Recurring Chest, Rib, Torso Pain
by SickintheHead?, Jul 11, 2007
I am 31 yrs old and have been been multiple areas of discomfort/pain for several years but most often in the past let's say 6 months.  I have been smoking a pack a day of cigarettes as well as marijuana for about 11 yrs now.  I was recently laid off and now have no medical insurance and am trying to find an alternative city based clinic that I can go to.

That said, I have been experience multiple areas of discomfort primarily on the right side of my chest frequently for the past 6 months.  The pains are all a bit different and in different areas so I'm not sure if they are related but I will try to be as clear as possible.

1) i experience what seems to be sore and tender ribs both at the back of my right rib cage and in the front close to where my ribs join into the sternum.  Sometimes other areas of my ribs appear tender.  I first noticed this when i started having uncomfortable (not necessarily pain but more like when you're sitting funny or something) feelings on the right side area below my right chest muscle and in the chest muscle itself.  It generally starts dull and feels uncomfortable like when your knuckles need to crack or your elbow needs to pop.    I thought maybe the ribs areas became tender on the bone after I rubbed the area too much.  Most often it seems like the uncomfortable feeling is underneath the area where my front rib cage and back rib cage meet on my side -- if i cup this under and press in i seem to hit an area of tenderness.  However, my back right lower rib area seems to be always a bit tender to the touch.  I originally attributed this to posture as it seemed to be more pronounced after a long sleep or when i'm sitting on a couch hunced over a laptop.

2) i've also experienced sharper "knife in the chest" type pains.  these happen infrequently (maybe a few times a year) but generally on the right side of my torso but higher up in the pectoral muscle and farther to the outside of my chest.  These last a few seconds where inhaling seems to feel like something is pinching and i can't take a deep breath.  This goes away rather quickly and my breathing resumes normally.  These were infrequent enough that I just assumed that with all the carbonated drinks i consume, fast eating habit, smoking, that it was chest gas.

3) Sometimes I have a similar pain (dull, uncomfortable, almost like a muscle ache) as what i describe in (1) in the upper and outer portions of my chest muscle.  If i have this pain and I reach under and sorta grab under my right pectoral muscle with my left hand the uncomfortable ache sees to fade a bit.  I was doing pushups for a while months back and thought perhaps i had pulled something or torn my muscle and it has yet to fully heal.  Sometimes does it feel like it is something under the surface of my muscle and rib cage and i feared it could be my lungs or other organs.  I can't say i ever notice real difficulty inhaling or shortness of breath, hacking, or blood in my sputum but occassionally when i exhale i feel a bit of pain quickly radiate out through the area.

4) for a long time my back muscles have been knotted and i do have a standard knot area along the inside edge of my right shoulderblade in between that and my spine.  When applying pressure to this area it does seem to radiate through my body and relieve whatever pain i may be feeling in my upper right pectoral/shoulder area.  The sore ribs I think are separate and are not affected by this.

That said, I know i sound like a total lunatic and obviously some very basic things need to change like i have to quit smoking etc.

I lost my insurance when laid off and i went to the hospital but to get xrays but they are saying i need to prove i'm a resident to get treated.

