Our ribs are a vulnerable part of our bodies. They can be bruised and fractured quite easily and can also fall victim to other conditions. Rib pain can be caused by a number things such as inflammation, fractures and bruises. When pain is present in the ribs it indicates a problem. The problem may be small and insignificant or it could be big and serious. When you experience rib pain it is important to be evaluated by a physician so that you can be diagnosed and treated quickly. This article will discuss some of the more common causes of rib pain.
Causes of Rib Pain: Fractures, Cracks and Bruises
The first sign of a fractured, cracked or bruised rib is pain. This pain can be quite severe and can remain for several weeks. However, the pain usually begins to alleviate itself after a week or so. When you see your doctor about this cause of rib pain he will perform a physical exam and send you to have an x-ray of the area. When these types of injuries to the ribs occur they can cause more than pain. Other symptoms may include tenderness, limited mobility ,and increased pain when sneezing, coughing or breathing deeply. Treatment for these rib injuries involve rest and pain medication as needed.
Causes of Rib Pain: Costochondritis
Costochondritis occurs when the cartilage that connects the breastbone to the ribs becomes inflamed. This condition can cause sharp pain and this pain can often mimic the pain experienced during a heart attack. This condition can occur due to referred pain, injury, fibromyalgia and infection. Costochondritis can also cause trouble breathing and increased pain when coughing and breathing deeply. This condition is diagnosed through a physical exam and by ruling out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. This condition usually clears up on its own, but doctors may also prescribe NSAIDS, muscle relaxers and tricyclic antidepressants (for better sleep) to help a patient cope with the pain.
Causes of Rib Pain: Pleurisy
Pleurisy occurs when the thin layers of tissue covering the chest wall and lungs swells. This can lead to rib pain, especially when breathing deeply. This condition can be caused by a number of other conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, a bacterial or viral infection of the lower respiratory system, a chest injury or a pulmonary embolism. Pain is the most common symptom of pleurisy. Other symptoms include less pain when holding breath, pain only on one side of chest, increased pain when sneezing, coughing or moving suddenly and pain that may extend to the stomach or shoulder.
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