here,but they all say the same thing,everything looks good ! But I’m still in pain,what do u think I should do,they thought about admitting me in a hospital until they find the problem,I’m only 34 I have always taken good care of my body,I just can’t take living my life around this pain much longer,please help !

    • Hello Trish,

      Cases like this can be difficult to gauge. The pain might be coming from Fascia or it could be coming from something deep that was fouled up during the surgery. Not sure where you are at in Kentucky, but I am only two and a half hours from Wycliffe.

      Dr. Russ

  84. Emmanuel

    Please my mom has been having issues with the rib for something now…what do i do???…please help me and give me some suggestions

  85. judith

    This was helpful I have pain above right breast when coughing etc &I do toss firewood in stove I gather that’s how I strained it..does hurt…:-(

  86. I severely broken 3 ribs 3 yrs ago. Then another this yr. I think they were ribs 3,4,5,8
    I continue to get severe muscle spasms with unbearable pain. To the point where I think I will pass out. I take oxycodone, methacarbinol, ibuprofen. And I ice it. I don’t know what to do any more!

    • Hello Gayle,

      I am certainly not telling you I have all the answers, but when it comes to a three year old injury, pain meds — particularly hardcore opiates — are not the answer. Go back and re-read the post, focusing on the tissue remodeling link..

      Sincerely, Dr. Russ

  87. Garry

    For the last few months both ribs seem to have protruded some or at least feel that way.. I don’t have much pain but when I lay on either side I can feel the pressure of my ribs as if I am laying on a hard object…I do lift weight regularly and recently have been diagnosed with Ibs..My doctor said that ibs is probably the cause..However my ibs has gotten much better and the annoying continues..I did have a cat scan when the ibs was diagnosed. .I am starting to worry and wonder what this is and if I will ever get better…Any help will be appreciated..

  88. Hannah

    3 years ago I tripped and fell onto a wooden best post directly onto the bottom left rib and was in a lot of pain following, so much so that I went to A&E. They told me that there was no point doing an xray as there was nothing they could do to treat a broken rib anyway.

    So I left and just waited until the pain went (about a month or so later). But 3 years on I am still feeling intermittent sharp stabbing pains in the exact area which come and go I have gone back to A&E thinking I am having a heart attack but ECG all fine (I was also having palpitations as well)

    It’s worrying but possibly to do with the fall? Could there be damage in there still causing me problems so long afterwards? When I am having an episode, the stabbing pain is worsened when i bend over, lean to the side, breathe in or cough. Then it goes again. I also do a fair amount of exercise and wear sports bras – could this be a cause?!

  89. Angie H

    Hi Dr. Russ,

    I came across this article in hoping to find some kind of answer(s). I got a Thai massage at the end of Last October, and afterwords, my right rib and muscle going down on my side sort of hurt. Now, December, the pain hurts bad. My ribs on my right side are sore like I was punched and sometimes my right side is tender as well as my right forearm. It’s so weird. I went to my doctor. Labs came back perfect. Sometimes it feels a little spasm-y, no pain though, on my ribs. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  90. Raye

    Hi there,

    When I was in high school I was horse playing with a friend and my rib popped. I was fine for hours but later than night I became uncomfortable and then after a short 2 hours I was in unbearable pain and couldn’t breathe, I felt like my lung had been pierced. My mom brought me to the ER and I was given an Xray and an oxygen mask. The doctor told me I had only bruised it. Well.. it moves. All the time, lately it’s been everyday and it’s causing me a lot of discomfort. BTW my injury happened about 10 years ago now. It’s the rib located right under my right breast. If I lay on my back it feels like it falls inward. If I lay on my right side it feels like it’s falling outward. I have to position a pillow next to me to secure my rib. It moves sometimes from just taking a breath. If I exert myself I can’t even lift my arm because the pain will get so bad. But there’s also long stretches of time where it won’t bother me at all. I just don’t understand if it was only bruised why it’s moving? And is there something that can be done about this or is it just something I’m going to have to deal with the rest of my life?

    Thank you in advance for any advice you have for me!

    • Hello Raye,

      Although there could certainly be some tissue issues going on here, what you have is an instability. I am not sure what do do with ribs that constantly move around. Adjusting them does not last long and braces can cause lung drainage issues and pneumonia. Tissue Remodeling would be my first choice, but depending on how unstable it really is, it very well might not work.

      Dr. Russ

      • Raye

        I’m assuming tissue remodeling means surgery..? I’ve never had surgery before so that’s intimidating. Should I look into a specialist, and if so what kind? I rarely go to the doctors so I don’t even have a dr.’s office at the moment to be referred from.

      • It does not Raye,

        Read my page on Facial Adhesions on the top menu.

        Dr. Russ

      • Raye

        When you break Fascial Adhesions, is this a very painful process? Do your patients need to be sedated for this procedure? I see that it causes bruising which is fine, I bruise all the time… But I am concerned putting enough pressure to break anything in that area could further damage my rib…

      • Hello Raye,

        No sedation required. I rarely run into people who cannot tolerate what I do. Because people in chronic pain are desperate for relief, if you can show them what you are doing is effective, they would let you beat them with an axe handle. People in pain will put up with some discomfort if it will help them get rid of the pain. I actually treat very elderly and young children (5 ish) in this manner. I have discovered that in most case, you have to be above the threshold for breaking tissue to get good results. A whole lot of sub-threshold treatment (nothing) is just that — nothing.

        Dr. Russ

  91. Olivia

    hello, I am a long distance runner and Ive had some sort of horrible pain underneath my ribs for some time now. Im only fifteen, but i run about 8 to 10 miles a day when in training. I notice the pain mostly when racing and going full pace. Its a sharp stabbing pain almost like a cramp, that also causes cramping in my neck. this continues after im done running and sometime i feel it faintly before, but it is worse when running. I alo feel a dull ache in my upper back or back of the ribs. At this point I am so lost, and no one seems to know what the problem is. Ive gotten an ultra sound, xray, and blood tests, but no one can figure out the problem.

  92. Alisha

    About 5 yrs ago I was reaching up to grab something of a shelf and I got a sharp pain in my upper right side rib area. For 2 days I couldn’t move without lots of pain. Now 5 yrs later I still have upper pain in ribs on the right side. Its more of a dull and achy pain now. I have noticed it hurts more with physical work . I have been to E.R. a few times and to my doctor. I have had s sonogram and blood work done and everything was normal. I also have anxiety and this just makes it worse. I’m always worried something serious is wrong.

  93. Louise

    Hi there!
    7 months ago I walked into a door handle. I had a sharp, momentary pain but no bruising. A week or 2 later, I had a sharp pain in my flank/waist area very near to where I walked in to the handle. This has slowly got worse and has now spread to my right rib cage. At the end of every day, I have a dull aching rib cage and this sharp flank pain. The more active I have been, the worse it is. It doesn’t affect my sleep (usually) and most mornings I am relatively pain free before it starts coming on again gradually. I’ve had an ultrasound, blood tests and a chest x Ray. I was told it is musculoskeletal BUT I am very worried… Would something musculoskeletal last this long without any sign of improvement? I’m so upset with it all and can’t get with my life with this constantly on my mind. I’d really appreciate your help. Thank you.

  94. Kay

    I have a “knot” at the base of my left rib cage that is painful to touch and hurts when laughing, sneezing, coughing and when lifting or when engaging strenuous activity. It hurts when I move the wrong way or lay on my left side a certain way. I have to be careful when sitting not to lean that direction or it will start hurting. I have had this for about 1 year, and I cannot recall any trauma to the area. It is not a severe pain, but it is painful and annoying. When I first noticed it my GP ordered xrays, ultrasound and a ct scan with contrast. None of these tests showed anything. I’ve also had an upper GI and a colonoscopy to rule out bowel or digestion problems. Yesterday I saw a general surgeon who immediately said it was Tietze’s Syndrome from a cartilage rib tip fracture and I was feeling pain from the nerves rubbing when I move and that it would never get any better. He said I could deal with it or have surgery to remove the cartilage and nerve but there was no guarantee it would work. I have read about Tietze’s Syndrome and it seems to affect the first 4 ribs. My pain/knot is at the base of my rib cage where the rib is not attached to my sternum. I am wondering if I need a second opinion. I’m not convinced of my diagnosis. I am having a really hard time finding anything online that explains my condition.