Basically i'm losing sleep and sanity over worrying if this at all sounds like the beginning of a life threatening problem like a lung tumor or similar.  I don't have a recurring cough and do not spit up blood.  I realize it would be impossible to determine the cause of any/all of these symptoms but I just want to know if this sounds like anything like lung tumors while i wait for the medical bureaucracy to clear me for an xray.  I'm sorry this is so long winded and crazy sounding and waste of everyone's time.  I'm not crazy, I'm just scared and poor and just need someone to tell me if this sounds like something serious or if it could just be nothing.  My attitude was that if i have pain inside my ribs at all then that must be bad because why would you have pain in your body -- i used to just think everyone has aches and stuff but after telling others they all seem very alarmed by my symptoms.  I'm sorry but any feedback would be greatly appreciated
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Member Comments (14)
by torsowoman, Jul 16, 2007
Your symptoms are so similar to my own: torso pain under the ribs, rather to the side...more obvious when sitting for a while.  I am 49 and have been feeling this pain for about 2 years.  I've gotten to the point that I adjust my posture to avoid the frequent pain.
The best way I described this pain to a friend is that when I was pregnant and carrying my (breech) kids, their heads were up in my ribcage and lungs.  In order to breathe better, I would take the palm of my hand and push them down and away.  It worked.  Course now, I am anything but pregnant.  So I too am looking for a way to make this stop.
Last week, I went to the gp and they took an x-ray.  Initially it showed a mass of about 2", then I followed that test up with an ultrasound which showed nothing!  How frustrating is this!?
Maybe it's muscular/skeletal, which is what my initial undiagnosed thoughts have been.  We'll see.  I made an appointment with my gastro doctor to let him see all results and see where we stand.  I may be making a chiropractic appointment sooner than I think.
by joannej, Sep 03, 2007
I am a 38 year old woman, fit and healthy, excersice regulaly and have rib pain that also connects to my back. The pain is just under my breast and is a band of pain that works its way around to my spine. Im fine through the day with no symptoms, but after a long period of sleep i wake in agony, and find it hard to turn over in bed due to the pressure change on my ribs.... i dread waking up on a morning to this pain, i never know which way to lay to get comfortable and nothing i try ever works. I have been to see my GP and they are going to run some blood tests and they are sending me for a scan too..... i also think an X ray would help, but i will see what the blood test results reveal first (if anything at all) I thought i was the only one suffering with this type of problem but it appears im not alone!
by Sleepless-n-sore, Sep 27, 2007
My symptoms sound exactly like your's.  Did you find out anything about your condition yet, I go to the doc again tomorrow.
by JTLFF, Jul 16, 2008
My wife has the EXACT same pain as you, rib pain which radiates from side to side, to her back and sometimes her chest. She has had the pain for 3 years. I'm desperate for her to get better, Please give me any information you have. She has had all the tests from CT scans, xrays, and blood work. they all came back fine. Doctors are baffled.
by Penny1971, Jul 26, 2008
All of your symptoms sound exactly like mine.  My dr. diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia.  Ask your doctor if this could be you.
by Hoann, Oct 27, 2008
Thank god i was starting to think i was crazy! Im a 22 year old student. and ive has almost the exact same symtoms for a month ans a hlf now. many blood and urine test later no idea. as well as xrays and and ultra sound. at least i know this is something that others deal with. and now i have a direction. my fiance and i have been very scared.
by Ash407, Nov 07, 2008
im a 16 year old girl, and ive been feeling pain right under the top of the middle  part of my ribs, and it wont go away...it really hurts, and my friend says im pregnate, but thats impossible because im a virgin...its scaring me to death...
by PainPainGoAwayForever, Feb 20, 2009
I am 36 and I have the same exact unexplainable pains too, right under my left breast on the ribs, tender to the touch, comes and goes,it started in May of 2008, I felt a small pain and went to the E.R. I had an E.K.G., a blood test they said I had a blood clot in my lung then they did an x-ray and there was no clot, they did a M.R.I. did'nt find anything, they kept me overnight for more tests beacause my E.K.G. looked different, so they had me do a stress test and found nothing was wrong with my heart and lungs and sent me home, months went by no pains, then in Sept. 2008, I was getting the pains again but they were worse and more frequent some times on the left side and on the back left ribs, I don't smoke, but when I am around cigarette smoke and chemicals/cleaners my lungs start hurting. I have been around second hand smoke most of my life. I have neck and back pain and numbness in the shoulder blades and back of neck sometimes and numbness all of time in my left piny and side of hand near pinky that started 2mo. ago. I think the back and neck pains are from picking up my 2 daughters all the time, they are 26 and 38lbs.. I went into the E.R. again in Dec.2008 after getting severe panic attacks because of the pains and was hooked up the a heart monitor and my heart looked good, had a chest x-ray, lungs looked good, had a blood test and I was healthy except for my potassium being low, they gave me a perscription for it. Also my sister has been having pains and fatigue since 2008 and was diagnosed last week with fibromyalgia, I hope I don't have that, I hate taking pills of any sorts,  I like to enjoy life and have fun with my kids. I hope we all figure these mysterious pains out. Good Luck!!!!