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.


645 responses to “RIB TISSUE PAIN

  1. rach

    Hello, for just over a year now I have had the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life.( I have broken bones, sprained ankles, elbows, hip flexors etc.) It all started one day when I woke up and had a tightness around my mid back along the spine, that was there for a couple months but only bothered me when I took deep breaths, then I decided it was about time to go to the chiropractor thinking it was just a rib out of place. He managed to make it spread to the left and right side of my back along the ribs, it feels like a muscle, tendon pain, not bone, It no longer bothers me on the left side just the right side. It hurts to do anything other than sitting without breathing. I have tried everything from physio, chiro, IMS, acupuncture, active relief therapy, yoga, different doctors. Nothing seems to work just lesses pain slightly for about 10 minutes then It goes back. I have gotten an MRI (showed nothing) spinal x-ray, rib x-ray those showed nothing either. I saw a back specialist and she said it was a muscle, tendon problem and referred me to get an ultrasound. However that appointment isn’t for another couple of months and the pain isn’t getting better I have gotten prescription pain pills that do nothing either, I was wondering if you had any ideas.

  2. Adam

    Hi I have had rib pain right,left and upper chest for over a year after hurting my left side playing football. I’m seeing a specialist who treats top players, but has no idea why I am in pain. I have had mri, blood test and x-ray. I get tearing sensations that are very painful and my ribs are very soar to touch very Sharp pain. It’s a nightmare and I just can’t believe I can not find someone to help me.

  3. Dawn

    Hello my name is Dawn first of all where are you located. Second of all my daughter is 15 years old and about 2 years ago in November around thanksgiving she came down with the flue very bad. She was throwing up for about a week. With in a week later she had an upper respiratory thing going on and then she coughed her head off for about a week to a week and half after that she had pain right under her breasts. I took her to the doctor and they said she just strained her muscles from throwing up and coughing which made sense and as time went by the pain never got better she gets it on both sides under her breasts with swelling. I have taken her to specialists two in fact and a few other doctors. We have had ultra sounds and ct scans done and they all say there is nothing wrong. One of the specialist told me she is just fat but she really isn’t fat her bone structure is not a petite person I would agree that she is chunky but not fat. In the two years she has tried cutting milk out of her diet which didn’t help and she rarely eats fried food. Most days she only drinks water there are times she will have a pop or tea or leamonade. So I am stumped on what could be causing her pain and I have given up taking her to the doctors and her regular doctor says it is just acid reflex but I really don’t think so do you think you could help I would love to see her not be in pain everyday Thank you

  4. Dawn

    Have you passed on your knowledge to anyone in the UK? I am.in agony!

  5. cristin

    Dr. Russ this information has been so helpful. I have been looking for something like this for a while. Maybe you can point me in the right position. Six months ago I was in a car wreck. Ribs 3-10 were broken at the spine (also punctured my lung, brain hemm. liver lac, etc) but I left the hospital within 2 weeks and about 2 months later I felt fine. I had a 5 week old child at the time of the accident so I stayed home with her and did not go to my follow up appointment. Now after all these months the pain is worse than ever in my upper back on the side the ribs broke. Its a burning pain, breath-taking today, and is now hurting every minute of the day. Where should I go and what could help this besides being on pain meds for the rest of my life?

  6. Shenea

    When I was about 20 I was in a car accident and about three years later I was at home and was laying on the couch reading a magazine and my parents were sitting on the other couch watching tv,anyway I was 23 years of age and all of a suddent I had a tightness in my chest and my heart started racing. My parents took me to the ER and they gave me something to try and calm my heart down,probably thinking it was an anxiety attack. Well,the issue is that for the past 25 years,that tightness in my tissue,right in the center of my chest,has never released and feels like I have been living with a brick in me for the past 25 years. Years later,I would be diagnosed with chostochondritis,Fibromyalgia,osteoporosis and than later Thyroid Cancer,which I’m in remission but now on synthroid for the rest of my life. My question is I had a book a nurse told me about years ago called Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Syndrome. When I read her book,I started to think,is this fascia that has never released since that night I tightened up or is it the chosto…Years later when they removed my thyroid,I than tightened up in my neck due to scar tissue and it has never release itself. I am curious to know what you might think and what type of therapy you think may release this cement in my chest wall for 25 years. I would love to know what you think. I have been uncomfortable for soooo many years and trying to explain this symptom to my parents and others,I don’t know if they really really get what I’ve been through.

    • Hello Sheena,

      What’s interesting about my approach to dealing with these problems is how many people I treat have had their problems for decades. I have a video of a woman who found relief after 70 years. She had fallen off a pony onto her head on concrete when she was 7. I saw her when she was 77.

      Dr. Russ

  7. Kim

    I have had a pain that goes from mid back to under my right breast that comes and goes for almost 5 years now. It is extremely painful for several days during an episode and the pain moves. It is not deep, but more on the surface. Sometimes it feels as if the muscle is spasming. I have Lupus and am in the early stages of RA. I also have Thyroid Disease. Every time I talk to my family doctor, my Endocrinologist, and Rheumatologist they have no suggestions, other than I must have injured myself and to take an anti-inflammatory. Many times I go to bed fine and wake up with the pain – so I know I am not injuring myself. Because I am also on a low dosage of prednisone, I am very careful about lifting, etc… I was only diagnosed with Lupus (ANA positive) last year – same with the RA. But am told what I am experiencing is not related to symptoms of those diagnosis. Any ideas or suggestions?

  8. Mary

    I slipped and fell in January in the middle of the night getting up off the couch after falling asleep and had been drinking earlier and slip on a magazine and fell on the side.of.our coffee table without myself being able.to catch myself and injured the side of rib right next to my right breast. It was black amd blue and I could feel a lump from the trama i had caused from falling full weight on it. The pain and dull ache with numbness drives me crazy. It will go away somewhat so I try and exercise after a few days, an It gets really aggravate again.
    Exercising seems to aggregate it more and then I’m pushing on to see if lumps are growing so I end up in uncomfable pain all over. It’s like a dull ache that never goes away. I think I’m plague with never ending constant dull ache of pain! Will this ever heal and go away so I can feel normal again?

  9. Rob

    I need your help!
    I’ve had a rib injury for a year now and it is so debilitating, it happened originally at golf. I have had all the MRI, seen specialist everything’s and I’m at my wits end. Problem is I am in Sydney Australia, do you know anyone here ? Your help is appreciated

  10. Tomas

    Hello my name is Tom 28 years of age, a few months ago I took a hard blow to my left rib cage, it hurt to the point where I believed they were broken. Days after it would hurt when I tried to rotate my body a certain way, it hurt when I coughed and breathed in too top. Slowly but surely the pain started to go away and I was back to normal or so I thought. Soon after I healed I started getting weird sensations on the left side of my chest. It started as spasms I would get every now and then but they’ve become more frequent. Now it feels as if my ribs and back are tight/heavy. I get a tight sensation that lasts for a long period at times, it brings on anxiety and makes the situation worse which in turns makes me feel like I can’t breath. I’m a smoker but I’ve never felt anything like this before until I took that hit to the rib cage playing sports, I still exercise and can without discomfort. The sensations come and go, I sleep and wake up normal but then throughout the day they come back. I went got an X-ray of my thorax and had my blood examined, the results came back with no broken ribs and my blood tests shows I’m completely fine. I spoke to a family doctor and he told me my muscles may still be tender from the blow even if it was 3 months ago. I want to believe it but fear it may be something more severe as a heart condition, but at the same time I exercise and practice sports and don’t feel any pain or discomfort at all.

  11. Katie

    I have been suffering with upper rib and mid back aching for the last 3 years, have seen a physio but nothing and they have no idea what it is.

  12. Eric H

    I’ve had ribcage pain eversince I can remeber. I remember being 7 or 8 and waking up in extreme pain or just sitting there watching cartoons and out of nowhere it’d hit me like a brick wall.

    It has always been on and off tho. The pain would come and then go and not return for a few months. Lately that hasn’t been the case. I’ve been feeling this pain almost everyday for the last 4 months. It’s really intense at times. I went to the hospital because i thought I was having a heart attack. The pain lasted more than 3 hours (which is longer than ever) it made me think it wasn’t just the normal pain I was use to feeling and I scared myself.

    It’s a very unforgiving pain. It hurts severely about 3 inches below my breast bone not in my back not on my sides and not in my chest. It’s constant and not pulsating. The only way I can describe the pain is like a cramped muscle. Pain killers or nothing I do will relieve it.

    At first I thought it could be my gastritis reflux but I’ve been taking anti acids and dieting very strictly for the last two months with no avail. It’s hard to sleep when these episodes come on and it’s very exhausting.

    I’ve been to the doctor and they said everything looks good but I don’t feel good… this pain can’t mean nothing. It’s taking a toll on my life.
    I sometimes wanna eat a bullet because I’m so sick and tired of feeling this way.
    I’m out of options and ideas….


  13. Cristina

    this morning I slightly stretched as I was waking up and felt a small tear on my upper right side abdomen. Throughout the day a small lump has formed and it hurts when I cough, sneeze or simply anytime there is any pressure to my abdomen. is it something that will go away or I can treat at home?

  14. Alan Thompson

    I have ribcage tightness and throughout my entire body very severe tightness what could cause this had blood test done x-rays mri catscan ultrasound can’t find nothing.take meds for anxieties seems to make it. Worse

  15. Edward

    thank you so much for this platform. one day i stretched my left hand and suddenly felt a sharp pain under my left breast. this have been happening every time i stretch my left hand upwards especially when am sleeping and even walking. this has now been going on for almost two months and now its becoming more frequent than the first days. what worries me the most now is yesterday when i was sleeping i stretched my left hand and i felt that sharp pain and i touched my nipple on the left side and i felt something like a muscle like a vein that stretched down to the ribs and just dissapeared in the middle of my ribs. its very real and scaring the hell out of me. bt when i relaxed my hand it still was there but not as visible and when i woke up it had gone. im scared, just wanted to know if its something that needs quick attention. i am Edward, thank you.

  16. Amber

    Hello, I am 24 weeks pregnant and for the past 9 weeks I have a deep burning pain under my ribs in the front that radiates around to my back, like a belt, where a bra strap would sit.(its not from my bra) It starts out fine in the morning but by the time I get to work its excruciating and by the end of the day I am in tears. Several times a day it feels like a muscle on the front left side is contracting as hard as a rock, especially when I lean down to brush my teeth. I spoke to my doctor, he said he wasn’t sure but it may be a “floating rib”? I have tried cutting out fatty foods to make sure it isn’t my gall bladder but it doesn’t matter what I eat. I am going to a place called Airrosti and they think it is just muscle pain from my ribs expanding too. They both act like its just normal and I have to suck it up. I don’t think I have a problem handling pain, this is beyond the “normal” aches and pains of pregnancy. I am frustrated because I feel like it isn’t a normal part of pregnancy to be in this much CONSTANT pain every single day. Tylenol does not touch the pain. I use a heating pad and ice packs constantly. I am doing different stretches and often have to just lay down to get some relief (which isn’t even helping as much as it use to).
    Do you have any experience with this type of pain during pregnancy? Any advice that could help me?

