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Sporadic Rib Pain
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Sporadic Rib Pain

For the past couple of years, I have been having a problem where I occasionally get a stabbing, shooting pain in my front, lower to middle rib cage. It is not consistent as to which side (sometimes both) it is on, and it gets much worse if I take a deep breath during one of these occasions. Additionally, the severity of the pain varies greatly from a mild, almost cramp-like discomfort to extreme pain that causes me to curl up in a little ball and breathe as little as possible until it goes away. These episodes also vary in length.

I have not, to my knowledge, ever broken a rib, though I did slightly bruise one a few years ago by falling in a hole and landing on it.

Though I couldn't find any connections between my actions and the pain's onset for a long time, I've noticed that recently, this has often but not exclusively occurred during times when I am wearing something that constricts the movement of my ribs, even lightly or in an elastic way (such as a tight vest, a high belt or sash, or a costume for the stage which requires the use of a corset or tight bodice). In some cases, particularly if the pain was fairly mild, simply loosening any garments of this type is enough to cause the pain to recede within a minute or two, but at other times it doesn't seem to have any effect.

These incidents are not too common so as cause many difficulties in my everyday life, so I have not consulted a doctor about them specifically, but in the next two months, I will be in a stage show that will require me to be wearing a corset while singing, and I have been having difficulties with functioning properly in my rehersal costume. Is anyone familiar with this situation who can offer any advice and/ or suggestions to what might be causing the problem?

Thank you very much-
Liza
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4 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Dont wear corsets?
Seriously though. Could have a fractured rib that never set properly, and so when you put on a corset (or anything constricitng) it puts pressure on the rib(s) and causes pain. Get to a doctor and get it checked out. Better safe than sorry especially when dealing with your lungs and their protective casing!
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Avatar_m_tn
Just a guess but to me it sounds like you may have cracked ribs. I had 4 cracked ribs in 1995 and what you are writing about sounds very similar to my pain. My suggestion is to find an orthopedic doctor or go to the E R and get some x-rays. Good luck to you.
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Avatar_f_tn
I've had x-rays of my chest for other things, like pnuemonia (pneumonia) and a fall out of a tree, since I started having the problem, and cracked ribs have never come up before. Also, wearing constrictive clothing doesn't  always cause issues- sometimes, there is no reason for an episode, and sometimes I can wear a tight lacing, awful traditional corset with no problems. It's just not consistent, which is the problem.
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Avatar_m_tn
Should your problem continue you may consider asking your doctor if a CT scan would be of any help. When I had my cracked ribs the pain would come when even laying down in the bed. My first visit to the doctor and er did not reveal any cracked ribs until a 4th xray was taken. Not sure why or what the difference was in the xrays unless they read by a different radiologist. I know how mine were broken....fell off of a horse and hit a fence rail and bounced on the ground for a few times. I waited over a month before I had my first xray. Take care.  
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