Various conditions can trigger rib pain when pressing the left side of the rib cage or stretching the body. The inflammation in the cartilage of the rib can cause pain in the area. Nevertheless, conditions such as a fractured rib or an internal issue might transmit pain to the site.
What are the potential symptoms?
The pain that originates in the chest wall, mainly on the left side of the sternum is typically linked to costochondritis. Even though the pain is usually sharp, it can also be dull or gnawing.
The rib pain is likely to occur when performing actions such as deep breathing or coughing but the pain can also be reproduced by pushing in on the site that is painful when performing other aggravating actions.
The rib pain might be linked to a bruise or fracture if significant tenderness arises after trauma to the chest. A damaged rib is likely to feel sore when breathing or when trying to twist or bend.
A doctor should be seen right away if the individual is suspected with an injured rib. In some instances, if the pain seems to originate beneath the rib, it might be linked to a serious internal issue that requires immediate care.
What are the possible causes?
Various conditions can lead to costochondritis but oftentimes, the doctor could not determine the direct cause. Nevertheless, the root of the issue can be traced if the individual recently injured the chest, pain in a different body part, recently had an upper respiratory ailment, engaged in strenuous activity such as heavy lifting or diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Management of rib pain
The treatment is based on the underlying cause of the rib pain. If due to a break, the doctor will prescribe a potent pain medication or inject anesthesia to numb the nerves surrounding the affected rib until it heals.
In case costochondritis is the cause, placing a warm compress throughout the day along with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can lessen the pain until the inflammation subsides.