  17. Vlada


    About a year ago I leaned down and had the corner of a wooden table jam into my right rib towards the middle of my chest. To this day I have soreness constantly and it sometimes shoots to the back of my rib cage towards my spine. I’m always rubbing the area trying to massage it out- it just makes it worse. I’ve even gone as far as thinking that I have cancer but x rays show nothing. I smoke on occasion but I am not a smoker (1-3 cigarettes a month). It feels like tissue. It’s always bothering me. I don’t know what to do. It’s driving me crazy at this point.

  18. David

    I was injured in a ladder accident ,the ladder feet slipped and I fell 12 feet on top of the ladder on top of concrete.i broke 7 the rib left side.its been 5 weeks and the rib feels good but my right is in a lot of pain,no broken ribs according to x-ray. My right side has hurt a lot more than the broken rib side since the accident. Could you give me some insight.it a burning stabbing pain

  19. Reynold

    I’ve been dealing with rib subluxation(in the back) for the past 7-8 years. It started happening more frequently when I began weight training. For the past 3 years I’ve been doing men’s physique competitions and have put on about 15-20lbs of muscle. I’ve seen many chiros throughout the years. The rib subluxation has usually been around my thoracic spine usually feels better immediately after an adjustment but comes out of place after a workout. Its breaking my bank account going for adjustments every couple of days. For the past couple of months I’ve been having rib pain in my lower thoracic when I breathe deeply or turn to the right And also pain in the upper thoracic when I retract my scapula. It is very frustrating, I wonder if the problem is scar tissue from building more muscle and if so which muscles do I focus on breaking apart? Why isn’t the adjustments holding? Please help me, this is really starting to affect me mentally and physically. Thank you!

  20. Nancy

    So I have been seeing a chiropractor for another reason and he was adjusting me the next thing I know my ribs are hurting real bad. Now, three years ago I had a horse accident and they said I fractured 6 ribs along with breaking my humerus bone and hand and thumb. My doctor suggested that I massage it with a ice cube. Would you suggest, I have him try and adjust my ribs? He says it sounds like scar tissue. Please I am in terrible pain and need to find a solution.

  21. Shirley

    I have lost about 11/2″ of my collar bone form it deteriorating. My ribs are in horrible pain on the same side. Could it be from the collar bone problem and would it be save to go to the chiropractor?

  22. Julie

    I have been told by my PCP who is a D.O and does spinal manipulations that I have a rib that constantly displaces. I have moderate pain in my posterior left rib area more days than not. I can have it adjusted but in 2-3 days it’s hurting again. I had shoulder surgery recently (right side) and I had blood work, EKG, CXR and everything was normal, I also had an cardiac stress test and an Echo that was also normal. I truly believe that it’s a displaced rib. I would really like to know how to correct it and get my life back. I’m tired of hurting.

  23. Kristelle

    Ive had several surgeries on my right shoulder, and as a result have had chronic pain in the surrounding areas due to not healing properly and frozen shoulder that lasted for years. I have had physio and other therapy for yeara ( last surgery was in 2010,last therapy 2014) ive come a long way with gaining motion of my shoulder and have worked hard with yoga, breath work and chiqong , those have worked wonders ( compared to all the meds ehich i stopped a few years back). I had a severe spasm on my right side where ribs are and pains in my rib cage area that was severe and debilitating…this subsided over a year ago…ive been told ( physio) that my ribs were affected by this spasm, were crooked somehow ( cant remember details), but i hadnt hurt badly since last month when i moved and worked hard ( im a baker) , after i finaly got to relax my spasm came back ( not as severe) but my chest hurts when i breathe in certain spots as well as i have spots next to my upper spine that hurts badly…like a straighr line through in front and back..it burns inside as well. I think ok, this is muscles that were over worked and slightly pulled..this area has suffered much and i pushed too hard. The part that puzzles me is that i have heart burn like “burn” after i burp, and when i drink hot beverages, it lasts only a few seconds, but its right behind where the ” knots ” are that hurt ehen i breathe, its like i have them in front of my chest and in my upper back( like a pipe would go through my entire body in a straight line almost), I was told my stomach is lower than where my pains are, but it really feels like heart burn and i keep
    Burping over and over again its so frustrating and it feels like heart burn for only seconds right after i burp then i just feel the surface part of the pain..its hard to explain but this happened ( burpand burn) arround xmas when i also worked hard and was soar, i was prescribed tecta and have been taking it daily since….My dr says heart burn and muscles are totaly 2 different problems ….but this puzzles me that it burns inside and out. And its right in the same area as the ” muscle knots or where it hurts when i breathe “Also the “inside burn” stopped whej i took a tums today the inside burn stopped but i kept burping, just no burn inside ( even if i had taken tecta, i thought ill try it to see what happs if its actually my stomach or muscles) ibut now im confused cus heart burn feeling ( only always on right side right underneath where my muscle pains are ) went away with tums!? This makes no sense to me and i dont know
    What to think . Sorry if i sound confusing in my rambles, im trying my best to describe and im confused myself with thislol thanks so much grateful for your time,
    Kindly, Kristelle

    • Hello Kristelle,

      Tough to say, but remember that the nerves in the mid upper part of your spine are at least a portion of the neurological control of digestion. Yes, the two are undoubtedly related. Not sure if you have been to a chiro, but that might be a good starting point. Someone that will not only adjust you but deal with the old scar tissue as well.

      Dr. Russ

  24. Memory Laine

    I’m 61 yrs young, my fiance 58, he came up behind me wrapped one arm,under my right atm and breast , the other over my left shoulder, he bear hugged me and lifted me. We both heard and felt a loud pop. 3 days later the pain was horendous, went to ER holding my, breast up, brrathing, pulling myself up,was excrurciating. Coughing/ sneezing pure he’ll., Our ER took exray saw no fracture. They gave me morphine, I should of asked for a cat scan. Its been 5 weeks, in exhausted, I had 3 good days, cleaned the bathroom toilet, I’m in horrendous pain again. Help# our hospital is lacking. It hurts thru my back and behind my,rt breast and to my nipples. What can I do noe, I need advice. I can’t hold up a pitcher of water. Can you please help me understand. And I’ve been on pain pills, I don’t care for but I need.
    Thank you Memory

  25. Cheri Michelle

    Yes I have muscle spasms 24 hrs a day . I got hit in my chest by a solider who just came home from Iraq, so I had blood on my spinal cord for 10 days ended up having spinal surgery but after i was in hosp the place where i was hit in front starting hurting bad. So my collar bone about 2 inches was taken out i had 12 surgeries on my chest i read somewhere there is something i forgot the name? But its caused by being hit hard in chest. Ive been in lots of Therapy. Its so very hard to bend over , pic up something off floor actually using my hands ( arms ) for anything i suffer ALL the time i use a tens machine im on pain meds but i have no quality of life. This happened in 2010 I had 13 surgerys in 1 yrs time but about 3 yrs ago i hit black ice n hit a snow pile well i shortened myself 1’3/4″ so my ribs got all jammed together. Thank u Please help me somehow, Thank You for ur time Michelle

    • Hello Michelle,

      Stories like yours are absolutely heartbreaking. The problem is, I’m not even sure how much I could help you if you lived across the street from me (I have no idea where you live).

      Dr. Russ

  26. Travis

    I got I a dirtbike wreck about two years prior I never went to see a doctor. I experienced severe rib pain for about four to five months. And since the pain went away it seems to come back to haunt me twice a year for about two months then goes away. I work as a mechanic and lift heavy things and so on. Right now I am in severe pain can’t breathe it hurrts or get up off the ground without almost crying. What should I do I don’t know if I broke it dislocated it or tore cartilage when I crashed, but standing in the mirror it sticks out more than the right side visibly

    • Hello Travis,

      The rib may certainly have been broken, dislocated, or whatever else. The thing is, two years removed from that trauma means that your pain is not due to a fracture. Sounds like you’ve displaced that rib on some level — very painful stuff. Adjustments might be somewhat beneficial, but will not likely put it back “in place” where it no longer looks out of place. Tissue work would be a good bet. I rarely see people have surgeries with this sort of thing.

      Dr. Russ

  27. Roxanne

    10 years and about 15 major rib subluxations later… this one is the worst! Difficult to function, breath, etc;-( I don’t know what type of doctor helps with this and only pray you are in the Chicago area!!!???

  28. Bob

    I have had pain in my lower left side rib cage for years now. It starts were the stomach would be and radiates around side to mid back as day goes along. It’s the worse after lunch. I’ve had an endoscopy procedure and everything is ok. I’ve had blood work done with lipid panels. All is well. My GP and Gastrointestinal Drs. say that it is most likely a abdominal/skeletal issue. It’s becoming a nuisance. It doesn’t bother me when I sleep. It gets worse after lunch. If I find a place to sit comfortably, it relents. What should be my next course of action?

  29. Kerry

    I am 59 and retired high school football coach. I reached across my body last night and hurt my ribs. I’m breathing fine but I have a lot of swelling and redness. I have injured ribs before but they are really painful. Again, breathing ok but a lot of pain. I have cracked, separated and bruised throughout my life, this feels like slight separation. 2 and 3rd ribs on lt side

  30. Charolette

    Thank you very much it sure makes sense.

  31. Hello… For 2 to 3 days I had pain in my right bottom rib cage… I made a quick turn day before yesterday and hit the floor… I layed there probably 30 minutes trying to get up … I have a very high tolerance for pain but every move I make is an excruciating pain shooting through my side… The area of my bottom right rib cage between my breast and side… I finally got up and made it to the emergency room… and of course they ran all kinds of test and found nothing… Gave me some light pain pill and a muscle relaxer which did absolutely nothing. I have took stuff over the counter for acid integestion …for bloating … thinking it was maybe gas with no relief though… I can’t turn to the right… I can’t bend over about no more than a fourth of the way down Without sharp pains bringing me to my knees… If I cough it’s unbearable pain… when I sit down I can barely get up it takes me forever to straighten back up… I am just miserable!

    • Hello Rhonda,

      Sounds like one of the two problems I talk about in my article.

      Dr. Russ

      • I’m back home from vacation… And I went to my doctor and they did some x-rays and said that I have a fractured rib… But that there’s really nothing they can do for it…. ice it down 3 to 4 times a day and that was it… No pain medicine or anything… Hopefully I will get a little relief soon!

  32. Donna

    Hi. I’m dealing with pain at about the 6th right rib/intercostal area for 6 days now. I can not take deep breath,yawn, sneeze,sigh etc., nor can I sleep on right side without something under that area to elevate it. I have pain medicine that I take for my back and it seems to help a great deal. I did go for cxr and of course that came back normal. I hate running to the doctor but I just want peace of mind that it’s not anything serious. I don’t recall having anything hit my chest or overstretching etc. it’s baffles me to what it could be!!!

  33. Tinkleaner

    I’m hurting so bad in my middle back, kind of like flank pain but on my right part of my back hurt worst I have swelling and a crest as well where the swelling is.and my rib cage hurts really bad under my right breasts as well.. I’m in excruciating pain its beginning to hurt when I take deep breaths I have had a CT scan at the emergency room but the doctors say she didn’t see anything but the doctor say she didn’t see anything but fluid..please help

  34. Kirstie

    Okay so it would probably do better to see a chiropractor than going to a normal doctor? Hitler was the name of the cliff, and they were saying it was 100 ft. When I first hurt myself they recommended I go to a specialist in Casper. When I went to the doctor a couple years ago they took an x-ray an didn’t see anything is that going to be the same situation when I go to the chiropractor?