  95. Gabriela

    About 10 years ago, I was sitting in the front seat of my car and due to an emergency, I had to hurridly twist and reach into the backseat and immediately felt a sharp pain in my rib area. I don’t remember if it was the left or right side because this pain has occurred on both sides. The pain is so sharp and I can’t do anything to alleviate it. The pain will subside after a minute, then I can feel it starting again and it starts over. The pain lasts a minimum of 15 minutes and then goes away, leaving my rib area sore. The pain is to the side and right below my breast area. It happens when I twist my torso or when reaching too far for something. It also occurs when I am singing loudly. I just found your website and wondered if you could help me. Is this something that I will always have to deal with?!

    • Could certainly be a tissue issue Gabriela. Unfortunately, I never really know if I can help someone until I actually examine and treat them. The great thing is that you’ll know in one treatment if it is a success or not.

      Dr. Russ

  96. Laurie

    I stumbled across your website googling rib pain. My left lower rib sticks out in the front and more noticeable when I lay down..I carry my 32 pound 2 year old on my hip daily and wonder if that’s not contributing. I have been to urgent care frequently in a panic thinking it’s sinister but have had normal xray. I have a pain in that ribcage.not horrible but nagging. I’ve been working with a phenomenal chiro who thinks I have intercostal neuritis. I should also add I have a desk job where I’m at computer for 8 hours a day and sit with bad posture. Intercostal neuritis sound right?

    • Hello Laurie,

      Just remember that your doctor can not tell whether or not you are dead or alive by looking at an X-ray. Generally speaking, X-rays show one tissue and one tissue only — bones. It is doubtful your problem is actually arising from bones (although it is certainly possible). As for it being IN, could be but I doubt it.

      Dr. Russ

  97. Helen

    I was thrown off a horse at speed one month ago. I landed heavily on my right side which winded me to the point I couldn’t breath for a short time. I broke my wrist too but that’s healing. The paramedics checked my ribs and said none were broken just bruised. After two weeks of uncomfortableness it settled down. But yesterday I got an immense stabbing pain in my right side exactly where I landed. If I touch the area it’s sore and if I lay back on a pillow it’s like a knife is being twisted in between the ribs. Any ideas? ?

    • Hello Helen,

      The thing about ribs is that whatever is wrong with them can give exquisite pain. Yesterday’s long-distance patient was a woman who had taken a terrible fall onto her butt and side three years ago, and broken five ribs. She was left with terrible residual pain that resolved immediately on treatment.

      Dr. Russ

  98. JoeG

    i fell very hard from about 6-7 feet up (trampoline park chasing my 6 year old jumping pretty high) right on my back, impact was on right side maybe 4 inches right of my spine. IT HURTS SO BAD. everyone said its a broken or cracked rib, get an xray just to be sure you’re not in danger of a punctured lung, advil and ice and get through it-i did and there is no break. What else could possibly make this hurt so bad. I can’t take deep breaths, it kills when I cough, and dull soreness never ends. its localized too, maybe about 4 inch wide circle of fire pain.

    • Hello Joe,

      The thing to understand about ribs is that no matter what is wrong with them (bruised, cracked, broken, tissue issue, etc, etc) they will make you think you are dying; usually because it hurts so much to breathe. I quit x-raying ribs in my office over two decades ago because no matter what is wrong, there is no real medical tx for them. As for the possibility of puncturing a lung…. These sorts of injuries typically — at least in a young, healthy, adult male — will rarely if ever caused the “shattered” rib so many people are so worried about. Shattered ribs will typically be seen in horrendous traumas such as MVA’s.

      Dr. Russ

  99. Lucita

    A couple years ago I got bronchitis and coughed and sneezed so much that I weakened my chest wall. Well one day I sneezed and felt a pop in my right rib cage under my right breast. I couldn’t breath as it knocked the wind out of me. I went in for xrays they found nothing. They diagnosed me with popped cartridge. I can stretch, breath, lay down and it will hurt. I can lay on my stomach and feel it pop. About a year after that I got an MRI done that showed nothing as well. I went to a chiropractor and he told me I more unlikely have scar tissue. He sent me to a massage therapists. She found out that my scar tissue basically takes up the ribs below and above my right breast. So I was wondering is there any at home naturalistic remedies?

    • Hello Lucita,

      What you have been through is actually fairly common, and could just as easily be Fascia as Cartilage. My experience is that if the problem is caused by Scar Tissue and Fascial Adhesion, supplements or “remedies” aren’t the answer. You’ll have to find someone to deal with this mechanical problem mechanically. And make sure you are dealing with any Systemic Inflammation you might have as well, as Inflammation always leads to Fibrosis (Scar Tissue) — HERE.

      Dr. Russ

  100. Kelly

    3 years ago, I had a child. When I was pregnant he stayed up under my right ribs mostly and it was very painful. When I was in labor, he was still partly under there and with every contraction my lower right ribs would bulge outwards and the nurses would be pushing them back in. I had a lot of pain after that, and started feeling a fullness behind my lower right rib cage. 3 years later, I still have very tender spots in 2 ribs and in the tissue between them, as well as the pressure and fullness behind the rib cage. All of this makes it uncomfortable to sit down or lay in certain positions. My GP wouldn’t do any x-rays and says the fullness probably isn’t my liver since my blood levels are fine. Just told me to deal with it basically. Could the pain and pressure behind the ribs be from when I was in labor?

    • Hello Kelly,

      To answer your question, yes. Pregnancy and delivery can both be quite easy, but have the potential to wreak all sorts of physical havoc. I routinely see Piriformis Syndrome or similar that started after having a baby.

      Dr. Russ

  101. mca63

    Hi! I slipped and fell 14 days ago. I twisted my body during the fall so I could use my hands to catch me. A few days maybe as many as 5, I began to feel pain in my left side, lowest rib at junction of where it meets the spine. It then radiates thru out the thickness of my waist and huts in the front as well. Could it be a sprain from twisting? I’m surprised it’s hurting like this for so long.
    Thank you Doctor.

  102. andy cummins

    I have been having severe pain in
    My ribs for 8 9 months right side. I’ve had 3 ultra sounds and a
    Colonoscopy my gp
    Believes it’s liver pain but the pain is never localised its in my ribs pressure under my ribs when I sit down I’m certain pain is from
    My ribs but can’t convince them. It also set off when I raise my right arm up and forward

  103. Marjorie

    Two years ago I had abdominal aortic aneurism repair. I still have discomfort in the left rib area where the incision was made. Also I have copd. I’m exhausted and can’t get relief. I’ve been to doctors and a pain clinic, had massage, acupuncture and nothing helps.

    • Hello Marjorie,

      Likely a Scar Tissue problem. If you go to my Doctor Schierling site, you will see that in many cases, body work such as massage or other similar, must be intense in order to break down the adhesion.

      Dr. Russ

  104. Donna

    I have unbelievable swellng, the right side of my thoracic is always higher than the left, I swell out the sides of my ribs, like I’m full of fluid, a massage therapist told me that..and I sleep on my back and the pain on my right wakes me, all I can do is take meds and sit up and wait.
    I’ve been in many mvas, 3 trucks, nine cars, my spine is a mess, and I have tumors, which I’m told are from being slammed n calcium filled, I cant seem to find a doctor that has a clue!! I’m in need of relief..thank you for taking the time to read this. It’s the short version!
    I was reading the comment below, I also had a fall landing on my back!

    • Hello Donna,

      I would say that your best option would be to read the post on my Doctor Schierling site called CHRONIC PAIN SOLUTIONS….

      Dr. Russ

  105. Stephen

    Hi, I play rugby and when the season finished all I was doing was heavy weights for the past 4months though the off season with no cardio because I wanted to gain weight and now the season is upon us I started my cardio work with high intensity and I have been getting pains all across my chest, ribs and lower back, what do you think this is and can I prevent it?

    • Hello Stephen,

      I must say that I am not sure what might be causing this. Could be an over tightening or Densification of the Fascia. If you find out, please drop a line back by and let us all know.

      Sincerely, Dr. Russ

  106. Ashley


    I’m a 24-year-old female and I’ve been having pain on both outer sides of my lower ribs for approximately three years now. I believe the pain initially started when I suffered a minor fall but did land on my ribs. The pain is much less intense on my right side. My ribs on my left side get especially tender and if I press on my middle to lower ribs it is really painful. It seems to come in waves. It is always a bit sore but there are definitely times it will worsen for a few weeks at a time and it hurts to wear and restrictive clothing along my ribs. Even laying down on my left side is painful and if I stretch too far back it pulls and is tender. When I do any kind of physical exercise, play baseball or paddle board, not over exerting, my left side ribs kill even if I take it easy.

