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Pain Underneath Ribs
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Pain Underneath Ribs

Approximately 16 months ago I began to feel a dull pain in my lower left rib area, primarily when sitting or laying down, never when standing.  My doctor took chest x-rays, which showed no abnormality, and gave me anti-inflammatory medication.  The pain persisted, so the doctor ultimately had me do an abdominal CAT scan, an MRI of the spine and a full body bone scan.  Each test showed no abnormality.  The doctor has determined that this must be a nerve based problem and would like for to utilize pain management services.  I'm concerned that this could be a more serious problem perhaps with my lung.  The doctor has said that the abdominal CAT scan would see the lower lung, basically up to the nipple area, and that between the CAT scan and the bone scan he could positively rule out a lung problem, including a cancerous type growth. While I don't know what a nerve probelm would feel like, I'm just not convinced about this diagnosis. Should I feel safe that this battert of tests could rule out a lung/cancer type of problem?  Should I consult another doctor, perhaps a specialist of some sort?
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An abdominal CT scan can indeed see the lower part of the lung.  If there continues to be concern, a dedicated chest CT scan can be considered.  If the CT scan is negative, it makes a lung disorder less likely.  A negative bone scan would make a bone process less likely.

You may want to consider GI causes.  Things like GERD, ulcers, or inflammation of the upper digestive tract may also cause pain in that area.  An upper endoscopy or upper GI series would be a nice place to start the GI investigation.  You may also want to consider blood tests looking for H Pylori - a bacteria associated with inflammation or ulcers.

You may also want to consider pancreatitis - which can be evaluated by measuring pancreatic enzymes.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
Medical Weblog:
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3 Comments
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I myself am 25 years old, a reformed smoker. Over the past year I have developed a  hypersenstivity in my left side, through the chest and flank. It has recently developed into a pain under my lower ribs on my left side, which is sore to the touch, especially when applying pressure to my ribcage on the left. My back also feels tight or slightly sore at times, causing me further alarm. I am about to have my first appointment with a pysician, who can hopefully determine the cause, however I too am a bit paranoid as to what the cause could be. The discomfort is chronic, especially bad when I don't get enough sleep. As a result I have desisted any habits that could possibly have contributed to the cause and taken up exercise, which does not seem to affect the condition adversely at all. I have no resperatory problems whatsoever, and pray that the condition is nothing serious. I'll be sure to post my diagnosis as soon as I have it.
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I have pain in my lower right rib area. It first started about 6 months ago when sometimes during stretching my body, I sometimes got a sharp pain in that area like sometime was tearing inside. But it would go away immidiately as soon as I relax my stretch. Gradually I started having more persistant pain, but not overwhelming, only slightly discomforting pain. Recently I went for a tour vacation where my body was under moderate physical stress such as walking with my shoulder bag, mile long treks etc. During that time the pain did developed to a level that bothered me, it still was not unbearable and I could carry on with all my activities but with discomfort. After I came back, it has subsideded a bid, but now its persistent and wont go away. It increases slightly, if I press my lower most right rib just an inch from the center.    

I went to a doctor today and after feeling across by abdomen and using his scope, he ruled out any internal organ disease. He thinks its got to do with the muscles or ligaments that tie up with the rib, prescribed a gel and painkillers. But I now comfortable with his assessment, because the pain has been there for a long time now after it first started. And its gradually increasing in intesity and persistence. Is it something that might know?
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I have a mild pain on my left side almost constantly right under the lowest rib and slightly to the center. On occasion, I get a mildly sharp pain that lasts a second or two. The sharper pain has been going on for about 2 months. I had a cat scan, enzyme test, blood work, cardiogram, etc. All negative except the doctor said that a lymph node (behind or near) the aorta is slightly enlarged. He doesn't want to do a biopsy because it is an extremely delicate area to intervene into. He prefers to wait 3 months and do another cat scan. He does not think that this small enlargement of the lymph node in that area has anything to do with this mild but almost constant pain. I also have fibromyalgia, pretty much everywhere, and rheumatoid arthritis slightly in hands, feet, and lower spine ( a mess) including fragmented disc. I am at a loss as to this pain in the left side under the rib cage. Can anyone help or point me in a direction?
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a mild pain on my left side almost constantly right under the lowest rib and slightly to the center. On occasion, I get a mildly sharp pain that lasts a second or two. The sharper pain has been going on for about 2 months. I had a cat scan, enzyme test, blood work, cardiogram, etc. All negative except the doctor said that a lymph node (behind or near) the aorta is slightly enlarged. He doesn't want to do a biopsy because it is an extremely delicate area to intervene into. He prefers to wait 3 months and do another cat scan. He does not think that this small enlargement of the lymph node in that area has anything to do with this mild but almost constant pain. I also have fibromyalgia, pretty much everywhere, and rheumatoid arthritis slightly in hands, feet, and lower spine ( a mess) including fragmented disc. I am at a loss as to this pain in the left side under the rib cage. Can anyone help or point me in a direction?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi all, I have been having the same problem as most of you. I have been having pain in my right side under my ribs and in the upper right side of chest/breast area since april.Constant pain all day long. I even take Darvocet and this has not helped at all. This all started after having the iferior Vena Cava filter placed. They went through my neck to place it. I have had CT's done of my lungs to make sure I did not have a Blood clot in the lungs.I have had my appendix removed, my gallbladder removed, and I have had my tubes tied. I am a 23 year old female. The medicine that I take on a daily basis is, Fragmin(Blood Thinner), verapamil( high blood pressure). I have seen my regular Doctor and my hemotologist. My question is what type of doctor do I see for this kind of pain. I am lost and so sick of pain. I have lived with pain every since I was 16 years old. I just want it to all go away. I have a blood clotting disorder. I thought after all of that stuff was loaded on my shoulder that I would not have anymore on going pain problems. I guessed wrong though. Sorry for the lost post I just needed to vent and know what way to turn. thanks in advanced for you help.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi all, I have been having the same problem as most of you. I have been having pain in my right side under my ribs and in the upper right side of chest/breast area since april.Constant pain all day long. I even take Darvocet and this has not helped at all. This all started after having the iferior Vena Cava filter placed. They went through my neck to place it. I have had CT's done of my lungs to make sure I did not have a Blood clot in the lungs.I have had my appendix removed, my gallbladder removed, and I have had my tubes tied. I am a 23 year old female. The medicine that I take on a daily basis is, Fragmin(Blood Thinner), verapamil( high blood pressure). I have seen my regular Doctor and my hemotologist. My question is what type of doctor do I see for this kind of pain. I am lost and so sick of pain. I have lived with pain every since I was 16 years old. I just want it to all go away. I have a blood clotting disorder. I thought after all of that stuff was loaded on my shoulder that I would not have anymore on going pain problems. I guessed wrong though. Sorry for the lost post I just needed to vent and know what way to turn. thanks in advanced for you help.
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