    • The problem with x-rays is that they only show bones. It is likely that at least a significant portion of your problem is tissue-related. It is frequently tough to tell much of anything from imaging (HERE). The doctor is likely to give you pills (or not) and send you home without even attempting to remedy what’s going on.

      Dr. Russ

  35. Kirstie

    Hi, in 2009 I went cliff jumping with some friends and it was a pretty big cliff. Jumped into water well my butt hit the water before my feet. I went to the chiropractor and he said I messed up my ribs pretty bad and it was like nothing he has seen before he said I compressed my ribs. Subscribed heat cold pack an some pain meds it healed well. Then in 2010 I got in a car accident and I didn’t hurt anything, walking away with a couple scrapes an bruises well, Now every month or every other month at night I get this pain in the middle of my abdominal region and last a couple hours canto sleep only taking hot baths helps take ibuprofen and then goes away and I’m fine?

    • Hello Kirstie,

      Having grown up jumping off bridges and out of huge trees over the Cottonwood River, as well as jumping off a 100 footer at the Lake of the Ozarks (not to mention our cliffs on the CURRENT AND JACKS FORK RIVERS), I am well versed in what happens with these sorts of injuries. Although I never landed butt first, this is the same general injury, if it occurs on a sidewalk, that causes compression fractures of the Thoracolumbar Spine. Best guess is that you caused one of the two problems this post discusses — subluxation or tissue injury. A chiro might do you a lot of good at this point.

      Dr. Russ

  36. Carla

    I have been sick for the past 3 weeks but about a week I started having pain in my low right rub cage…when I cough it feels like a big knot is trying to force it’s self out an it hurts so bad…it’s pops every now an then an the pain gets worse for a few mins so bad it takes my breath

    • Hello Carla,

      This is likely one of the two problems I talk about in my post. Rib pain can be fairly severe, considering that these problems rarely if ever show up on standardized imaging tests.

      Dr. Russ

  37. Christina

    Hi since September 2016 during exercise I felt like I popped or tore something in my right abdominal area. The pain has come and gone. Two weeks ago I started to see a chiro. Since then the pain in my right rib has gotten worst since being worked on. Will it get worst before it gets better? I’m doing little to no activity to try and heal it with some breathing exercises. The pain is moving into my lower back and occasional upper thigh. Also feeling tingling in my hands. I feel like I’m dying. My doctor is sending me for an ultrasound and xray of my right rib. This seems to have all started from exercising and now has progressed to this.

  38. Nadine

    I have it after running. People say don’t run as hard then, so I back off but if I want to improve in running by gradual increase of speeds on treadmill it’s back again. Once I get it… Stopping doesn’t make it go away, and it stays for up to a week after. I’m tired of hearing that it’s side stitch pain and the only cure is don’t run.

    • The reason they are telling you not to run is because they have no idea what is going on. Neither do I without looking and probing. Does twisting your torso or similar cause any discomfort?

      Dr. Russ

  39. Barbara

    I don’t have pain on the left side under my breast right at the rib cage. It is more of a pressure that tightens a bit only when I laugh or am in certain positions. If I cough, it happens also. Around three months ago, I had a cold and coughed constantly for four days. I am wondering if it could be muscular. My doctor seems to think so. It hasn’t gotten worse but isn’t getting better. I would like your opinion.

  40. Chris

    I have had pain in my ribs for many years. My primary doctor told me I had intercostal pain and nothing could be done about it. I have been dealing with this pain for many years and it’s really bad. I recently left my primary care Dr. Because I got a herniated disc in my back causing severe pain. I ended up having surgery recently for my back and that is feeling better but I still have pain in my ribs. I am on pain medication, Celebrex and Gabapentin as well as antidepressants. but my ribs are really hurting still. I’ve had X-rays and they can’t find anything so there’s nothing they can do. Chiropractic doesn’t help. I don’t know what to do it’s miserable.

    • Hello Chris,

      If it’s a tissue thing it’s probably fixable. If it is intercostal neuritis, the approach I would use is first understanding what “ITIS” really is, and then attacking it with everything you can to deal with said inflammation that’s not related to drugs.

      Dr. Russ

  41. Frank

    Had Trama back 12/2011 stopping fleeing suspect under arrest. Fractured # 5-9 ribs on left side. Had straight on inpact to my chest with someone fleeing. Which I got slammed into steel beam on my left side. Also had to fuse 3 disk in my neck 4,5 and 6.
    Still have some what rib residual pain on left side. But most of all still have sternum pain from day one right below breast bone. Sore to touch. Why still having sternum pains?

    • Hello Frank

      I appreciate people like you who keep the bad guys at bay! As far as your sternum, very difficult to say. Does it hurt to move or bend backwards over an exercise ball? Unless it has become a neurological pain (TYPE III), it’s most likely one of the two problems I talk about in the article — Scar Tissue or Subluxation.

      Dr. Russ

  42. Anne

    For just over 3 years I have had what feels like a bruised rib on my right hand side. I can cope with the pain as it literally hurts no more than a bruise. It started when I got an iPad and for a long time I thought it was some kind of repetitive strain injury but now I think it is down to my quite physical job as I spend 4 hours a day using a heavy Hoover and pushing a heavy trolley. The pain never gets worse. Sometimes I can’t feel it, especially if I haven’t done the physical work. I can breathe fine. Sometimes I can feel it if I crunch my body over. It never hurts when just sitting resting. I have no other symptoms. Do you think it is just an injury caused by my job?

  43. Abigail

    As I’m saying, mine is about nine years and I don’t know what to do.

  44. Elizabeth

    I have winging scapula and after performing back exercises with heavier weights over time I became chronically tight and have stopped doing weights entirely. the tightness is on my back right side from the bottom angle of my scapula and down my back. It feels deep and will often click is i laterally bend to my left or am lying on my sides in bed and bend laterally as well. I can always feel it when i breathe in deeply and raise my shoulder to my ears. It gets irritated by everything. Mostly protraction of shoulders and keeping my arm held out for long period of time like doing the dishwasher. I am desperate for help. I am 22, and active. Does this sound like a ribcage or scapula problem to you? Been to P.T, chiro, acupuncture, now going to doctor in a few weeks.

  45. keri

    Hi Doctor, I have been experiencing right sided rib burning since the birth of my son May 2015. It is located lower right side slightly towards my back. I generally comes and goes, but sometimes seems to get worse, other times I don’t feel it at all. Any idea what it could be?

  46. Debra

    Fractured my back 7 months ago. Have bad right side pain can it be a muscle from my back. I was crushed from a cactus falling on me. Big one any help appteciated thanks

  47. Delilah

    I have this bad pain in my left side rib cage starting from under my arm pit half way to the front and to the back for about a month already. I saw my doctor I had X-rays and a cat scan, blood work, they say everything looks ok, then what is this pain? When I sit still or lay down still it starts to hurt like a throbbing tooth ache. Motrin is not working, tramadol is not working and it makes me sick. I wake up every morning with this pain. It’s constantly there. It’s extremely painful. It eases up just a little when I move around but the pain is just there. I’m getting very scared I don’t know what to do.

  48. C

    Hello i had a ? Where my ribs conncect in my back i can constantly push down on them and they will crack and pop. Theres a definate discomfort in my back right where the rib connects to the spine but everytime i pop it back into place it pops back out would you say its from coughing constanly? Because i am a freequent cannabis user

  49. Rahadja

    I’m an artist and often times I get in awkward and unhealthy positions while completing work and don’t move from them. Recently I was lying on my stomach on the floor while doing a landscape painting. I lyed there for about an hour or 2. After words I started feeling pain in my ribcage and now 2 days later its slightly painful to take deep breaths. I sleep on the floor so this might have agrivated the issue. Does this sound like a bruise or a fracture?thank you.

  50. jerred

    Can any of this pop up around a month later. I fell hard in a walk in freezer and landed on my back on Dec 5 2016. I initially complained about my neck and lower back hurting. But starting on Jan 14 I started to have very severe pains on my left side from my back around into my ribcage. Serratus Anterior muscles I believe best describes the location…. I was told that there is no way that it could be from the fall because it happened a month later.its the worst pain I have ever experienced. Went to the hospital on the 14th and they ran tons of tests on me. All came back good. ER doc said it had to be muscluar. Please help

  51. Brandon

    Please help!! I was in a motorcycle accident 4 months ago. I’m mot sure all the damage that was done but the pains are getting worse daily now in my right upper body, shoulder, chest, upper arm, shoulder blade. It feels as if my ribs shift and shoulder and shoulder blade are no longer position properly followed by a feeling as if my muscles, or something is being ripped. I can no long lay down to sleep, ride in a car, or move in many directions without this happening. There are moments where I can’t breath easily as if something is pressing my right lung. Does anyone know what this could be?

  52. Manuel

    Had a vehicle rollover 2 weeks ago and my back burn and hurts as if I were laying on a wire brush

  53. Abosede

    Yes love everything that posted. It just that am worried because am pregnant now but I have been having this press on my ribs anytime I cough,shout,loose a breath , even going to poop. I don’t know if I will have the strength to push when am about to deliver my baby, because of this ribs issue. Please can u help me with what I should do ? I will be glad to receive a response from you through my e-mail. Thanks a lot.

  54. Freda

    I can be sitting in a chair and drop something, bend over to pick it up and i can feel a crunch in the muscles on either side of my rib area. Then it takes a month to get better. Can this be anything serious?

  55. Kim

    Wow… I wish I had read this years ago. This could be my problem.
    Here are my symptoms:
    Eighteen years ago I had minor surgery to remove a lump from under my left breast. Since then I have bulging scar tissue under my left breast. Sometimes I get sharp pains which feel like I’m having a heart attack. The past few years it had spread to my back in the are of left shoulder blade. It is always uncomfy under my left breast. But is scary when I get the sharp pain in rib and back. I have seen countless doctors, had chest X-rays, mammograms and ultrasounds. All reveal nothing. I’m thinking I need to show your article to a Chiro and seek alternative help? Your thoughts on my symptoms would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks,

    • Laura

      Kim I literally have the exact same problem. Tired of going to doctors who can’t figure anything out. Pain is starting to get unbearable at times. Would be great to hear your outcome.

  56. Mikael


    About one and a half years ago I smoked an electronical ciggarette also called “vaping”, I was infront of my computer working and was smoking it for 10 hours straight, when I went to bed I could see my chest sort of moving and pulsating, the next day when i woke up i couldnt take a deep breath properly without feeling like it felt uncomfortable. The same day or a few days later I started experiencing that my heart was skipping a beat, and it felt quite hard as well. I went to a doctor to check it up, but he was quite clueless, I told him the symptoms im feeling but he said he didnt know and that it could be a bunch of reasons, he said it might be stress but I said Ive never been stressed before and this happened after smoking an e cigarette for 10 hours straight!, he didnt have any answers.