    Would going to a chiropractor help? My ribs on my left side do stick out a bit more than my right side ribs, could that be contributing to the pain? Are there any kind of exercises/stretches I can do to help this?

  107. Ashlyn

    I got pushed on a cement floor on my back now my right shoulder and breast and armpit hurts when i move certain ways or cough etc. I don’t think its my bone what could it be and should i go to er because it hurts to breath. I’m 18 and average weight 5’7

    • Never against someone going to the ER, but this might be better served by seeing a chiro. Sounds like you not only have a rib issue, but are having some radicular symptoms into your arm / shoulder from your neck / upper back.

      Dr. Russ

  108. Sue

    Firstly I want to say thank you for such an informative site!

    I am 34 yo and fell down an escalator a week ago. Since then I have had bad pain just under my right breast, along part of my rib cage. I don’t believe I have broken anything as have pushed on my bones and pain doesn’t worsen but it hurts more when I move in certain positions, cough etc.

    In your learned opinion is this tissue trauma or a strain and is it something that I should accept will heal in time?

    Thanks, Sue

  109. ness

    I am active mom of 34. I ve noticed everytime I do pushups I suffer for weeks with a pain in my left side where my bra line is.
    This has been an issue for me for the last 8 months.

  110. Amanda

    I’ve had sever back pain episodes for about 4 years now. I’m 29 years old and I’ve gone to my PCP who told me it was fibromyalgia and a Chiropractor that said he can’t see anything wrong. The pain is random and I can go days to months with no episodes to where I will have episodes day after day. The pain seems to be worse when I might be a little hungry (weird). It starts from the bottom of my sternum flows through 4-7 ribs and seems to wrap around like a pair of arms into my T-8 area and radiates out. It’s like a burning pain deep in my bones. I can’t move or take deep breaths durning the attacks. If I slightly move my fingers the pain just flares up. I’ve tried stretching, heating pads, ibuprofen, had muscle relaxers at one time but that didn’t seem to help and is really inconvenient trying to keep up with my three young boys. Nothing works except for riding it out. Episodes last for about 1-2 hours. I’m tired of living with the pain and am looking for a direction to relief or cure.

    Any direction is greatly appreciated.

    • Hello Amanda,

      Has the chiro adjusted you? Sometimes — perhaps quite often —- there is nothing obviously wrong, but things are not quite moving freely. There is no downside to an adjustment to this part of your spine one way or another.

      Dr. Russ

  111. SA

    I was rear ended ~2 years ago (20 months) and have been experiencing mid back pain ever since. The pain is on my right side Thoracic around T8-T10. The pain is at it’s worst when I sleep more than 4 hours on my back and then I wake up in a lot of pain. I can feel the pain more when I take deep breaths and especially when I twist to the side or bend to the side. I have been to a chiro, physical therapy (3 different times), gotten joint injections, massages, etc. Not even slight improvement. I went to a rib specialist who said my rib cage on the right feels like it doesn’t expand/contract evenly like the left side does. I guess they “hesistate” due to the pain/injury. I have been seeing a PT for rib mobilization therapy for the last few weeks but condition has not improved (yet). One thing I have noticed is that the pain is very strong when he pushes on my actual rib (#8 give or take). So this got me thinking that it is definitely rib related. For the last 2 years, i’ve been thinking it was spine or muscle related. Could this be a sublaxed rib? Or maybe the tissue or ligaments?

  112. David


    For the last 6 years, I’ve dealt with pain under the lower ribs on my left side. There is no pain in my waking life but as soon as I lay down it starts as a dull ache, goes to a mild pinch, and, the longer I lay prone, escalates to a shooting pain with a deep inhale.
    I’ve been unable to sleep on my back for over 4 years and, as it gets worse, toss and turn continuously through the night to ease the pain. Pain is under the lower 4 ribs on my left side roughly 6 inches from the sternum. Hard to tell if the pain is located in the intercostals as it sometimes feels to becoming from the tissue underneath the ribs themselves, even the diaphragm at times. That said, I don’t think it’s a muscle tear as I can take as deep a breath as I like or cough for 30 seconds straight with no pain while upright and active. Pain only comes from laying flat for upwards of a minute.
    Have had x-rays, and a CT scan, nothing popped up. Have tried anti inflammatory regiments to no avail. Only success was moderate relief after extensive acupuncture treatments.
    Best analysis was chostocondritis but this condition has persisted far longer than a typical case, and being a male, I know it’s far less common. I have consulted with multiple medical professionals about this and come up empty on either a specific diagnosis, or, more importantly, a plan of attack for lowering my rib pain.

    Any advice?

    • Hello David,

      Sounds like another likely case of Rib Tissue adhesion. As you know, most of these Connective Tissues do not show up on CT or MRI. Plan of attack? Find someone in your area doing some sort of intense body work or Tissue Remodeling.


  113. Joseph

    I have now at this point been having severe pain on and off in my lower left ribs that runs into my back. At some points the pain is so severe I am in tears. I have been in and out of the e.r. for the past couple months. 3xs in my county,and once in another county. Been to my doctor several times also. I have no insurance and my bills continue to rack up. My third or four rib is bulging from the front to the back and the sticko mg out considerably. I have had cat scans done one with contrast and one without. Several blood test of many sorts and several urinalysis. They can find nothing. So bad at one point I had to cf all an ambulance to cone get me. They say everything is working fine. I have been sent ho.me with uti consochondritis and have been told to see a gift which I was supposed to be referred to and never was. I went to the e.r. yesterday cried to them told them I do not want their pain medicine and just wanted help even though I told them my pain was a ten on the scale. Was sent home once again with costrochondritis. Where at this point I became very annoyed and angry. I also had one doctor tell me he thought I had a huge hiatal hernia. Not sure what is going on but my quality of life is pretty much down to nothing and I cannot do any extracurricular activity for more than fifteen minutes without feeling like I am dying. I don’t know what to do anymore I asked them to please not release me and they told me I had to meet a certain criteria to be kept…please help.

    • Not surprised they are not finding anything. This is fairly standard with Tissue problems. The problem is, it is almost impossible for me to tell you what’s wrong via an email. Could be tissue, could be something else.

      Dr. Russ

  114. Payton

    Hi, I was just looking up causes for my back pain and this was the most realistic.. This is going to sound ridiculous but when I was younger (about 4 years ago), I asked my friend to step on my back. I didn’t think it was much of a problem because I was young and didn’t know better. I couldn’t move very much after she did it , it hurt to even breathe.. Of course I just thought she stepped in the wrong place so I left it alone until i was practically in years for a few days with any sudden movements. When I told my parents they said “it would feel better when it stops hurting” so I had to bear it out. Through the years the pain wasn’t as frequent, but it still was the same pain. When I got it checked last year, I was sent to go get an X-ray and all they told me was that nothing was broken an I was sent home. Great hospital. Now, I’ve been in chronic pain for over a week and I’m not sure why it’a acting up and mor frequent. I’ve fixed my posture, and when I try to stretch I can’t breathe. I’m not sure what it is or what I should do because when I tried to get help before this I was given minimal information, having to deal with this pain that limited me from playing soccer for the past years. Please let me know if you have any advice or opinions. Thank you !

  115. Drey

    I just discovered my problem only 20 minutes ago. I was sitting sideways in this booth at my job with my elbow up on the small breaker box. When I leaned against one of the ribs right below my right armpit against the box I got a mild shooting pain that kind of went into my right arm, and now said arm feels a little weak. It pretty much only hurts when i press that area. I didn’t even know I had this problem until just now! Any thoughts?

    • Drey,
      Not to make light of your situation, but your “problem” started 20 minutes ago. I deal with people whose lives have been decimated by months, years, or even decades of chronic, hardcore, pain. If you are still struggling in six weeks, drop me a line. In the meantime, do some stretches, use some ice, and make a visit to your local chiro.

      Dr. Russ

    • Scott

      Hello Dr. Schierling,

      I suffered a pretty severe blow to my chest a little over a year ago. It literally took my breathe away for a bit when it occurred. I thought nothing of it and figured I had bruised it and it would go away. But here I am like I stated a little over a year and still sore and tender with moments of shortness of breathe. In the last month or so, the pain spiked to the point that I felt as if I was having a heart attack. I submitted myself in the E.R. and their diagnosis was costochondritis. They gave me some Motrin, Naproxen, and Benadryl and told me it should clear up in a few weeks! Um wrong again, pain is still as present as the day it had happened. I do have several pinched nerved in my lower back and neck. Could the three be related in any way? I have scheduled appointments to see a neurologist, heart specialist, and even mental health (can’t hurt!, pun intended!). All I want is this chronic pain to go away. Any advice?

