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A year of dull rib pain

For about a year  now I have been having pain on the front left lower part of my rib cage. It's not to noticeable during the day, but when I lay down it's so uncomfortable I have trouble sleeping. It's a dull pain and it's coming from the bone - not muscle or my organs, but the actual rib cage. It's a little tender to the touch. At night my husband tries to "spoon" me but I can't even take the weight of his arm across my side. Over the last two or three years I have been having other weird bone pain. It used to be in my left upper arm bone. It would feel like the inside of my bone was hollow and achy. Then I started having a lot of pain in my right shoulder, which is still present. I'm not sure if any of that is relevant, but I figured that I would mention it. Also I have to wear a bra constantly while I'm awake. I don't have that large of breasts (C cup) but the weight of my breasts on my chest with no bra is very uncomfortable. If any one has any suggestions it would very much appreciated.
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Also I am 25 if that helps at all.
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I had severe pain beneath by lower left rib for nearly eight months. It also occasionally spread to areas on my right ribs and sternum – but only with intermittent pain in those areas. It is 98% gone now and only acts up occasionally after doing certain abdominal exercises. The pain felt visceral and hurt constantly, so I was convinced it was something severe (pancreatic cancer or something). The stress of thinking I had cancer kept me from sleeping, and the anti-inflammatories gave me a bit of an ulcer, so I started taking medication for that, which changed by bowel conditions, leading to IBS-like symptoms, causing more stress, and really sent me into a downward spiral with more medications, side effects from drugs, tests etc.

Ultimately, after a clean whole-body CT scan, and colonoscopy, I went to a pain specialist and had him inject cortisone into my intercostals tissue around my ribs. This made the pain worse for a week or so, but then it started getting much better. After the injections, the pain started to feel more “muscular” and less “visceral” as it had before the shots – and eventually went away altogether. From these results, and the doctor’s negative findings, I’ve concluded that I must have torn some deep abdominal wall tissue (probably while doing pull-ups or bar dips) and that this tissue was deep enough for the injury to manifest itself as visceral, rather than superficial, pain. In terms of the pain in other areas, this was likely a result of an inflammatory response (i.e. costochondritis) that stemmed from the initial injury.

If you have this problem, I suggest that you: 1) don’t freak out 2) do stop taking recently-added NON-ESSENTIAL medications and supplements for a couple of weeks to see if some of your “symptoms” are really side effects 3) go to a pain specialist and have them inject cortisone in the area where it hurts – if that helps, then it’s almost certainly an injury to your abdominal wall 4) I found that sleeping on my side allowed the injury to heal, while laying on my back stretched the injure tissue over my ribcage, making it worse 5) Keep (or start) exercising. Do abdominal exercises but with low intensity, but definitely stop if the pain increases. I found that swimming and aqua exercises in the pool were slightly painful, but very helpful for my recovery. 6) Improve your posture. Definitely don’t sit four hours with your torso canted to one side. I think this exacerbated my condition.
Avatar universal
I can't tell you how reasuring your post was.  I have been going through the exact thing you did.  My doctor would listen to me that it was my lower right ribs that hurt (leaning to the right, sitting slouched forward and sleeping on my right side were the only things that triggered the pain) and did blood tests, abdominal x-rays and abdominal ultrasounds.  All the tests gave me anxiety that has just about ruined my life, like you it caused trouble sleeping (in additional the anxiety created it's own symptoms and even more convinced me that I had cancer or something else that was really bad).

I finally got fed up when my lousy Dr  wanted me to go to a intestinal doctor for what I'm sure would have been another round of expensive tests.  I went on my own to see an orthopedic surgeon and he diagnosed, based on my ribs being sore to the touch and the pain being posture related that I had a slipped ribs and inflammation of the soft rib cartilage.  2 weeks of Ibuprofin, sleeping on the other side and watching my posture has about 80% of the pain gone.

Why don't doctors listen?!??!?!?!
Avatar universal
You are not alone! Hope you get to feeling better!!
Avatar universal
Wow u guys have the same exact problem as me omg thank you guys i been having this problem for a couple years now and went to doctor also and didnt to figure me thing out..I've been having enxienty bad lately as ive been thinking about it alot sore to touch, avoiding sleeping on my left side
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I am having the exact same problem. The most relatable is the arm pain. It usually comes after workouts and is very painful. And the chest pain is tender to the touch but otherwise unnoticeable. If you have received any help, do help me.
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way off the beaten track!, BC
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