    A good chinese friend of mine recomended me going to a chinese doctor for herbs, this was 2 months later and my symptoms only got worse, my heart was beating very hard when I went to bed every night and I was thinking for the first time in my life if I was gonna make it to the morning. I got some herbs and after day 3 I felt much better, my chest felt strong, I continued doing this but as soon as i stopped 2 weeks later it got back, and this is how it has continued now for a while.. about 6 months ago my chest rib started moving, If I look down its on my left side and the rib has moved to the left like its sticking out as well compaed to the right one. My sternum is super easily crackable as well. After the chinese herbs my skipping a beat thing with my heart nearly went away. Anyway im worried my rib will move more and it will create a dangerous situation, im also weak and cannot go to the gym properly anymore etc.

    Would be great if I can get some help, no doctor has really helped me properly, nobody seems to know what it is, ive seen 3-4 different western doctors, I did try accupunture, I went to beijing for the best guy there and he actually stuck a needle through my wrist in one side out the other.

    would appreciate some help if anybody here knows what this might be!
    thank you

  57. Kevin

    About a year ago I had a really bad cough. Eventually one of the coughs caused a loud pop sound in my back in the rib cage. I couldn’t even get in and out of a car without being in severe pain. I never saw a Dr. for it and it eventually got better. Now a year later over the last month or so I have been having dull achy pain in my lower left rib cage in the front and lower pain in the back both below and in the lower ribs. I sit at a desk all day and find myself leaning towards the left a lot both at my desk and at home. I also have a small lumpy feeling thing in my lower ribs in the front. I have googled my head off trying to figure out what it might be before stacking up a huge Dr. bill. It does seem to be relieved if I straighten up or stand up and get active. Any idea or insight would be greatly appreciated. Do I need to go in and be checked for something serious or could this be posture or muscle related? Also a side note – We did get new furniture a while back which has changed the way I sit when in our living room.

  58. Chelsea

    Hi, for about a year now I’ve had a pain that feels like I have an extra rib on my right side, I cannot sit up straight for longer than a minute or two before it hurts to breathe, I’m constantly rearranging my position to stretch out my right side (feels like I create room for said extra rib) but It’s incredibly painful while driving or sitting in a straight position.. any suggestions?

  59. thegary999

    I broke a couple of ribs about 6 years ago. The hospital never x-rayed and diagnosed pulled back muscle. About a year ago, I felt them break again from a sneeze. Ultrasound showed 2 displaced fractures. Now, I have constant rib pain and intermittent nerve pain in back, shoulder, elbow, and hand (sharp pain to end of pinkie with numbness). Is it possible these are all related to the rib fractures?

  60. Angelina

    My four year olds left rib is sticking out one at the top region. His asthma has been acting up these past 3 days. I’ve brought him to emergency for X-rays just in case because he said it was hurting him but now that we’re here he says it doesn’t hurt. Can extensive coughing cause a rib to protrude ?

    • Hello Angelina,

      Ribs sometimes protrude, with or without pain or symptoms. In my opinion, the greater issue here is your son’s ASTHMA. Be aware that because this is an inflammatory problem, there are some extremely effective self-help steps you can take with him.

      Dr. Russ

      • Angelina

        Hello Dr. Russ,

        Thank you for your reply.
        I’m still reading the article about Asthma that you included and it is very insightful. It triggered another question. My son was diagnosed with Asthma at 7 months of age after many trips to the hospital because he couldn’t catch his breath whenever he would catch a cold. His current pediatrician did the allergy test on him 3 months ago and the only thing he came back allergic to is Melleluca trees and because his Asthma is only triggered by colds the doctor says that is the issue and that it is a mild case and will go away with time. I’m wondering now if the next time he gets a cold if he is prescribed Prednisol & Bromphed I shouldn’t give it to him because whenever he gets a very bad case and his Albuterol doesn’t work that is what he is prescribed but I know it is a very strong steroid and the other is an Antibiotic.
        Also, as for his rib he had x-rays taken and they told me the results came back negative and that all is clear. That it is possibly a growth or his anatomy. But I have never seen this before, I even went over old photos from the beach and pool to inspect his ribs, and nothing. So they told me to keep an eye on it and if it gets red or causes him discomfort to take him back in for an ultrasound.
        Thanks again for your reply, I greatly appreciate it.

        Kind regards,


      • It’s one of those crazy catch 22’s that the medical community is loaded with. They use antibiotics to treat the Asthma, which in turn helps to cause more Asthma. As for telling you what to do as far as meds are concerned, my license does not permit me to do so — you’ll have to do your own research and take that up with his doctor.

        Dr. Russ

  61. William Chu

    Thanks for your article. It was enlightened. I lifted a three gallon pail filled with water to fill my fish tank. Two days later, I woke up with a pain located on my lower front right side of my ribs, maybe ribs # 5 to 8. No pain when I breath deep only I laugh or move my right arm in certain position. I think I pulled some rib muscles when I lift the pail of water.

  62. Sarah

    hello! Recently I was battling pneumonia for over a month. With this, as you know comes intense coughing bouts and to top it off, 8 have asthma. I felt some discomfort in my intercostals. I saw an urgent care physician who told me it was a rib strain, to take it easy, and put me on a muscle relaxant as well as ibuprofen 3 times a day. I did as told and realized the pain was becoming more intense. Last night I did one good cough, and helped – since then it’s been in a constant spasm. It is debilitating. I can’t lift the arm on the side that my ribs are affected. Laughing, coughing, even talking are unbearable. I went to the emergency room and they performed x-rays. Of course loaded me on pain meds and said the X-rays showed no fractures or issues with my lungs. They prescribed me lidocaine patches, Valium, cough suppressant, and prednisone and of course said “we aren’t sure what is going on” I am literally in tears. I can’t drive, I can’t lay down. It radiates from the front to the back. Even when looking at me from the front you can see a difference. I do massage therapy and it’s breaking my heart that I am being held away and can’t even begin to fix myself. By the way none of these drug concoctions are even slightly relieving my pain. Please help

    • Hello Sarah,

      Although the list of potentials is infinite, it is likely subluxation or tissue, just like in the article.

      Dr. Russ

    • aj

      Sarah, I have this pain the only thing that helps me is going to a lady that does Bowen work/Bowen tech. YouTube it and find someone local to do it. Its usually $65 but it is like a painless pressure point massage. It’ll take a day to really help. Please try it. Also water will really help the muscle spasms. Drink a ton

  63. Cynthia

    I have Ehlers Danlos syndrom type 3 and i have this burning sensation on my right rib cage with pulling that travels to my abdomen and to my left ribcage. It feels like someone putting their hands on my ribs and squeezing me. It is driving me crazy. ??????????

  64. Darlene

    Hello doc,
    I do have Collengenous Colitis and it has been inflamed off and on for 3/4 mo. I have also have a pulling sinsation on my right side below my rib cage area, when I contract my muscles to lift my top half of my body when lying down. I have also notice back pain in mid section the last week, any ideas?

    • The best piece of advice I can give you Darlene is to head over to my Doctor Schierling dot com site and read my post from a few days ago called “Death by Fibrosis”. I promise you will be enlightened.

      Dr. Russ

  65. Elli

    Hello doc,
    About two weeks ago I was in bed and changed position by doing so I felt a sharp pain on my right side of my upper rips, almost felt like i pulled a muscle, but it’s been two weeks now and the pain is still there. Not so much when I’m up walking or sitting but mainly laying down specially laying on my right side. Pain also keeps me up at night, it hurts to cough and sneeze. Please help me. Thank you.

  66. Deniz

    Hi, I am a freshman in high school. I woke up in the morning two days ago with a very annoying Achey pain in my shoulder/back. It also happened to be the first day of wrestling practice. I’m not a particularly athletic person, and it was my first intensive workout in a long time. By the time practice was over the ache had turned into a very annoying back and shoulder pain. But still managable. Shortly after, roughly 20 minutes the pain drastically increased. It was now a sharp, shooting pain that left me wincing the whole bus ride home. Every breath I took in, every time I cleared my throat the pain left me wanting to scream. If I were to move my shoulder backwards or in a certain position or flex my shoulder while getting up from lying down or sitting the pain would be crippling. By the time I got off the school bus home, I got home and broke down. I was on the floor, in tears, literally screaming and yelling and howling in pain. Every movement involving my shoulder was agonizing, and every time I had to clear my throat, cough, or laugh was also intensely painful. I went and took very powerful pain killers and got an X-ray to see if it was a rib fracture, eventually I went home and even with the very powerful pain killers I was still in moderate discomfort. I stayed home from school the next day and when I woke up the pain was drastically different. It went from sudden waves of sharp intense pain to a constant dull stabbing pain, which got worse when doing certain things. It still hurt to breath, laugh, etc. When I stood up, I couldn’t maintain a good posture at all. Even the next day, when I went to school I still couldn’t manage a straight posture, my neck is exhausted because if I let it go lax it hurts my back/shoulder even more. When I try to get out of bed or out of a seat that I wasn’t standing perfectly upright in, I experienced even worse pain. Even as I sit in bed typing this I can’t put pressure on that arm(lean on my elbows, aka hurting shoulders very bad) or adjust myself or do something as simple as go from lying down to sitting up without very bad pain. I skipped wrestling practice since the initial day Monday, and will be returning Thursday. I tried some very lax jogging as a warmup today and every time my body hit the ground I fronted with pain. I don’t know how I’m going to manage practice like this but I’m new to the sport and can’t afford to miss anymore practice when my coach is already mildly cross with me, since he didn’t hear my Full story and just things Im sore. Soreness from exercise is much different from what I’m experiencing, my legs and pecs are tender and sore and those don’t alarm me or cause my critical pain. Even rotating my neck hurts, or adjusting my position in bed. I need help. My father and mother are both my personal doctors and both are too dismissive or stubborn to look into it further and are just writing it off as muscle pains. Wrestling is not an optional ordeal, since you need a required amount of sport credits in my school. Lately I’ve been hiccuping, coughing and sneezing way more than I usually do, and whenever I feel a sneeze coming on my body physically won’t complete the sneeze, leaving me in discomfort, but it’s better then the crippling pain a sneeze would induce. I’m not at all excited to go back to practice at all because of this, and if I didn’t have this I would most certainly be looking forward to going back. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. The pain has most definatley been getting better, but I still cannot work out. Simple twists, sit-ups, and running causes me great pain let alone intense workouts involving all parts of the body AND actual wrestling. Simply moving my shoulder backwards or bending down causes me GREAT pain and I don’t know how I’m going to maintain that and constantly move my arms around during practice. I think I may have sprained a muscle, or something. I’m helpless.

  67. Nathanael

    Hi, i’m 17. Its pretty rare, but about once a month, whenever I attempt to move from a position or sneeze unexpectedly, my top right rib protrudes and leaves a severe pain for 10 seconds, and then randomly leaves. Any thoughts?

  68. Shirley

    Dr Schierling,
    MRI doesn’t show anything. Doc doesn’t know what’s wrong. Not diabetic, no falls or injuries. Right rib cage in front of body – cannot touch the ouside of skin so painful. Throughout the day stabbing pain and sometimes burning. Right leg and foot cramp.. Rib cage pain hurts so bad I’m in tears especially in the evening.
    Thank you for any comment. I’m at the end.