  116. Ally

    Hi there,
    I strained my ribs after a serious bout of bronchitis in feb. They took 6 weeks to improve but never went back to 100%. I continued to experience twinges but now the pain has flared. It is mainly under my left breast where the underwire of my bra is and occasionally radiates up and into my side. I feel occasional twinges on the right side. It is not the acute pain I initially experienced but a bit like a stitch. Saw a physio who found that my intercostal are painful but a couple of sessions have not helped and he said ribs are difficult to treat. Pain is worse when seated without back support and goes on rest- seems to be worse by the end of the day. I never have pain in bed or overnight. I have had a chest X-ray, blood test & abdominal ultrasound- no findings can explain the pain. I am really interested in your thoughts.

    • Hello Ally,
      When it comes to ribs, always look first to the “Big Three”. See a chiro to make sure your ribs are not subluxated (locked up and / or out of place), have some sort of massage or Tissue Remodeling done, and make sure you are eating an anti-Inflammatory Diet.

      Good luck,
      Dr. Russ

  117. Shannon

    I have intermittent pain on left side, upper ribcage/armpit around to ball under shoulder blade. Sitting seems to aggrevate this. Gets worse as day goes on, gets better if I lay down for a while or over night. Sometimes hurts every day for weeks, sometimes doesn’t hurt for weeks. Rubbing the muscles helps some, but can definitely tell that’s where pain is coming from when pressure is applied. Any idea what this could be?

  118. Chris Scharner


    I am having chronic backpain for almost 3 years now. Usually when i get up in the morning it`s gone. But as the day goes on and the more i stand (espescially when i stand long periods of time without sitting) or do any kind of sport, the more it starts hurting. But as i said, the pain is almost always gone the next day.

    The ache is typically on the rigth upper-mid back (sidestring of the spine or between the ribs, i cant tell for sure). Sometimes i think i cant go on anymore because it hurts so much. In the last 6 months the pain also appeared on the frontside of the ribcage, by the last set of ribs. I dont know why but they became really flexible and make popping sounds when moved. The pain is underneath them i would say. Any ideas what this could be. I have tried several doctors and they all said there is nothing wrong, They did CTR, X-Rays and a Osteopath adjusted me but nothing worked.

    Hope for an answer. Thank you

  119. Anni

    Hi Doc,

    I experience pain in my upper left back which I just discovered is a rib problem. The osteopaths are confused as to my treatment. The pain is a sharp one and when it’s bad, it radiates to my left arm and I have this numb and tingly feeling. Sometimes pins and needles.
    This had been going on for over 10yrs. It was only 3mths ago I was told a rib problem.
    What do I do? I have desk job so I sit quite alot. I exercise well although I am limited in some areas.

    Any thoughts?

  120. Brieanna

    Hello! I am 18 years old and have been experiencing similar pains ever since I was about 12. It began as an annual shoulder pain that occurred for a little under a week. I remember many a school night where I would lie awake crying due to its intensity, that seemed to increase with every breath and movement. Despite swelling and the fact that it was recurring, my doctors have always diagnosed me as a-okay.

    To my frustration the pain gradually became more frequent, and eventually spread to my ribs. However, after those 2-7 days of pain subsides I wouldn’t feel it until it’s next episode.

    Now, whenever I lay on my side my ribs and shoulders begin to ache. I will wake up in awful pain, that will almost immediately subside once I change positions.

    I understand that a proper diagnosis would be difficult without a proper doctor’s appointment, but I’m curious as to whether any one can relate or has any idea of what shenanigans my body is pulling.

    Thank you for reading!

  121. Vicky Buzzetto

    So I too have this little twinge/pinch that I randomly get between by left breast bone and rib cage. I am 56 yr old woman and healthy. I do a ton of yoga which can get very twisty. I can’t even say it’s a pain as much as a sensation or pinch. I don’t know what to think of it. Some days I have it on and off all day, then other times it totally goes away… any thoughts?

  122. Sarah

    Hi, I’m 22 years female and I’m experiencing a lot of sharp pain under my rib cage on the side and I’m a bit sore in the middle above my stomach in the middle if my rib cage when I push down.. I’ve also been hearing poping sounds and I’m finding it hard to sleep because it’s painful. Could it just be gas or something I’m eating. I get like this at least one or twice a week.. Normally the pain in on my right side abdomen but sometimes it moves. Not sure if it’s the same thing.. I’ve been going to the doctor for nearly two years about stomach pain but he doesn’t know what’s wrong.. I find it hard to eat a lot after 7pm (I’m a little stressed out at the moment could this be it) I’m just so sick of having pains in my stomach, abdomen and rib cage area.

    • Sarah

      Left side* (had it for a few days now)

      • Hello Sarah,

        You might have two different things going on (one of them being musculoskeletal), but my guess is that you have some sort of sensitivity. Go to my Doctor Schierling site and start using the search bar to look at things like Inflammation. You might be Gluten Sensitive. You might have an issue with Hypochlorhydria (too little stomach acid) or any other issues. If you’ve never done a Paleo Diet, try one for a month and see if it makes a change.

        Dr. Russ

  123. Lucretia Cummings

    Hello, I am a 50 year old female that has been suffering with rib cage and actually all of my chest and below the rib cage Pain and deep burning. had my gallbladder removed 2 years ago because they thought that was the problem, the surgeon said I had massive amounts of scar tissue, I’m still in pain and even having pancreatitis. (I’m not a drinker) Dr’s have no answers, my c reactive proteins are more than 10 times what is high risk on the blood work. I have been sent to pain management with no answers. It hurts to push on my ribs and deep breaths kill me.

    • Hello Lucretia,

      A CRP that is ten times higher than normal is a huge red flag. You absolutely need to start reading my posts on INFLAMMATION and their relationship to Scar Tissue (Fibrosis). Although the medical community can easily measure CRP, there are no drugs that really affect it. And because doctors are rarely serious about urging patients to make very specific lifestyle changes, you are left in the lurch.

      Dr. Russ

      • Lucretia

        Thank you so much for replying. Your article has been a huge help to me.. I understand now a lot about my inflammation. I have also suffered from IBS all my life with no answers just lots of tests from the Dr’s. I am printing this off to take to my Dr. and now discuss with him what I’m needing to do to get healthier. I sweat 24/7 and am wet and clammy due to the severe pain I suffer from. None of the Dr’s have admitted that my clammy sweats are associated it my severe pain. When I sit on the examination table at the Dr;s office I leave a wet spot of my entire thighs and butt. So embarrassing.

      • Head over to my DoctorSchierling.com site and do a search on “Sympathetic Dominance”. Sweating is not entirely sympathetic, but these two articles should shed some light.

        Dr. Russ

  124. Dr.vikram veggalam

    Hello doctor.
    I am a surgeon by profession aged 31 years. male . Long hours of standing in theatre.past 2 years am experiencing excruciating pain in my last rib left side.now since few days am unable to perform activities. Deep breathin also causing pain at tip of the last rib. The tip is very tender. Along with this am having in left rhomboids. There is slight kyphosis towards left.no history of trauma to rib. Kindly suggest remedy to this issue.any kind of investigation kindly suggest
    Thanking you

    • Hello Dr. V,

      I do not have anything to offer as far as a test. I would try getting adjusted first and if that does not make a big difference, I would then seek out someone well versed in bodywork.

      Dr. Russ

    • back96

      Curious….do you drop to your knees at times bcs you can’t hold up your torso? This happens to me and hurts like heck for hours (then goes away), especially after certain standing stretches. I can’t take a deep breath either. I use magnesium oil…it’s the only thing that helps me. My quadatus lumborum is full of trigger points, post. serratus too…..leaning forward is the problem. I get them worked on by a TP specialist when I have money to do so. Strengthening the back and core is supposed to help…it does a bit, but not that much. Side streches help too. Topical Mg oil does the trick better for me….but it’s an irritant to the skin.

