What is rib cage pain? Why does it happen? Is it a serious situation? Do you need to see a doctor? How does it go? What to do if it does not pass? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
Is rib cage pain serious?
Rib cage pain can be caused by damage to the muscles, joints, or cartilage in the area. In some cases, home treatments such as applying hot or cold compresses can help. It is difficult to diagnose the cause of rib cage pain from symptoms alone. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor for persistent complaints. This article will review some of the causes and treatments for pain felt in the rib cage.
What is rib cage pain?
Rib cage pain refers to pain inside the chest. It can affect the muscles, bones, or soft tissue in the chest. In some cases, pain can also affect organs such as the heart and lungs.
Related article: All about chest pain
Rib cage pain can range from mild tension to sharp, stabbing pain. It can also come and go, and its duration can vary from hours to days. In some cases, rib cage pain may occur only in response to movement or touching the area.
Pain in the rib cage can also occur with heart disease or a heart attack. Although those experiencing rib cage pain may initially suspect a heart problem, it may not actually have anything to do with the heart. For example, a common cause of rib cage pain is related to injury to the muscles, joints, or cartilage.
When is rib cage pain an emergency?
If chest pain is accompanied by the following, it should be evaluated immediately:
- Intense pain in the center of the chest that lasts longer than a few minutes
- Pain radiating to the back, neck, or shoulders
- Other symptoms such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness or confusion
- loss of consciousness or fainting
The above symptoms may indicate a heart attack and therefore require emergency medical care.
A heart attack is not the only reason for urgency. Some other signs that indicate chest pain requires immediate treatment include:
- febrile chest pain
- difficulty breathing
- Intense chest pain after a fall or blow to the chest
What causes rib cage pain?
Several medical conditions can cause pain felt in the rib cage. The following items will examine some of these medical conditions in more detail.
1- Musculoskeletal injuries
Injuries to the chest muscles or bones can cause pain in the area. These injuries can be caused by something sudden, such as a fall or blow to the chest, or they can occur over time due to poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle.
Signs that the cause may be an injury include feeling pain in a specific place or pain radiating to different areas. Another sign is pain when touching the area. In mild muscle injuries, the pain can be a mild pain that comes and goes. In more severe cases, such as a bone fracture, the pain can be intense and persistent.
Angjina is a type of chest pain that occurs as a symptom of an underlying heart condition. It occurs when the blood flowing to the heart loses its normal course. Some factors that increase the risk of angina include:
- to be old
- Being overweight or obese
- not being physically active
- eating unhealthy things
- have diabetes
Angina causes a feeling of tightness in the middle of the chest and shortness of breath. It takes a few minutes and does not improve with massage or deep breathing. Angina can also indicate a heart attack that requires emergency medical care.
Costochondritis is inflammation between the ribs that attach to the rib cage. It can cause an intense burning sensation, mild pain, or sudden chest pain. The pain may get worse with movement.
Costochondritis usually goes away on its own. A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory pain medications to reduce pain. Some people may also benefit from stretching or massage.
4- Breast pain
Breast pain can also cause rib cage pain. Pregnant and breastfeeding people are more likely to experience this type of pain. Some women also experience chest pain during menopause or during their menstrual periods. Various factors such as hormonal changes or infections can cause breast pain.
Clogged ducts and inflamed breasts are specific problems for people who are breastfeeding. The pain tends to get worse when pressure is applied to the affected area. This condition can sometimes go away on its own, but in some cases, treatment may be required. Some women can find relief by massaging the area or applying a hot pack.
An asthma attack can cause chest pain or a feeling of chest tightness. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, feeling lightheaded, and throat tightness. Although asthma usually develops in childhood, it can also occur later on. Severe asthma attacks often require medical treatment.
6- Other chronic conditions
Other chronic conditions can also cause rib cage pain. The pain may come on suddenly or develop gradually over time. It can come and go and last for weeks or months.
Some other conditions that can cause pain felt in the rib cage include:
- Tietze syndrome, a rare inflammatory disease
- sickle cell disease
- Liver or gallbladder disease
Treatment depends on the condition the person has, but taking the prescribed medications is usually sufficient to treat the underlying cause.
Some infections can also cause rib cage pain. For example, in pneumonia, pain may be felt in the rib cage area while there is fever and difficulty in breathing. Infections in the bones or muscles can also cause pain. Rib cage pain following a recent illness may indicate an infection.
Infections often require medical treatment, and treatment will depend on the cause. For example, a person may need to take antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Resting can also help relieve pain, but serious infections may require a hospital stay.
8- Lung problems
Other lung-related problems can also cause rib cage pain. One possible lung-related cause of chest pain is a disease called pulmonary embolism , in which a blood clot from elsewhere in the body travels to the lungs and causes chest discomfort .
Lung injuries can cause breathing problems. Ache; It can occur after a blow to the chest, such as from a fall or vehicle accident. Lung injuries can be life-threatening so require immediate medical treatment.
How is the cause of rib cage pain determined?
If there are no symptoms other than pain felt in the rib cage, mild pain may go away on its own without the need for medical attention. But more severe pain usually requires treatment. Medical treatment may be necessary if chest pain occurs after a blow to the chest or with other symptoms of a heart attack.
To diagnose the cause, the doctor may:
- Ask about the person’s symptoms and medical history
- Can physically examine the chest
- can take a blood sample
- may use x-rays or other imaging tests
How is chest pain treated?
If the cause of the pain felt in the rib cage is not serious, the person can take measures on their own. If emergency treatment is not necessary, home treatments include:
- applying an ice pack to the chest
- using heat bags
- massaging the area
- Doing light stretching exercises
- Taking painkillers by consulting a doctor or pharmacist
As a result
Many causes of rib cage pain should not be a cause for concern. However, if the pain felt in the rib cage does not go away on its own or gets worse, the person may need medical care. The person should watch out for signs of a heart attack or other conditions that require immediate medical treatment.