  69. carol

    Hi, About two weeks a go I slipped on my kitchen floor and fell directly on both sides of the bottom of my ribs. It was more sore on the left side than the right side. Now the left side feels pretty good, but the left side is sore between my waist and rib cage. It bothers me more when I bend. Will this go away eventually or is this something I should be concerned about?

  70. Mallory

    Hi. My husband and one of his friends were just playing around and he is a big dude he missed his arm and hit his rib cage hard . I see when I lift up his shirt 2 of his ribs are spread apart definitely abt 2 inches then normal. And he is in pain really bad . He does not have any insurance so it would be really difficult to go to a hospital . They would not take care of him or have the right treatment as if he had insurance. And plus our family has no transportation at all . Excepted for sometimes in some emergency conditions. What can he do to make it feel better or in time get feeling better. ? One of my friends told me last night to out one of them big bandage’s around his rib cage and it would hold them together in place but another friend said do not do that cause he could have a punctured lung and that would be alot worse if we did that !!. So please I need help on telling him what we can do to make him feel better ??.. thank-you love – mallory

    • Hello Mallory,

      Never a bad idea to see a doc if you have ribs spread 2 inches apart more than normal. Not sure what they would do though? I would suggest that until you get the the doctor, use ice packs.

      Dr. Russ

  71. April

    I may sound crazy and my question a stupid one but when I ask the Drs they won’t or can’t answer me. Here is the situation: my boyfriend and I were in a vehicle accident this past Friday (11-4-16). He, unlike myself, was not wearing his seat belt, therefore he was ejected (through the rear window then thrown at least 15ft ) from the truck we were traveling in at some point as it rolled over several times on its roof then back on its wheels…finally stopped resting on the roof. He sustained major injuries as you can imagine to his spine, neck and ribs. He was just in the last few hours moved from ICU to a regular room and only(we think because he was by no means ready to) BC he has no insurance. Anyway his biggest complaint is his chest or ribs… They told us that he has 4 broken ribs. And when I say broken I mean not snapped so there are jagged edges that could tear up the lung tissue. So I guess I’m trying to say they are still intact and are able to hold their shape. My question is typically in a healthy person, how long does this rib injury take to heal? Drs concern is that he will get get pneumonia set up in his chest BC he’s getting breathing treatments but it hurts so bad for him to cough up any phlegm that breaks loose during those treatments and unfortunately he was getting a sinus infection right before having the wreck. So he has congestion. I was hoping that his ribs could heal faster than his other injuries so he could breathe better and cough to expel that fluid that’s trying to build up. Maybe u can help me by giving me some advice BC u see so many different patients with different issues. Maybe you can’t without being able to see his x-rays. Just grasping at this point! Either way thank you for your time…

  72. Donald

    Hi i am a 34 year old male i am a practitioner of martial arts Taekwondo for the last 4 years so i endure hard long work outs with lots of kicking! Well the other day after i tried moving this dog house i shortly noticed after on my left side bottom of the rib cage was sticking out a little more than the right side when i sucked my stomach in, there is not very much soreness besides feeling like i did a bunch of sit ups! Just discomfort at times it feels like the rib is sticking out a little more and real tight around the area? One of my Taekwondo peers suggested that i twisted a rib? Would you have any ideas? Thanks Don.

  73. Connie

    I fell two weeks ago. Had Ezra’s take. Doc said contusions and the pain should go away in a few days. The pain under my breast, on my sides and my upper chest bone are still really bad. Even into my back. I don’t think it’s normal to be in pain so long. I don’t know what to do anymore.

  74. Joe

    My daughter has rib pain on and off for 3 years or more multiple xrays…ct..scans on now we are going for mri Saturday….she is in such pain….

    • Hello Joe,

      Chronic pain is a major bummer — especially in your child. The thing to remember is that whether it is a subluxation (in the chiropractic sense of the word) or a tissue issue, these tests will show nothing.

      Dr. Russ

  75. Adam

    Hi, Dr.Russ. I fractured two floating ribs, I believe the ninth and tenth, 18 months ago. About four months after I began having severe pain in hat spot but only at night after I had been sleeping on them for a few hours. Before long the pain had spread to my entire middle back and felt like like I was being crushed. I had X-ray’s a second time which showed the ribs were completely healed. I have been seeing a massage therapist for months on and off with a little relief but it always comes back. He thinks it has to do with the QL being tight. Please help me. I haven’t slept through the night in over a year! Thanks, Adam

  76. Cathy

    Have had severe pain in my ribs. Right side. Due to an accident. Lots of pain. Have tried everything. Can’t imagine living with this much longer. Please; need help. Thank you,

  77. Linda

    Hello Dr. Schierling

    I had a large ovarian dermoid cyst removed Dec 2015 by laproscopy, I have since had a problem taking a deep breath or sneezing without feeling like something is pinching or preventing that full breath in my right side, middle back mostly, traveling up to my shoulder. It is not painful as such, just pinching and hard to sneeze. Could this be this be something that is to do with the rib tissue? And can it be fixed easily?

  78. Dan

    Hi i had a ribbon injury to my left side of my ribs and they still hurt alot .it happened like 18 months ago .please I need help .thanks dan.

  79. Jason

    Im a 38 yo male with severe bouts of chest pain. Approx 8 yrs ago i was in a man tor vehicle accident and i ended up breaking C2,4,6 and compression fractures of T4,5,6 since that time i started having chest pain about 6 years ago. I was diagnosed as well with a thyroid condition. Ive had multiple test since the onset such as ekgs, ct scans and even a stress test in the past 6 months. The anxiety doesnt help with the pain either. Many times the pain is a sharp pain center of the chest or just off the sternum. At times it can be tender to the touch in the 5-6 rib joint. They pains can be debilitating at times constanly worrying that there is something more. I try to work out regularly and stay active as much as possible. Is there any help out there?

    • Hello Jason,

      I believe that there is someone out there with a solution for you. It’s a matter of finding that person. Be sure to check out my blog because I have a lot of really cool DIY stuff for solving inflammation and autoimmunity (most thyroid problems).

      Dr. Russ

  80. Kesad

    I’m 19 now but about a year ago I started having pain only on the right side of my mid back under the bottom of my scapula, I went to the doctor after I couldn’t take it anymore, they took an x-Ray of my chest, they said I have minor scoliosis and slight disc narrowing. They believed it was from muscular reasons so I went through a couple of months of pt. it helped with the pain but it never fully went away. The pain came back weeks after pt and has come and gone throughout the last year. I’ve have notice that only the ride side of my spine seems stiff from my neck down to my lumbar spine. I notice the pain more when I’m not active, I work construction so I’m fairly physical throughout the day but the pain hits me late afternoon to when I go to sleep and right when I wake up in the morning

    • Hello Kesad,

      Firstly, the disc narrowing and “minor” scoliosis probably has little or nothing to do with your pain (HERE). secondly, when people complain about pain at rest — especially at age 19 — likely it’s a subluxation or tissue problem.

      Dr. Russ


    Since 2007 I have had this burning, stabbing pain in my right front torso around the rib area. It feels like someone is zapping me with a elec prod. It doesn’t hurt at all times but does hurt when I stand up from a sitting position, twist, bend over to pick something up and turning over in bed. I have had CT scans and MRI and they found nothing. In the past I have had PT, Chiro, accupunture, epidural shots….even had my gall bladder removed when one doctor swore that was the problem. I was just told “again” that they can’t find anything on the MRI and CT scans. I am at my wits end.

  82. Mark

    Have a rib that’s popped out 4 times. I need help. It hurts so much when it happens and it won’t seem to stay in place on its own. What can I do about it? Please help. The pain is a 10 until it gets put back in.

  83. Jennifer

    Hello Doctor I am wondering if u have any clues as to what my symptoms may be caused from. First of all I am 31 and this has been going on since I was 23. I began having severe fatigue, joint pain and noticed that when someone touched me on my arms or in specific places I had a long lingering burning sensation. I also began to notice if my mom rubbed my back for me certain places on my shoulder blades would make me literally jump and scream in agony when touched. My sides especially at the top of my ribs are very tender when touched so I tend to be tense all the time and guard them. I found out my tsh was 56 and so u was started on meds and after fighting and fighting I finally got more testing done and turns out I have positive Ana and lupus anti coagulant and u have had like 8 anti phospholipid tests and they are always positive. I was diagnosed with lupus and have been on plaquenil, robaxin, neurontin, norco, cymbalta, folic acid, Coumadin, protonix, levothyroxine, methotrexate, and fioricet for my migraines. I routinely get kenolog injections in both my hips every 3-6 months. My doctor said my side pain is caused by inflammation and not my fibromyalgia. I have now started to have this weird burning tingling sensation over my r shoulder blade. Do u think I could possible have dermatomyocytis? Or what could be causing all my tub tenderness? I was told the methotrexate would help and I am taking 2.5mg 5 tablets weekly. Please help ur advice would be greatly appreciated!


    • The very first thing you need to do Jenifer, is head on over to my Doctor Schierling site and read the article called “Exit Strategy“. There you will find a link to a protocol that might provide some answers. At the very least, I think it is imperative you read my material on FMT. Don’t know if this sort of thing would be right for you, but when you start looking at the link between autoimmunity and Gut Health, you quickly see how this all fits together — particularly if you have a history of antibiotic use (these other drugs are Microbiome destroyers as well).

      Dr. Russ

  84. Sonia

    Hi doc. I’m 17 years old, female and for about 3 years now I have been having pain in my rib cage. 4 years ago it the pain was very rare when I moved. But now almost every movement i make hurts. Such as bending down, reaching or turning over in bed. Not to long ago i went to the hospital because it felt as if I couldn’t breathe because the pain in my ribs was just THAT BAD. They told me it could be costochondritis but a another doctor thought it was something with me stomache. The only way i can describe the feeling is by telling you it feels like different spots in my ribs, depending on how I move feels like it is caving or bending inwards. And the only thing that helps is by either staying in that position untill the pain stops and that feeling of it caving in eases up…almost as if it is popping back out. I cant say that is what it looks like though because it is not visible to see and no bruises or anything …just pain. sometimes it happens a a couple times within a week and other times it can be almost everyday, multiple times a day within a week. Also I had an x-ray done and there is nothing broken or out of place .

  85. Rachel

    Hello, I tried to read most of the queries to make sure I wasn’t repeating. I’m a healthy, active, clean-eating 32 yr old female. Two months ago I got a very sharp muscular type pain in the middle of my thoracic spine on the right side. I was dancing to live music and had to stop and take shallow breathes for a few minutes until is subsided. No more pain for a week or two, and then it returned in yoga, again breathed through it and gave myself a little massage. Now I can’t pinpoint when the next part started happening, but probably five-six weeks ago. I have no pain when standing and moving, however if I lay on either side at night, I get sharp pain and popping/bubbling sensation when breathing and the pain and popping can manifest from the top of my breastbone to bottom of rib cage, and everywhere in between, however only on the right side. If I brace myself for severe pain and breathe in deeply and quickly it essentially ‘pops’ and the pain goes away immediately….only to come back shortly after if still lying on side. It is greatly and nearly entirely reduced when lying flat on back. I wake up several times in the night with pain and if I stand or sit up it goes away in about a minute. I had a quick adjustment by my chiro, not focusing on the ribs tho, and it was better for a few days. Massage is also giving it reprieve. The tissue between my ribs on right side in mid-section is very, very tender when I poke around in there. My foam roller is also helping before bedtime to keep the popping, breathing, pain away. Sooooo…..does this sound familiar? I’ve been thinking it was some sort of either slight mal-alignment or tissue issue along my inner ribs. I don’t see references to the popping bit when breathing and only laying on sides. I do plan on seeing a new chiro whom might have a better understanding of ribs, wish I was closer to you!! And with your talk about fascia, possibly see a rolfing practitioner? Thank you for your time, Rachel

  86. Kim

    Hi Doctor,
    I had surgery for Trachea Bronchea Malaysia a little over a year ago. I am still having severe pain in my ribs on the right side and have a 3.5 in gap in between my 9th and 10th rib when I move my right arm. When I sit still I have a indent in between those ribs. Is there anyway that my fascia and/or ligaments, or muscle didn’t reattach to my ribs after surgery? .