  125. bcn1975

    First of all, I am very happy to have found this site. I have been receiving treatment for back pain for a few months now at a rehabilitation clinic for curvature in my spine and misaligned hips. Just recently, I have been having more night time pain that keeps me awake at night. When I lie on my side, my ribs (more specifically, the muscles between my 9th -12th ribs are hurting so much it keeps from sleeping. If I lie on my back, my lumbar is in enough pain to keep me from sleeping. The type of treatments I am receiving include massage, stretching, and strengthening (very seldom will i receive a chiropractic adjustment. My question is two-fold. First, could the realigning of my spine be causing these muscles to be tense. In other words, am I going to hurt more, before I get better. Second, if this is an unlikely cause, then, what could it be, and what do you recommend to help me sleep. (during the day, it is much better…lying down is the painful times)

    • Glad to have helped you via our site Benjamin. Answer #1 is yes, potentially. However, it could simply be a case of adhesed fascia. Head over to my Doctor Schierling dot com site and take a look at my Fascia page on the top menu.

      Dr. Russ

  126. Wanda Johnson

    A few days ago, I was sitting down and bent over to pickup something off the floor with my left hand. I couldnt reach it, so I stretched out a little farther and had a sharp pain in my left side, right at the bottom of my rib cage. It hurt for a few minutes then eased up some. However, a couple of hours later the pain worsened every time i took a deep breath, and everytime i tried to stand after sitting. There is some swelling right at the bottom of my ribs. Could this be a pulled muscle or possibly a broken rib?

  127. Kathy

    I am 62 and have had pain under my left breast that moves around to my back for 7 days now. I do not want to go to ER and find out it is in my ribs or a muscle and be billed $$ for nothing. Although, i am scaring myself because it is not subsiding. In the last week i have had extreme sweats. I did twist my body a week ago but felt nothing at the time but wonder if this is really the reason for the pain. Who should i see that can check me out without the expense of a hospital?

  128. Jessica

    sometimes when I bend or move it feels like I have something coming through my rib cage I have to sit there and literally work it back through what could this be? my rib cage is now very sore on the right hand side I do not have my gallbladder it was removed about 6 years ago. thank you in advance and your articles on run issues are very interesting. Please help.

  129. Adesola

    Dr Schierling,
    Please I have been having this dull persistent back pain for 1year that radiated initially from my lower ribs, now, the pain is worse and I can feel it in my whole back. I do not feel any kind of numbness on my legs, it gets a little bit better when I lie down. I am only 20yrs doc and I really need to know what’s wrong with me doc. I have no form of oedema in my face and feet. Please doc, what’s wrong with me?

  130. Gina

    Dr Schierling,
    I have had this chronic rib pain for approximately 2 1/2 years, it started as a compression sensation around my rib cage a tight thick binding sensation and R sided upper rib pain. I was diagnosed with costochondritis after having scans and ultrasounds coming back negative. The pain now circulates around the full the rib cage sometimes into the back. It feels as if I have either bone cancer, R sided lung problems. I have seen a cardiologist, pulmonologist, orthopedic physician, gastroenterologist, and even neurologist. I am waiting to see a rheumatologist. This has greatly impaired my quality of life. It is extremely painful to touch R>L side, unable to sleep on R side at night. I am 52 years old and was very active before this. I literally woke up one morning with the compression sensation, which as progressively worsened, it never goes away, all tests have been negative. I need help and answers!!!
    Thank you,

    • Hello Gina,

      Is this positional (i.e do certain positions aggravate it?) Is it something that hurts with certain movements or is it totally random? Doubtful it’s costochondritis. If not myofascial, it’s probably some sort of neuralgia.

      Dr. Russ

      • Gina

        No it’s not positional it is a deep constant pain that has gradually worsened in intensity. I have have had thoracic injections with steroids but it actually aggravated it. I failed to mention I am also starting to have pain in my hip joints more of just an achy sensation there.
        Thank you for your help.

      • HERE is a post that might be worth reading. This sounds like a “Systemic Inflammatory” problem. Not sure the Tissue Remodeling would be of benefit as I am not even sure of what your problem is. However, there is a good starting point for almost every health problem you care to mention (HERE).

        Dr. Russ

  131. Brandon

    What’s the prognosis or typically time it would take for an athlete that does many twisting movements with there Torso to comeback from a cartilage fracture to one of the floating 12th ribs? Is the lumbar triangle in the equation here seeing that it inserts or originates from the iliac crest to the anterior costochondral junction? Is there a pain or steroid injection or a vest they could wear to just get them through 3 -4 games a week for 25-35 min per game?

    • Hello Brandon,

      When it comes to this sort of injury, they are not really “dangerous”. It’s just a matter of how much pain you are willing to put up with. I never recommend Corticosteroids and have never heard of such a vest.

      Dr. Russ

  132. lorena clark

    hi, i have had chest and rib pain for a year now. it started a couple months after having twins. any clue what i could be?? it gets so.bad that i have to stop what im doing and sometimes im on the floor crying.

  133. Mia

    Dr. Schierling, I wish I were closer to you. I’m all the way in CA. I’m afraid I have some fascia / tissue problems. I have a constant pain along the left side of my sternum right near my heart which I’ve been having since May. I feel like I’m constantly having a heart attack all day long. It hurts 24-7 but more when I twist to the side and when I bend the trunk of my neck down and hunch my back and draw my shoulders forward. It feels like it’s on the inside of my ribcage all along the muscles around my heart area left side. All of my cardio tests are normal and CT scan and x rays. I’m afraid my body will be like this for the rest of my life. I’m female, 32. I used to be very active and this pain has ruined my life. I keep trying to think what may have done this and I remember tripping and falling down 2 stairs and falling onto my left shoulder in the Spring time. The pain makes it difficult to take a full, deep breath and I cry everyday in pain and beg G-d to help me heal or kill me soon so I don’t have to suffer everyday anymore. I’m afraid I will never heal or I’m healing incorrectly. I just don’t know what to do anymore , each day is very difficult to cope. I’ve lost my appetite, my personality, everything. Is there any hope for me do you think? Or will my rib and sternum feel like this forever do you think. I’m so scared and tired of crying and I hate to take pain pills which is all the Drs want to give me. I’ve been adjusted a few times here in town by a chiro, no relief. Thanks for listening

  134. Ryan

    About two years ago I started getting a tight cramping feeling in my left lower latissimus dorsi. The pain/discomfort seams to be in the area where my posterior serratus and external oblique kind of meet on the lower rib cage. I notice the my left lower outside back muscles don’t fire the same as my right when I flex my lower back and lats. The cramping/tightness really becomes prominent when I work my back muscles at the gym. Rows/pull downs etc. This issue does seam to improve. Even after doing physical therapy/ chiropractic care / muscle relaxers. I’ve had no real marketable improvement. Need help! Thanks.

  135. ZT

    Hello Dr. Schierling, I came across your website and I have a couple questions that I hope you can please answer. Before I get into my issues I think its best to tell you about myself quickly, I’m a 20 year old male, I weight 195, and I play competitive basketball weekly and like to think that im in pretty good shape and a healthy individual. Since the start of October I have been dealing with stomach pain and was told by my doctor that I had a stomach ulcer and was put on pantoprazole, I was put on panto for 2 weeks but was still having pain so the doctor put me on panto for a month, so on October 30 before I went to bed I felt like my heart was beating faster then normal and went to the emergency they did a blood test and x-ray and urine test and said everything was fine, so about two weeks after that I went to emergency again, what led me to go to emergency again was I was laying on my bed but I felt my heart beating faster I got up and then it started pounding hard (mind you I think I have bad anxiety and panic and worry more then other people, also the whole week I had been dealing with acute pain on the left side of my chest, under my armpit and also the center-left of my chest, but thought it was some aching pain and it would go away but it didn’t), I went to the hospital they did a ultrasound of my heart, they said that looked good and also they did blood test again and x-ray’s and said everything was fine but the doctor said that I might have Costochondritis. I went home and read and did a little research about Costochondritis and alot of the symptoms and pain that was associated with Costo was matching up with my pain, the doctor told me to take Advil but I told him about the stomach ulcer so he said it’s better then to take Tylenol and just rest. So the past couple weeks it seems like I had pain on the left side of my neck (the same side of the Costo) and spoke to a Cardiologist because I had a stress test last week and I went up to 180bpm on the stress test and he said the heart looked good, and he said that the Costo is probably the issue, and to just take Tylenol aswell as rub A535 RUB on the chest and I have rubbed it on the neck and it seems to help, but the cartilage on the left side of my chest still feels tender and I sometimes have pain on the right side of my chest, I was just wondering do you know how long it takes Costo to fully heal ? as-well I feel a part of my cartilage tender on the left side and I was wondering if thats normal for it to be tender a little, because I feel like it’s swollen a bit but its hard to tell If it’s swollen or if its just tender, I also feel a little bit of that Costo pain on my right side can the pain radiate to the right side of the cartilage is that normal? lastly do you think that my stomach issues have anything to do with my Costo by any chance?