  87. Candi

    HI Dr Russ,

    It’s amazing at all the stories shared here. I too am at a loss with right sided rib pain after a liver biopsy procedure 5 years ago. I have always had severe rib pain after the biopsy which I have learned to adapt to. It has affected my work, daily living, even driving a car. I recently reached out to a speciality doctor to seek treatment if possible. I think outside the box and he was willing to do the same. They attempted steroid injections with oxygen to expand the tissues to possibly release any trapped nerve or adhesions. I was pain free for 2 months. I had to take a long trip in a car and ever since the rib pain is severe to where I cannot even lay down without the ability to take deep breaths. I have started physical therapy in hopes it will provide relief. They have noticed a firm mass under my bottom ribs. I had a MRI last week it showed nothing which is the story of my life. I know something is not right. I’m at a crossroads. Waiting to start over with my primary doctor to see what the next step is. Would love to hear what you would recommend.


    • Hello Candi,

      Can’s speak to what others would do, but in my clinic I would try some tissue remodeling. The neat thing it, it won’t make you worse, and you would know in one tx if it is going to help.

      Dr. Russ

      • Candi

        I am very interested in the tissue remodeling. Like you said would not make it worse. I have read about the tissue remodeling on your site. Seems like a great next step for me.

  88. Sarah

    Hi Dr Russ,
    Long story short I have had pain in both sides of the “float” area of my ribs. Some days aching some days quick stabbing pain. X-rays, MRI and blood work. It has been going on since April. Started with a sharp stab when coughing. Went in and was told Costco by urgent care and my internist. Didn’t subside with anti-inflamatory meds. Moved and began on left side as well and started down sides of back. Orthopedic says not Costco but rib injury. Steroids gave temp relief but started right back again. Now Nuero issues and reflux have jumped in! I fell 3 years ago and broke my jaw in two places and had lots of neck issues to go with. I am at a lose anymore on what and who to go to??
    Any thoughts or help would be appreciated!
    Thank you,

  89. Jaidee

    Hi doctor ,

    My pain was in my rib right under the breast bone but I went to bed last night and when I awoke this morning my whole side hurt and that spot is hurting so severely now. Applying pressure helps the pain. I’ve done with tons of research but I can’t find anything that is relatable. Its been off and on about the last 2 years. Often it gives me a migraine the pain is so bad. What do I do?

  90. Clare

    Hi, have you ever heard of this before. I’ve always had a good back. 7 weeks ago I went in for a small operation on my hand, but under general anaesthetic, but as a day patient. Apparently I was out for an hour. When I woke up, they told me to take ibuprofen and paracetamol for 2 days. When the two days expired, my entire chest/ribs suddenly started hurting, really badly. I couldn’t take a deep breath without groaning. I went to a&we. They did an ecg, ran a CT scan, said they couldn’t find anything wrong with me and discharged me, I spoke to the surgeon who operated on me and he said that it had nothing to do with the operation, and he had never heard of anything like that happening before. But 7 weeks on my chest still hurts. Not quite as much. It now clearly feels like my ribs, more so on the back side. More so when I breathe deeply or when I’m lying on my back. A bit more on my right side of the ribs than the left. Any thoughts?

    And you keep telling people to go to a chiropractor. Do you mind osteopaths?

    • Hello Clare,

      Surgery can do some strange and ugly things. It’s why my brother, an MD, says never get a surgery done unless its absolutely necessary. As to the Osteopath thing; sure, no problem. In countries where they drive on the wrong side of the road (the paracetamol gave you away), there are far more osteos than chiros, many who are extremely capeable. It’s probably where I would suggest you start with your situation.

      Dr. Russ

  91. Stephanie

    Hi Doctor,

    I have had ongoing dull pain for the last couple of years. It feels tender in my upper left quadrant. Lately, it almost feels like something is popping when I move in certain positions. It’s a very dull ache at random times of the day. Sometimes in bothers me when I lay on my left side or if I’m sitting weird. It kind of feels like a babies foot pushing between my ribs. I have two little ones and one breastfeeding and I’m getting scared but I don’t want to have tons of test run only to waste money and time…not to mention having to stop breastfeeding for test and such. Should I be worried?

    • Hello Stephanie,

      This is a somewhat loaded question (and BTW, I completely understand your not wanting to jump on the Medical Merry-Go-Round of tests and who knows what else). Allow me to explain. Because there are an almost endless array of health-related problems that have the potential to cause your symptoms, most physicians tend to err on the side of caution, treating every problem like it was worse case scenario — which it potentially could be. However, if we simply play the odds, my best guess is that you have one of the two problems mentioned in the post — maybe some degree of both. Not completely sure I could help, but you don’t live all that far from me. If you can’t find resolution in your area of KY, give me a holler.

      Dr. Russ

  92. Antoinette

    I was born with stenosis. Spinal bifida & scoliosis. I’ve 6.5 pounds of steel & titanium. And part of my right hip. On my spube.
    Most recent. I’ve endured a spinal compression fracture. And my metal. Though due to shock. I simply didn’t ask where. when told, my metal is fractured. I’m scoliosis & bone on bone to the hip’s.

    Welcome to my version of deer in headlights to any medical professional.

    Worst off. Majority actually believe they know a complete strangers body. Better then the person in it.
    No one listen ‘s to hear. Only to respond & talk at.
    Never mind the vast lack of honesty from the “provider”.
    Let’s be real. Anyone, even as deep as me & some common sense can see the pharmaceutical companies run this show.
    And despite stomach cancer I received from the plethora of various, severely addictive narcotics. & Several near fatal RX miss prescribed. 2 clamps, 1 of which scrapes the inside of my ribs. left in me.
    A majority in my situation. Aside of birth defects. I was unaware of till age 27. I’ll be 49 in Feb. A majority of my health has been the affect, cause of the powers that be, of “medical professionals”. And. I actually now still have 7 surgeries ahead of me. Aside of life’s. (Lol), “little things & such in it.

    I’ve been walking only occasionally. Though rare. With forearm crutches. I still can’t stand for great lengths. Unless walking. Concrete kills. Should be abolished. Considered Inhumane.

    Pharmaceutical companies need to get off their greedy self serving asses. Get with the program. As “human being’s”. Otherwise monsters. While &..
    If they refuse to provide appropriately to cure.
    While avoiding EVERYTHING, that “creates”.

    They need to invest, develop & Provide equipment. Medication’s, that work with the actual human chemistry.
    Put chiropractors/ massage, in the walk in clinics and emergency rooms. Get back to what most would like to be a “Nobel cause”. For the betterment of all.
    I’ve not been on any medication aside of. Stomach cancer. Pain Medication induced. I lost my “regulator”. Between my stomach & asaphegus. I use a 2x a day, acid reducer.

    Yeah. I’m in torturous. Tormenting pain. Every day.
    My brain is also working over time. To slight & side step the pain. While being nice, especially to “medical personal”, who knows my body before I do.
    I can plank off a exercise ball & do push ups.
    I walk as fast as possible cause I’m working against my body. While mentally battling. The biggest silent & unseen storm. Unimaginable. &. I was going to be an emergency room physician assistant. Have had multiple surgeries. In a vast variety. Worked as a medical aid several decades. Took biology, medical terminology. Anatomy. All of it. .. gen. Basics. +. I’m as real as it gets. MEDICAL WORLD! PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES!
    GET HONEST! FIND YOU! never forget. You rot no better, best. Different then, the rest.

    PS. I came here seeking answers for the whiplash sensations that engulf my entire, front & back rib Cage. I get it. Subluxation. It only happens when I stretch. Puts me down. Unable to breath. I lay in agony. Even having my voice squeezed out of me. Breath & all. I takes several moment’s to get out of it. I roll on a hard surface to align what’s left of my back. I take Epsom baths. I know what I have to do. Obviously. Wish those in charge could be real human beings. … You’re gross you know. If you’re a medical specialist, pharmaceutical, .. that is about/of this inhumane. Shamefully disgusting “practice”.

    • Wow Antionette,

      All I can say is thank you for sharing that incredible and heart-breaking story. It’s my life’s mission to save people from this before they get there. Make sure to check out tomorrow’s post on my blog because it is going to go right along with this.

      God Bless,
      Dr. Russ

  93. Rob

    I’m wondering if you have suggestions regarding nerve pain around the ribs. I’m currently suffering from nerve pain on my right side. It seems to originate in my back (possibly T7 or 8) and refers around to my ribs. If I touch a spot in my back I can replicate the pain, but it also seems to fire off all on its own. If I stroke my hand down my right side, I can hit the nerve as well, almost like strumming a guitar string. It is easily the most pain I’ve ever dealt with. This is the third instance of this pain in the last five years. My doctor has sent me for all kinds of tests: neurologists, bone doctors, X-rays, cat scans. Every report comes back negative for any problems. As you’ve said, all the doctors say I’m healthy as a horse. The only patterns I can see are that the pain starts in very hot weather (all three times it began in the Summer months) and during times when I’m a little stressed in my life. I’ve started taking Lyrica (75g twice a day that I’m allowed to increase to 150g twice a day after the first week if I see no improvement). My doctor now theorizes I may have a back muscle in spasm that is touching the nerve, or that I may have a disc that’s pinching the nerve. From what I’ve told you, would you have any theories? Is there any way to cut the nerve, or kill it somehow? I’ve broken bones, sprains, etc. throughout my life and I would rather have all those instances of pain combined than this pain alone…that’s how bad it is. Thank you for reading this, any help would be appreciated.

    • Hello Rob,

      First, make sure and read the post I am putting up on my site tomorrow. Secondly, lots of neurological issues can be exacerbated by heat. For instance, I routinely see people that have had TBI’s or Tick Borne Illnesses that are extremely heat intolerant. It is some sort of neuritis. As to what’s causing it, no idea. Be sure to read tomorrow’s blog post as I am addressing problems like this.

      Dr. Russ

  94. Julie

    I have had chronic rib pain on the right side for years. Based on your articles it appears to be tissue pain because it’s on my side, not close to the spine. It gets better at times but it’s always there. I can actually press on the lower ribs and they’re very tender and painful. I see my chiropractor once a month and he adjusts me and it eases a bit but is right back to being painful (and annoying) within a couple days. I’ve been through a rigor of tests to see if it’s something more than the ribs and nothing is found. I have a desk job so I sit at work the majority of each day. I also workout regularly and do regular core strengthening hoping to help. Do you have any additional suggestions on what I could do to get some relief? (I regularly take ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen.)