    Thank you for your time its appreciated.

  136. Victoria

    3 years ago I took a really nasty fall. I stepped on a walnut and for whatever reason twisted my body. I broke my foot and hurt my rib cage. The doctor said I separated my cartilage from the ribs. Of course nothing could be done other than medication for the pain and ice. Is it normal to still have pain after 3 years? I find myself holding my arm across my chest quite often. I am now 54 snd know it takes time for the body to heal. Thank you.

  137. tricia kalchik

    i have had chronic lower left ribcage discomfort for three years and shoulder blade. now it is radiating to my left hip. please help.Tricia

  138. David

    I’m 52 and for 4 years now i have pain around my rib cage from one side to the other side through my back but only when i hold my arms out straight in front of me the pain is so bad i can hardly stand it.I’ve been to doctors and hospitals they find nothing. i was told i was lacking potassium but it didn’t help what can it be?

  139. Raymond

    I’ve been experiencing a popping / clicking / snapping sensation in the center lower area between my ribs (after looking at a diagram of the ribs I’d say it would be near the xiphoid). It’s particularly bad when I lay on my right side. It feels like one rib is getting caught under the other and “clicking” or “snapping”

  140. Confused as to why it hurts!

    about 2 years ago I crashed ski racing, I went about 20 mph into the fence pole…ribs hit first and I heard a crack, but none of my equipment was broken. so. either cracked a rib, bruised them, or something else along those lines. I could move or breathe very well, and I ignored the pain and iced…my side was red, black, blue, purple by the end of that weekend.
    Had pain in that area for a period of about another month or two.

    Now, I get random bouts of pain in that spot, and it hurts like heck to breathe for about 5 minutes…and I have put slight pressure on that side and it’s tender to touch, and the other side is fine…
    What might be going on?

  141. Siobhan

    Hi Dr. Russell Schierling,

    Over a year and a half ago after getting steroid injections in my back (2nd round of 3 sets – I have had chronic back, hip and leg pain for the last 10 yrs [predominantly on the right side] – none of the 5 injections I’d had previously over 2 yrs caused this reaction/problem) I felt like I couldn’t breathe properly. After running every test under the sun they found nothing wrong. A few weeks later I saw a general practitioner who examined me and diagnosed me with pulled chest muscles on the left side (most likely from being flipped over from my stomach onto my back after receiving the injections). I was told there isn’t really anything I could do except take some anti-inflammatory medication and wait for the problem to heal itself (he said it could take as long as 6-9 months).

    It has been over 18 months and I still have the same problem. The left side of my chest is still extremely sore when even a little bit of pressure is put on it (for example: my cat kneading) . It is so painful that I cannot take it and have to move and relieve the pressure immediately. I still have the breathless feeling in my chest which I had in the beginning too, though, I’ve gotten used to it now 18 months later. I also get a sharp pain in my sternum when I stretch my arms back – feels like someone stabbing a knife into my sternum.

    My questions to you are: 1. Is it normal for pulled chest muscles to take over 18 months to heal? I don’t feel any improvement in the last year and a half. 2. I am going back to the GP who diagnosed the pulled muscles in a few days – are there any questions I should be asking along with telling him how I have been feeling? 3. Could there be another problem that is causing the pain/breathlessness besides pulled muscles?

    I would appreciate any advice you can give me. Oh, and in case it matters I am female, 28 yrs old.

    Thank you.

    • Hello Siobhan,

      Age always matters as it has some degree of bearing on healing times. To answer your questions

      1.) Not unless there is something else going on like Scar Tissue.
      2.) Doubtful. If you mention Scar Tissue or Fascia, he will look at you like you’re from Neptune.
      3.) The list is endless, but most of the problems on it are not nearly as common as Scar Tissue.

      Make sure to watch my Doctor Schierling site as I will probably have a video up of a patient from Texas, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

      Dr. Russ

  142. Ashley

    I’m a 23 y/o female. I was dignosised with gastritis a while ago.( lots of acid, feeling heart burn , chests pain,bottoms ribs hurt etc) well they gave me medicine and it’s helped the acid. Yet, I’m still having like a stinging pain ( it comes out of the blue) on my sturnum mostly middle left and my bottoms ribs starting from the middle of the body outward. I’ve had a lot of allergys lately no coughing tho, just a lot of mucus down the back of my throat?

  143. Arora

    Could you please help me I have chronic rsi which 2 physios failed to fix. I have now been told I have slipped ribs which is causing the pain. The first 4 weeks of physio was great but last week for an uknown reason my whole rib cage started to hurt – 2 physio visits later the whole area around the right breastbone seems to move when I walk. Do I continue with my exercises and allow this to heal or go to a different physio? I am sooo desperate please help.

  144. Jennie

    My pain started about 2 years ago after giving birth to my 1st child. I get neck and chest spasms. It feels like I am being stabbed in chest strait thru to my shoulder blades. My ribs feel like they are being sqeezed at times and I can’t breathe. I have tension headaches all the time. My ribs get tender and warm to touch. Pain varys from day to day but never goes away. I use to be very athletic due to this I just try and manage my pain. I gained a lot of weight with 1st pregnancy and have not lost it all and now I am pregnant again. I cant take any of my usual meds to cope. Ive had the whole work up. Dr can’t find anything. Been to 2 chiros, accupressure massages and now on my second round of physical therapy. Physical therapist is really good specializes in ribs in stuff. She says I have a lot of restrictions in my spine, ribs and skull. I feel good after I see her but it comes back few days later. It feels worse with exercise its like I get to tight. It use to send me to ER once a week thinking I was having a heart attack, but since then I now try and control the anxiety I get from the pain. Just wondering about any input you have on why the restrictions keep happening. Shes says its my core and posture. Im very heavy chested to.

  145. hiddenseas

    Hello, I’ve been having chronic pain in all of my ribs for three years now which I can only assume was caused by doing chest exercises at the time. The pain varies in duration, movement, sensations, and has been made 100% worse with the weather getting colder. When I inhale I can feel the coldness of the air passing to my lungs, I get very Strong chest spasms and my whole chest feels weak and tight.what does this sound like? Every doctor just passes it off as costochondritis and pretty much leaves it at that, I can’t live with this pain any longer

  146. Melissa

    I’ve been searching for an explanation for a strange discomfort I’ve been having for the last few months and it sounds similar to what’s described above. In the lower center area between my ribs, when I move specific ways, I feel a stabbing pain (example: lying on my side in bed). It feels like the ribs are scraping against each other and stabbing into tissue. Sometimes, I get a painful stab in the same area without the scraping feeling. Does this match with a rib tissue problem or is there something else I should look into?

    Thank you. I would appreciate any feedback you could give.

  147. Larry

    I have been going to the pain center for a year now, Maybe helps a bit for about three days. They have me on oxycodone which helps some but it does not take the pain away. Sometimes it feels like the muscles are tightening around my rib cage. I can stand up work with pain for periods, but once I stop and sit the pain become 10x worse.

  148. Julie McGinnis

    I work at a truck manufacturing plant, a week ago I was climbing up into the truck on the right hand side. When I went to pull myself up with my left arm I felt something pull, I have hurt from the top of my shoulder to the bottom of my ribs on the left side. I have a pain that feels like it’s in my left breast constantly. I can’t sleep on my back or left side, it hurts to breathe also. Hoping you can help me figure out what this is..

    • Hello Julie,

      You have likely either created a rib subluxation or injured the connective tissue that holds everything together. While neither is particularly dangerous (like a herniated disc can be), both can make you think you’re dying.

      Dr. Russ

  149. Alex Ardizzone

    In April of 2013 I was lifting the hood of my car, when I could feel something pull on the my right side rib cage,X-ray showed nothing, it hurts most when I lay down to go to sleep at night. After awhile the pain subsides. It’s been over a year & the pain is still the same now as it was when it first happened. What can I do for relief?? I’m 72 now & have enough pain without this new pain.

  150. Debbie

    Hi dr russ,
    For almost 8 years i had ct, mri n xrays, echos showing nothing significant. Well mri showed a vertebrae with a small nodule. But no relationship apparently.
    The pain i have under upper left rib is off the scale coming and going, when i sit quietly theres no problem. As soon as im upright it starts from tightness then inflames, if i carry v light shopping its triggered. Deep breathes trigger. A walk in park triggers. Its so debilitating and im sure my other muscles compensating this and starting to also have problems. I think my physio may have made a break through she found a spot almost on the rib which she said was muscle, but id say bullseye. The pain on soft touch was like electric shock. What do you advise ? Is there a cure i cannot face another 8 years of this im exhausted with it. General docs have sent me all over the place but dont put pieces together if its complex and no quik answer. V frustrating.

  151. Tessa Belk

    Hello Dr. Russ,

    Lately I have been having really sharp pains in my ribs. It’s usually in one place, lower right part of rib cage, but it can happen other places.
    It’s sharp and feels like someone’s stabbing me. It can feel so bad that I have to hunch over and stop breathing. It goes as quick as it comes.
    It’s not a constant pain, it’s more random. One of my attacks can last from a few seconds to a couple minutes.
    It’s been happening since May. My friends think it’s indigestion, but I’m not so sure…
    I’m 18 years old, 125 lbs, 5′ 6″, female, rarely active.
    The past two days, I felt the same pain, but it was moved to my spine.
    Any ideas? I don’t wanna go to the doctor if I don’t have to.

    Thank you,

  152. Jazz Selby

    Are you in england?

  153. Jane Crowe

    Dear Dr. Russ,

    I fell onto my back during gymnastics three days ago. After it happened I had some dull pain under my left breast/rib cage area. The pain has gone away but when I sneeze, I have sharp pain in that area. The pain does go away after a few minutes. I do not have any pain when coughing or laughing or any other body movement. Could this be a bruised rib or something?

  154. janet

    Hi Dr. Russell

    I have had dull pain in my lowest right back ribs. I guess it’s flank pain. The area of the pain is about as big as a fist, but is not really tender the the touch. However; it I push around in there it starts to ache afterwards. It started in January 2014 after a terrible cold. I have tried chiro, massage therapy, had a bone scan, xrays, blood work, and nothing is found wrong. Also, no treatment has made it better.

    But this pain doesn’t go away and in fact, it is getting a little worse. It’s still a dull pain but more constant now.

    Do you have any suggestions for me?

    Thanks, Janet

  155. Marlene

    Dr Russell Thank you for all you knowledge . Just reading these posts has helped me in having a better understanding of what may be happening in my case. I lifted a rather large piece of furniture ,felt a sharp pain ( like a lightning bolt , knife ) lower back ,two bottom ribs ,right side . Touching the ribs where it hurts feels like there is a marble stuck in between the ribs ( ligaments ,tendons,muscles ? ) I can move around without constant pain ,just not doing anything to aggravate it any more. I did go to the Chiropractor ,three times I might add ! I have also gone to see Kinesiologist, who told me without even feeling the area in between my ribs that my pubic bone was out and it was not a rib .. Go figure ! I truly feel for all you folks , hurting and suffering just trying to fine the right cure and help. I realize if you have found your way here you are in good hands .
    Once again Thank You Dr Russ ;+)

  156. Kristin Vestrheim

    Dr Doctors.
    For the last 4 weeks I have had a stabbing pain below my left breast in the rib area. It last from seconds to minutes. It can not be reproduced by movement, breath or touch, but is seems somewhat worse when I have been sleeping sitting up with my 5 week old on my chest. Could this pain be rib/muscular in nature?

    • Hello Kristin,

      Could be a tissue thing, but usually there will be a certain movement or position that causes pain. The common denominator with rib pain is that it can be severe in the absence of any sort of objective findings.

      Dr. Russ

  157. Debra McKinnon

    I was searching the internet because I am having weird things as well, at the sternum and ribcage. I have twinges, not really pain, that happens quite often, and it comes and goes, but when I am having a flare up or whatever you want to call it, the twinges happen all the time. It starts at my sternum and goes through to my back.

    I recently went to the chiropractor, he mentioned I had some ribs out of place. But, this weird thing has been happening to me, a few months ago, I was in the gym and doing pullups for my abs. I got a horrible pain under my left ribcage, almost like something was poking out from under my ribs, it was intense to where I had to push on my ribcage to help the pain. Last night it happened again. I was working in the yard, twisted just the right way and the pain was horrible. I could hardly breath and had to push in on my rib cage real hard and I swear, it felt like something was poking out.

    Should I see a doctor or does this sound like the rib cage problem? I am normally very healthy and very active.

    • Hello Debra,

      Sounds like it may very well be subluxated ribs. I would try a different chiro and see what happens. Does not really sound like a tissue thing to me, but impossible to say for sure without looking.

      Dr. Russ

  158. Melissa

    Dr. Schierling,
    I’ve had this pain on my front right side under or in my ribs for over a year now. It hurts on the bottom of my rib cage going up underneath. If I find the right ribs, it hurts to push on them. I have been to 5 different Drs., had 3 separate ultrasounds, a HIDA scan, and a CT scan. And they can’t find anything. So they put me on this medicine called Amitriptyline, I’m guessing to deaden the pain. I’ve only been on it for about 5 days but I’m still not really seeing a difference. Although they did say it’ll take about 2-3 weeks to take effect. I’m concerned they think it’s organs that’s bugging me and I think it’s just my ribs. What do you think?

  159. Manny Medina

    Im sorry if my writing bad but im in pain.. im only 25yr old n everyday since my back injury.. I get muscle cramps on my back, ribs, butt, hips, legs and under my feet.. if there any way I could get some example in how to stretch. . Cuz I hate taking 7 different meds daily.

  160. Matthew Knepper

    Hello Dr. Schierling, exactly one year ago I was playing softball and threw a ball while on one foot, I felt like something ripped out around my rib area it hurt so bad I hit the ground. After just a minute or two I felt fine, threw the ball again and it again put me on the ground. I would not experience any pain except when I threw the ball it felt like on rib was getting caught on another and kinda clicking off and on it. The season ended and eventually I wasn’t throwing anything and had no problems. 3 weeks ago (a year later) I was throwing the ball and didn’t have the sudden initial injury type pain, but the feeling of something moving returned. It is painful every time I throw and even more so uncomfortable it feels very weird. When I move certain ways in the shower for example I feel it. Any diagnosis doc? Being that I don’t seem to have any broken bones can I wrap it to try and hold whatever it is in place so I can throw? Thanks so much for any help!

    • Hello Matthew,

      Hello Matthew,

      My best guess is that this is not merely a rib subluxation (a rib out of place). This problem sounds like a tissue problem to me. Wrapping might help but wrapping carries with it other problems. One is that it can cause pneumonia because it does not let the rib cage expand.

      Dr. Russ

  161. Dana Tilley

    This was a very interesting article and I am wondering if it applies to my situation. I had bariatric surgery 4 weeks ago. Shortly after surgery I started having back pain on my left side. The doctor attributed it to left over gases that are used during surgery. The pain diminished but was still severe (liking getting stabbed in the back) when I hiccuped, coughed, or sneezed. Yesterday I ate something that did not sit well and I ended up throwing up. When I got up this morning, my left side and back are extremely painful and when I hiccuped it made me scream. Any insight you could give me would be appreciated.

  162. Cecilia

    Hello, I am a 23 year old female. I’ve had rib pain for a year and some now. Originally 3 ribs were displaced, fixed, and seemingly healed. Now I am suffering left shoulder and rib pain. The rib pain is just right under my left breast. What could it be? Sleeping on it agitates it…

  163. Amani Suleiman


    I am having a terrible pain in my sternum and the side of ribs near it. Happened after me giving birth (normal delivery). Pain for two years now, I did an xray several times, ct scan, and bone scan, all are normal. Heart echo normal, and breast examination came back normal, what is wrong with me, I feel hopeless.

  164. Howard Ramsey

    I fell out of tree and broke my back they took my 12th rib out on left side to do surgery back is fine but the left side right above my hip is severe pain i tried several pain Dr. but nothing has helped and it is getting worse.

  165. Thiyagarajan


    My entire back spinal and low hip attached ( muscle + bone ) together. I can’t bend my back. I can’t sit properly. If my legs slip, while walking my spinal gives too much pain.

    Past 5 Years i have this problem. I try to contact a doctor, he priscribed “muscle reflex “. such a medicine is not supporting well.

    I need your suggestion about my disease.

    Around 3 years back I feel pain in lower Spinal, but day by day this pain reached all over my back.

  166. Nichole Hassemer

    I fell straight on to my pelvic bone after being tripped roller skating last night. The only pain I had yesterday was near and around my tailbone when sitting down and getting up. Today when I woke up, I started having neck muscle pain, pain in the muscles covering the lower half of my ribs,and headaches that seem to fad in and out within seconds. I’m wondering if these could be all linked to falling on my tailbone.