  95. Joseph

    Very useful. I fell in the home and all weight landed on my rib just under my chest area right side. Sore, and hurts now… u know deep breathes when laying down. Etc…. What can i do about this? Just wait it out? Or is their something u can do?

  96. Clara

    Hello doc, I’m a side sleeper and some years ago I noticed this pain in the left side of my rib when i sit erect or sitted with my back relaxed for 30 minutes or there abouts. I complained to a doctor and was given some pills. The pain stopped eventually but recently it’s been constant and I don’t know what to do or what the cause could be. Please help me out here. Thanks

  97. Stacie

    Hello Dr,
    I hope you can help me. I was in a significant car accident on 6/6/16. I was the driver. Impact point was front left passenger side of the car due to an improper lane change by the lady who hit me. Speed was about 45 mph. The axel was broken on u car! I was seen by my chiropractor the following day where X-rays of the back and neck were taken. Soft tissue injury and whiplash were the primary focus. The pain in the neck set in by day two. The chiropractor didn’t adjust me until the following week because my muscles were so tight and sore. It was about this time that I started having a pain in my left armpit. I kept thinking it would go away and that it was just a muscle pain. It has persisted now for 5-6 weeks! My anxiety is now through the roof because armpit pain is generally not good. The chiro had his theories over the past my few weeks, but nothing he did brought relief. I’ve sought the opinion of two different primary care physicians. Both seem puzzled because my lymph nodes aren’t swollen and they can’t feel anything unusual. The area is not swollen. It’s not hot. It’s a deep pain than feels pinpointed. It gets extremely painful days following pressing around in the area. There are definite tender spots. It’s a deep pain that radiates to the entire underarm area with prolonged sitting and tension. The more pinpointed pain, that seems constant, is about 2 fingers width below the crease of my left arm pit. The pain is not made worse with movement or breathing. Nothing takes the pain completely away. I’ve been alternating extra-strength Tylenol and Advil just to deal. It might be worth mentioning I’ve had a very tight painful left neck since the wreck too. I was sick with bronchitis last week and the pain definitely got worse with all the coughing. I’ve held off from further chiro treatment for now. Does this sound rib related to you? Thank you so much for your help!

    • Hello Stacie,

      It certainly could be rib-related. Could also be one of the numerous ways that radiculopathpy shows up. The first rule of order is always getting that neck back to as normal a ROM as possible. This will probably require some work beyond adjustments and stretch therapy.

      Dr. Russ

  98. Amy

    I am wondering if you could give me some insight. I have started having severe pain in my ribs and sternum after sleeping on my side at night. It only hurts after 4-5 hours of sleeping and it doesn’t hurt any other time. I can also press on my sternum or ribs and it doesn’t hurt. It only happens after sleeping on my side for a while. It is EXCRUCIATING to move afterwards. If I sleep with my arm propped up on a pillow and not right up against my body, that helps some. But if my arm slips in the night, then I wake up with the severe pain. I feel like my ribs/sternum is being crushed while I sleep. The pain goes away after being awake for a while. I am 41 years old and weigh 110 pds.

  99. Katie

    Hi doctor,
    Basically I’ve been very ill for 5 weeks now it started out with a bad cough and chest infection which turned to pleurisy had an X-ray they gave me antibiotics.
    3 weeks on my rib pain is still just as bad I can’t lie down breathe talk or move with out really bad pain I’m coughing all day every day and being sick up to at least 10 times a day. I’ve been to my docs and he basically called me a liar he saw me before I went a&e and said there was nothing wrong with me I went to a&e and they said pleurisy so the doctors called me back in and said they don’t know what there talking about your fine he pulled up my notes from a&e and it said pneumonia I quizzed him on this and said no there wrong they over diagnosed you even though they did an X-ray plain to see.
    He just doesn’t want to gt into trouble because he sent me away first hand before I went a&e when I was actualy poorly.
    So I feel I can’t go back to my doctors with my pain and sickness because they just make out I’m lying. In so down now I can hardly move or do anything I’m constantly being sick and diaohrhea in terrible pain my couch just forces it’s self out of me u controllably and nobody will help me I went back to a&e two weeks ago and they said we’ve told you what it is just take you tablets I’ve finished them and still no better could this be something more than pleurisy?

  100. Sam

    Hello Dr. Russell Schierling
    i have pain under left rib cage & in chets pain from last 6 month.
    9 years’ before when i was in office & i feel very tired…. I move to go for home , but my boss told not go for 1 hour, becoz there is some urgent project
    i told him i have a back pain & i want to take rest & he advised me to twist the waist for relief , as usual
    as soon as I twist the left waist to right side…the cracking sound comes loudly & i become senseless , they all scared & deliver me to home by private van…
    But in October 2015 doctor r suggested me for CT scan of chest & result
    Fibromatic chagnges with adjacent pleural thickening are noted in the apico posterior segment of left upper lobe & postero basal segment of left lower lobe Impression:- found sequalae of old infection etiology & no active lesson found ,
    but the pain get worsen day by day & , since I have not sleep to left side for 9 years & Doctor diagnosed Costochondritis & prescribed steroid (Omnacortil) , coral grain tablet ( Corcium plus), but still no relief
    I can’t sleep , stand OR seat properly

    What Cause A Twisted Muscle Under Rib Cage?
    What Causes It And How To Relieve It?

    • Hello Sam,

      The pleural thickening probably has nothing to do with your pain as it is likely from something old. Not costochodritis because that does not come on instantly with a movement. It’s likely either a rib tissue problem or you subluxated a rib.


  101. Adam

    hi Doctor
    my right side ribs are always sore not painful but feels sore on top like the muscles . I do have a little one that I lift a lot during the day and I have a job that I sit for many hours a day. but this soreness has been on and off mainly on for the last 8 months what should I do

  102. Alison

    Hello. please can you help me doctor.
    I fell 4 or 5 nights ago and landed on my bottom and slammed down also my arms slammed at the back of me. My gp said go for an xray at the ER but they didn’t do one… just felt……
    its very sore to touch just under breast bone both sides but mainly left and uncomfortable sore achy hurts
    thank you

    • Hello Allison,

      The reason they did not take an x-ray because no matter what’s wrong in your case, there is no medical treatment. The trauma was not severe enough to cause shattered ribs and a punctured lung.

      Dr. Russ

  103. Judi

    Hello Doctor Russell
    I am not sure if you can help, but we are grasping at straws and any guidance would be appreciated. We live in South Africa and the lady who works for me started out experiencing terrible pains in her ribs, a week later she couldn’t walk. She says that it feels as if there are no bones in her legs. She does not have private medical and is fully dependent on our terrible government medical system. I paid for her to go and see a private GP who told her that she needed a back x-ray but proceeded to give her antibiotics. As we were unable to afford the private x-rays, I managed to get someone to take her to our regional government hospital who took x-rays, gave her injections in both ribs and sent her home stating that the x-ray showed that there was nothing wrong with her and that she would feel better in a few days. 2 weeks later she is still unable to walk and she returned to this hospital that put her on a drip for the night and discharged her this morning with a diagnosis that she does not have enough water in her body? I have run out of options and ideas. I am desperately trying to find out what could cause this kind of problems and is there anything I can do to help her.

  104. Samantha

    I’ve hurt myself rollerskating I went flying up landed on my bottom and winded myself. I feel as if my pelvis went I to my rib cage. No bruising as far as I can tell I broke them front and my stomach has two muscles sticking out so has my back. 11 weeks I e woken up and it feels like my ribs are stuck in each other RE my stomach moves around I watch it a d I’ve a dent in my left side and massie sticking out other. I’m swollen my toes our numb face puffing a d back neck and collar bone pain please help me Samantha

  105. Rachel

    I’m curious about this, I’ve had reconstruction surgery bc of Breast cancer. Had the latisumis dorsi flap removed to create breast. Years later and I’m struggling with severe pain!
    I’ll be driving, walking or just living and I’ll get this terrible pain that stops me in my tracks. feels like huge thorns inside of me and cannot move, take deep breath or sit up straight.
    I’m getting injections, but it’ll only last for a little while.
    My quality of life is not where I’d like to be. Very worried how much more I can do.
    Sorry, one more thing to add to my previous comment, since the major surgery , I’ve always felt like someone sewed a tight girdle around me. It’s been painful but now with this pain of thorns from the inside, I’m in some SERIOUS pain. My doctor felt it was Shingles?

  106. Anita

    Hi, I am wondering if you could tell me what might be causing extreme pain just underneath my right chest? It started when I fell at night after tripping over some packed boxes that I forgot were in my hallway and I tripped over them in the dark and landed very hard on my hardwood floors! I landed on my right front/side. As I was lying there, before I even got up I could then all of a sudden feel this pain, there, inside my body, and new that I hurt something!! It’s now 3 days later and it still hurts! A tad better but not a whole lot! When I take a deep breath or move a certain way, I feel it hurt…? Thank you for answering…

  107. Stephanie

    I’m suffering from pain right under my right breast when I breathe, move or even lay down for the past 5 days. I recently noticed when I lay on my stomach and I breathe in and out I can feel something rubbing on the inside of my ribs where it hurts. Kinda like the feeling when you have phlegm in your lungs but my lungs don’t hurt. It started when I was siting in a open trunk of a car fixing the rear body panel. I’m a body tech so I do a lot of manual physical labor and lots of different positions to get the job done. In this case I was sitting Indian style facing the back of the car bent to my right side for about 10 min before I noticed the pain. It gets worse when I sit and my bra is tight against it.

    • Rib pain is brutal Stephanie, whether they are bruised, cracked, “out” (subluxation) or the tissue is injured. Not sure which this is, but a good chiro should be able to help you solve it. Best guess is that it is a subluxation.

      Dr. Russ

  108. Rose

    I’ve injured this same place in my rib area several times over the past 10 years. This time, it kept me unable to work. Last time I was leaning over and stretching over my seat arm rest to pick something off the passenger side floor to the side and felt and heard, “pop-pop-pop” . The pain is just below my chest on the right side. I’m getting better, I can cough or sneeze without severe pain, but after an X-ray and a CT scan, my PC still doesn’t know what it is. What type of doctor should I go to, and what procedure will show what is wrong? None of the orthopedic doctors will see me for it and that was what my PC referred. Thank you!

  109. Staci

    I was bear hugged very tightly and I could hear like a popping or pulling,I could not get my bearings and had a hard time standing,know a week later I am in so much pain my right side is the worst I try to use it and it is so painful I have to stop,could muscles been torn away from my ribs?? The pain is so bad to cough , breath hiccup, you name what can I do to get relief??Will it ever get better????

    • First step Staci, see a chiro,

      Dr. Russ

    • Julie

      Hi I’m Julie and Sunday I dared my boyfriend to see if he can still lift me up cause I felt a lot heavier so he tried once so I told him to lift me again and when he did I felt my ribs or whatever it was like a pop and I couldn’t move after that and couldn’t breathe, I can’t lay down on my stomach, don’t sleep cause I can’t turn without having severe pain. What should I do. I’m very uncomfortable and my chest is starting to hurt.