  167. Larry Thompson

    I hurt my back playing in a softball tournament three years ago. Over swung and at the immediate time did not bother me. On my way home however, my upper right back under the scapula started in with back spasms that literally took my breath away. I went to the doctor and was given muscle relaxers (getting rid of the spasms) and sent to my physical therapist. I probably went to the therapist for 3 – 4 weeks where she said she could feel a knot deep in the tissue. She did ultrasound on it and massaged it with her elbow but never did completely get rid of the problem. It did feel better after applying pressure in the area and rolling her elbow around but it would always come back fairly soon. I have visited her a few different occasions over the three years for some temporary relief but never getting it resolved for good. It flares up often and hurts to cough or sneeze real hard. It is beginning to be more and more annoying as it flares up during simple daily routines as well as the more exertive routines. I’m tired of the issue and only wish that I could figure out what the problem is so that I can get rid of it for good. Any help would be fantastic! Thanks!

  168. Cayce

    Dr. Schierling,
    For the past almost 3 years now, I have had a terrible chronic pain under my left breast. This pain comes and goes frequently throughout th day. Though I haven’t found many specific things that aggravate it, it always seems to be worse in the evening and when I am wearing a supportive bra (the pain is right were the bottom of the bra sits) which just seems to dig into the area of tenderness. I’ve been to several chiropractors who can’t seem to put their finger on it, and I am currently doing acupuncture (which seems to half take away the pain at times). The area is very tender to the touch and I need a solution to get rid of this chronic pain! Do you think this could be the answer to my problem?

  169. PeterGilmore

    I rolled over after showering 3 months ago and started getting severe spasms in my left upper rib on the back side. The spasms moved to the right side a week later and I am in and out of pain that moves from left to right. The spasms are gone but the tightness and soreness remains 3 days a week I have tried various techniques including dry needle therapy with minimal results. And to complicate matters I am paralyzed and wheelchair bound but at this point they still believe it’s a strain. Does this sound like a strain? thank you for any responses.

  170. Tracie

    I have a bulging muscle or vein that started out as a sore/ bruised rib. It runs from under my left breast to the bottom if my rib. It pops out when i stretch my arm/side up. I am getting worried! I am calling for a doc apt tomorrow, but was wondering if you could speculate on what you think it could be.

  171. Fakiha

    I have had a bad blow to the left side, just below my rib cage 3 years ago while doing Karate. Ever since, whenever I turn or stretch my body to the right, a painful lump appears on the left side just below the rib and I have to stretch my body for the lump to disappear. I have experienced severe pain and have done all the tests possible to find out a cure for this problem. None of the specialist have a solution and advised that I need to live with this problem. I do not believe that so please advise as to what type of specialist I should visit.

    • Sounds like it’s probably Fascial Adhesion.

      Dr. Russ

      • Bonnie

        Dear Dr.
        Thanks for this forum. I’m having a simular situation. Mine started 6 or 8 weeks ago. Minor pain in upper left Rib. Didn’t think too much of it as we are preparing to move and I’ve been packing and such. About 3 weeks ago I took my dog to the beach and carried a heavy bag along with being dragged down the beach by her. Haven’t been the same since. My back hurts, ribs hurt, sides hurt. In the mean time I’ve been packing, up and down… Last week got a massage and its been even worse. I’ve pretty much been in bed since. The pain subsides when I lay down with the heating pad but as soon as I get up to move around the pain is so intense that I am almost convinced to go to the emergency room. And I’m terrified of hospitals. I went to see a acupuncturist and was told my liver is clogged causing spleen and pancreous issues and am on herbs and enzymes. Has helped on the short term but when I get up and moving again here comes the pain. And it’s bad. Mostly in the rib area. Thing is, it doesn’t hurt to breathe. No shortness of breath. I have no nausea. I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to pack since we have to be out of our house next week and I’m afraid because I’m not sure if there is something seriously wrong with me. What do you think?

      • Hello Bonnie,

        It’s really hard to say what’s going on here. Doubtful it is “serious” but again; hard to say. Does not really sound like something Tissue Remodeling would help.

        Dr. Russ

        PS Let me know if someone solves it.

  172. Erin

    Thank you for this article and the beautiful illustrations. You have described my life! Except for the fact that I have been dealing with fascia pain for 3 years and what I have told multiple doctors that I think are rib subluxations. I have other health issues as well which cause me chronic pain. But this pain! Oh. It is mainly thoracic mid to right side being the worst but is on both sides and lumbar. You can feel the fascia crunching under your fingers as you massage in this or that pain relieving cream which barely reaches it. But is crippling pain. I can’t do activities with my arms in front or over my head at all or lift anything. It’s awful. I am at a loss for what to do. The doctors here just give pills.

  173. Jeff

    I dislocated the 4th, 5th, and 6th ribs on my left side around 4yrs ago. I have found, since then, that if I turn a certain way or stretch my arms all the way back like I’m yawning and really stretching out, I get a breath-taking pain that shoots all the way into my left shoulder. Also, I’ve injured the same spot 2 additional times from very minimal contact and it’s very painful each time. Does this ever heal???

  174. chris

    HI, i fractured a few ribs on the job last Thanksgiving. Ever since I have been on workers comp. I have been seeing a Doctor that has run CAT scans,MRIs, and X Rays. Long story short ,its almost been a year and Im still having some very bad pains at my L4 and L5. It almost feels like my ribs are going to come out of joint at anytime. Is this Hyper-extended joints, or facia damage? I need answers, because my doctors don’t seem to have very much knowledge about this. Subluxation and Fascia damage definitely sounds like the Culprit. Who can I get to verify this for my law suit? Please help. If i don’t get answers ,I will be told I’m fine .I’m not fine!

    • Hello Chris,

      Unfortunately, when it comes to Fascial Injuries / Adhesions, your scenario is the norm. Out of sight, out of mind. Since most Fascia cannot be imaged well, your problem / pain is blamed on anything and everything other than what is really causing it.

      Dr. Russ

  175. Andrew

    This is a very good info. I have pain around my ribs for two years now, mostly including under the ribs. The myotherapist initially said it was an external oblique thing but could not treat the problem. All scans are perefectly normal. My reumatologist cannot find anything wrong. I visisted a guy who is a sensitive craniosacral therapits and he feels this is a ligament / fascia problem in the area. Unfortunately, not many specialists can treat this and physios where I live cannot understand what I am talking about…
    So, info like this give sme a clue of where to try to find out a problem which stays with me for 2 years now…

  176. Brian

    I’ve had a pain under my armpit at my rib for 2 weeks. Figured it was muscle strain. But always think something worse. Thanks for the info. I will go to a doctor if the pain gets worse, but it is getting better. First time with rib strain so feared the worst.

  177. Natasha

    Thank you for this insight. I recently had my 3rd child and my body just went wacky on me! I felt as if I was dying or about to! Anxiety didn’t help. I been having a lot of pain in my chest and 1st it was my stomach that was out of place due to my acid reflux that was full blown. I was constantly grabbing my breast area and under arm pits for the pain to go away. Pain going from left yo right side of my arm pain in my jaw…so yes I thought I was having heart attack. I’ve been going to chiro. Massage and holistic healing to figure out what the heck was going on. Also had a mini in office ekg and everything normal. I would constantly check my heart beat and it was always in good range. So finally my holistic chiro is putting me back in order moved my stomach back, and now moved most of my ribs back in place still have some ways to go but at least I’m not going crazy anymore!! I live in Oahu Hawaii do I wish I could see you but its a bit far…lol but thank you for your website, it really helped me understand my body and I’m not going crazy!
    Aloha from Hawaii – Tasha

  178. Barbara

    Thank you for helping me understand how easily the ribs and muscles attached to the ribs can be injured…I go to a very good Chiropractor who has explained it to me but seeing it here in your wording has put my mind at ease. I was trying to start up a stubborn leaf blower almost 2 years ago and noticed my left side near my ribs was very sore after constantly pulling the long string that starts the blower. I must have pulled it hard about 30 times. Didnt feel the pain till a day later and since have had a constant dull pain in the left side of my ribs and muscles. Sometimes I guess my adjustment is just right and the pain is gone but as soon as I proceed with my normal activities and exercise it comes right back dull nothing major and I can actually reproduce the pain with certain movements. Anyway that you for the explanation above it was a great help in calming my nerves that I have worried about this for the past 2 years!!!!

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