  110. Bonnie

    Hi my name is Bonnie. I have a question of concern. I have 10 herniated discs in my upper back. I get very severe muscle spasms coming from around my back to ribs in front. The muscle actually tightens up and sticks out. Now I have a lump on left side rib area. I can see getting bigger. Please help 😦

  111. Lisa

    I am suffering the same, from coughing and then lack of knowing when to stop and rest. Please help. I had a pretty severe cough that lasted for a month or better. I have pain on right side front and back right below shoulder and mostly front under breast rib area. Have not been seen for it. I know that’s the problem.

  112. lucy

    Hi there,

    I am a Personal Trainer for a living and do lots of running, ab work, fairly heavy weights etc. For the last few days I’ve been experiencing rib pain, primarily on the right side and sometimes hurts when I breath in. However I can’t tell if the pain is coming from ribs, obliques, rectus abdominus or upper/mid back as they are hurting on rotation!

    Definite pain at upper abs when flexing/twisting.

    Any ideas? Thanks!

  113. Katie

    Hi, I’m Katie, I’m a competitive cheerleader as I am currently a sophomore in high school. Back in 2013 or 14 I overused the muscles and stuff around my ribs on the right side at practice and I went home and leaned over to get something and my ribs popped. My family doctor said that I popped the cartilage off of my ribs and that if it happened again that I would need surgery. Now as of 2-3 years later and my ribs have started to hurt again and it’s so bad that I cry myself to sleep and I sleep on an ice pack. It feels the same way that it did when I hurt it the first time. What does this mean?

  114. Candida Wright

    I am in Spain and hope you can be so kind as to answer my question. The other evening I was sat in a chair on the beach and leant forward to pick up a bowl that that had fallen on the sand. I felt like an elasting band caught and then twanged in my left side. The pain was intense and since then (3 days ago) I have pain and cannot lean on or to the left or bend to the left. Could this be a muscle and will it heal on its own or do I go to hospital? Thank you.

    • Hello Candida,

      This can happen from either subluxation or a tissue tear. Other than prescribing you meds, not sure what they would do for this in the hospital other than accuse you of faking for drugs (a very common scenario in America) because neither of these problems really shows up on standardized testing.

      Dr. Russ

  115. lee

    hi Doc,

    i have, what feels like my 12th rib (float). that sticks out very prominently on my left side. i have had MRI and physio, along with osteopath sessions, deep tissue massages and other various things to try and help it. its difficult to remain active in my general day to day life and i have been searching for answers for a couple of years but the best i have been given so far is that, apparently i have aggravated cartilage on the end of the rib which is causing me to feel this pain in my left back. its also caused my posture to shift and my upper body feels slightly shifted over towards the left, which i believe could be because of the rib sticking out restricts me. either way i really could do with another opinion or some advice as to think what im saying the problem could be is not impossible. as i would rather it removed and see how i when on afterwards.

    best regards.

    • I have seen ribs that don’t respond to anything. Surgery is great if it works, which is an iffy proposition. There are any number of things that could be causing this, and with you in the UK, I have no idea who to tell you to see.

      Dr. Russ

  116. Ritamarie

    Ritamarie is UNSUSCRIBING AS OF 6/25/2016.

    My only comment is: unless I move to your town, you cannot offer help, so whatever I read from you could all be hypothetical. Better yet, you’re probably a well read Plummer, but not very handy fixing hurting people. Don’t believe everything or everyone you read in the papers. Sometimes the power of the press can go to ones head.

  117. Ashley

    Having pains around the heart.cant lay on my left side and can’t take to deep of breathes or cough!! At first I though it was a heart attack but the pain only seemed to be when on my left side or to heavy breathing

  118. Desmond

    Hi. I am really confused as i have been to my doctor because i have bad back pain. The doctor put it down to contusion (deep tissue damage) he has got me on double dosage of dhc a strong slow release of codeine along with voltrin and i still feel the pain. It has been a month and 2 weeks now yet the pain has not got any better which makes me wonder if he has given me a wrong diagnosis. I have had X-rays of the chest and back and they found no broken bones so i am now looking for answers elsewhere, i feel a mri may help find whats wrong but because he said its contusion a mri is not useful for it and the price for a mri is expensive so would have to have a good reason to get that. The pain is in upper back just to the right of the pain and is a very sharp pain when i bend or sit but the only thing i can do is lay flat or stand up do you have any answers for me

  119. Deborah

    Hi I’m having left sided, under tthe rib pain
    It feels at times like bones rubbing together
    E rays, and ultra sound done and it showed nothing, but still have the pain and seems to get worse after I eat or walking around

  120. Gayle

    I have a rib that won’t heal. It’s the 5th rib in my back. So I get in Costa spasms/pain like Charlie horse. I’ve has 8 spasms in a row. Nothing helps an i never know when they are going to stop. Will they stop when the rib heals. It’s been 2 yrs.

  121. sania

    i liked the post.. i am.goin thru somthg similar but the differnce is that i am 4 months pregnant but recently healed from a pain ful UTI…. now my rigt side ribcage is hurting real bad n.i donno wat to do…pliz help..

    • Pregnancy certainly throws a wrench in the equation Sania. The antibiotics from the UTI may have wreaked havoc on your Gut, causing large amounts of inflammation, which always leads to fibrosis of some sort. Almost impossible for me to even speculate what might be going on here.

      Dr. Russ

  122. Debbie

    Is there any type of exercise that I can do? When I lay down or get up it hurts under my Breast. The pain radiates under the armpit and a little towarda the shoulder blade
    It’s just in that area

  123. Brooke

    Hi Dr. Russ,

    I am 26 and started to have lower right side pain about 3 years ago. I had an ultra sound and went through physical therapy to help strengthen my hips. The pain in my lower right ribs is still extremely painful when I go on runs or fast walks. It comes when I am active/bouncing/twisting. It never hurts when I’m sedentary. The pain is very localized and feels like stabbing or ripping. The pain slightly lowers when I squeeze my side or dig my knuckles into my lower right ribs. The pain feels nothing like a side ache and tends to feel sore the next day if I over work myself. Maybe I need to try heat and ice but I want to find a solution. Maybe a cortisone shot? Or surgery? Any tips would be hugely appreciated.


  124. Ade

    i have pain in between the lower rib and stomach, precisely i can’t specify left side, this i observed a year ago and mostly painful when i laugh and sleep with the affected side in the night. Although i am 34yrs with high blood pressure this hbp i observed 7yrs ago, about two weeks ago i complain to a doctor in d hospital he said is the chest pain but i am very sure i do not have chest pain so he prescribed some drug and i am sure with this drug the pb is reducing gradually. with a pain killer which has finished but the pain is still there reduced a bit 30%. now what i observed about a month ago when i breathe let me say 45minutes interval is as if my breath want to seize. thanks Doctor

    • Hello Ade,

      Sounds like a tissue thing to me, but it could be almost anything. Not sure the BP has anything to do with this. The pain pills are not solving anything for you. Find someone doing some sort of Tissue Remodeling in your area.

      Dr. Russ

  125. 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?

  126. 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

  127. 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

  128. 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

  129. 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

  130. 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! 😦

  131. 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.

  132. 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

  133. 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

  134. 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 .

  135. 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

  136. Cherie

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

  137. 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!!

  138. 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.

  139. 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,

  140. Nessa

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

  141. 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.

  142. 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

  143. 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

  144. 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

  145. 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

  146. 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?

  147. 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.

  148. 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 :/

  149. 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!

  150. 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)?

  151. 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 ?

  152. 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?

  153. 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

  154. 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!

  155. 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

  156. 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!

  157. 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.

  158. 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.

  159. 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

  160. 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

  161. 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

  162. 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

  163. 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

  164. 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.

  165. 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.

  166. 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

  167. 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

  168. 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

  169. 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

  170. Jane

    Thank you for doing this.

  171. 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.

  172. 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?

  173. 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?

  174. 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???

  175. 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

  176. 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

  177. 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

  178. 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

  179. Nasir

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

  180. 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

  181. 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

  182. 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.

  183. 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

  184. 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

  185. 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

  186. 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?

  187. 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

  188. 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 😫😫

  189. 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

  190. 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…

  191. 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

  192. 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

  193. 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

  194. 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!!

  195. 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!

  196. 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

  197. 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.

    • Hello Kim,

      It’s almost impossible to tell you anything beyond what’s on my site. Be aware that I have a number of articles on this topic on my Doctor Schierling dot com site.

      Dr. Russ

    • laura

      Hi Kim;

      I’m 20 and I have an 18° scoliosis in my upper spine, and a recurve from compensating in my lower spine. I experience pain that feels like my lowest, floating rib (usually on the same side; my left) is getting tucked under my hip and stabbing me. Turns out, that’s exactly what is happening. The curvature moves one side of my ribcage higher and further back, and the other side lower and more forward. My left half is also misshapen slightly; not as round as the right.

      It isn’t going anywhere, but there are a few things I’ve found that help that your daughter might want to try. One, stop using two-strap backpacks. It sounds counterintuitive and it may very well be bad in the long run and it might not help my curve and I’m NOT a doctor, but wearing a normal backpack makes the pain a lot worse because the straps press on my lower ribcage, pushing them in more and creating more stabby. I either use one of those weird triangle one-strap bags so it only presses on the other side of my ribcage, an over-the-shoulder purse, or just a rolly bag.

      When it gets really bad, I can’t stand or sit or lie down without it hurting. I find the best thing to do is lie on my back on the floor with my calves up on a chair or bed (knees at 90°) and curve myself so I’m bending away from the side that hurts.

      Most painkillers are also muscle relaxants, and can make this problem worse. I can’t count the times I’ve taken a couple aspirin for a headache and ended up in tears hours later when my ribs and shoulders felt like they were being destroyed.

  198. 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.

  199. 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

  200. 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

  201. 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

  202. 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

  203. 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

  204. 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

  205. 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

  206. 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

  207. 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

  208. 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

  209. 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…:-(

  210. 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

  211. 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..

  212. 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?!

  213. 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!

  214. 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

  215. 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.

  216. 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.

  217. 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.

  218. 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.

  219. 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

  220. 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

  221. 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

  222. 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

  223. 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

  224. 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

  225. 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.

  226. 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

  227. 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

  228. 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

  229. 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

  230. 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?

  231. 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

  232. 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

  233. 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.

  234. 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

  235. 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?

  236. 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.


  237. 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

  238. 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 !

  239. 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?

  240. 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

  241. 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?

  242. 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

  243. 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?

  244. 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!

  245. 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?

  246. 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

  247. 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

  248. 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.

  249. 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

  250. 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?

  251. 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?

  252. 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.

  253. 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?

  254. 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

  255. 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

  256. 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.

  257. 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

  258. 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.

  259. 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.

  260. 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.

  261. 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

  262. 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?

  263. 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”

  264. 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?

  265. 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

  266. Ashley

    Hi 🙂
    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?

  267. 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.

  268. 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.

  269. 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

  270. 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.

  271. 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.

  272. 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

  273. 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.

  274. 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.

  275. 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,

  276. Jazz Selby

    Are you in england?

  277. 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?

  278. 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

  279. 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 ;+)

  280. 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

  281. 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

  282. 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?

  283. 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.