Sore to touch rib cage

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My problem is at my left flank side I think the 10th last rib connected to your sternum, when I touch, press or rub the lowest part of the 10th rib (waistline).. it hurts like sharp pins and sore, inch in lenght and size, after a day my right flank develop the same but milder.

It doesn't hurt when breathing/deep breathing, eating, laughing, stretching or even sleeping on that side, when i'm not touching it, it feels burning or like something stuck in my ribs.

Does anyone know this or have the same experience???


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54 Replies

  • Posted

    I have this exact feeling in my ribcage everyday too. Went to hospital when I was very young due to this and they didn't have a clue what was going on.

    I can't lie on my stomach because it's too tender it's absolute agony to touch. My boyfriend can't even put his arms over me we are sleeping it's a nightmare.

    Always feels like something is stuck there when I lean to the side in a stretching position what feels like my ribs crack. Also feels like my hips are grinding together when I walk.

    I have a lot of other pain too (lower/upper back, ribs, hips & legs) Looking into seeing a rheumatologist to diagnose fibro.

    Hope you get something done about this. Horrible what people need to go through.

    Much love

    Victoria x

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    • Posted

      Thanks for replying Victoria and sorry you're going through the same thing, anyway yes my upper/mid/lower back hurts also, sometimes I get a quick sharp pain side of the spine, when I try to bend or slouch forward it hurts too.

      waking up in the morning It doesn't hurt much but my entire back feels stiff.

      I have had spine x ray, ECG, blood work, and ultrasound a month ago and everything came up normal, wasn't Dx of anything.

      I haven't done any heavy exercise just stretching, at first I was thinking maybe this could be intercostal muscle strain or maybe kidney related.

      Goodluck and take care I wish to hear from you soon.

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    • Posted

      Hi Victoria

      You're symtoms are similar to mine

      My symptoms just came on when I was just under a lot of stress.

      Are you still having these symptoms today?

      What has helped with the pain?

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  • Posted

    I have this too.  Just on my right side but it has been there for years now.  Had all sorts of tests but everything showing normal.  I have even had steroid injections.  As I type it's almost as if I can feel something there.  Like you, it is not painful most of the time and only when I rub it.  At first I thought it was to do with my gallbladder but this had been removed years ago.  My doctor is now saying it might be scar tissue from the op.

    Sorry this isn't much help but it seems there are people with the same affliction smile.  xx

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  • Posted

    Hi, yes I have the same pain in my ribs on the lower left side. I have been back and forth to dr's and hospital but still not sure what's causing it. sad

    Victoria - I feel like I could've wrote the exact same post as you. I can relate to everything you've said. I saw my physiotherapist again yesterday and she said she will contact the rheumatology department to see if they think I should be referred to them, I really hope they say yes. She said it's really difficult to get to see a rheumatologist though. She has also booked me in for an mri scan, quite nervous about that.

    I've had these symptoms for around 7/8 months now and still no wiser as to what it could be, my physio has assured me that she will get to the bottom of it for me so fingers crossed.

    I hope you all manage to get some answers, please keep me updated.

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  • Posted

    Hey all, Did you ever find a solid answer to any of this? I have very similar symptoms with a very "cracky" back. I have an MRI in a few days, and will be sure to report back here after.

    Do any of you deal with IBS and constipation?

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    • Posted

      Hi Justin,

      My MRI scan showed no abnormalities. I still suffer with the same pain in my ribs and back. I do have bouts of IBS.

      I was hoping to be refferred to a rheumatologist but my physiotherapist said she had contacted them and they didn't feel that they would be able to help.

      I'm feeling quite low at the minute, in pain most days and I'm only 25. sad

      Good luck with your MRI scan.

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    • Posted

      Hang in there, Lucy!

      I know (more than most) how health troubles or complications  can affect one's quality of life. The body works in complicated ways that truly no one understands fully. It can be dificult to find a good doctor that is patient with you and takes you seriously. Look around, talk to folks in the medical field or that have common interactions with practitioners, and try to find a doctor you like!

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    • Posted

      Yes, my dear,

      my pain started at 25 . I am in a very ripe age and the pain is still there. 

      For 30 years i was doing deep tisue masages. but now they make back pain even worse. In winter pain is more intense, ribs give me pain level 8.

      Find a VERY skillful acupuncturist. This is the only help I could find.

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  • Posted

    I too have been experiencing what you have listed.  Have you lifted and twisted at the same time anything of a sustantial weight.  Mine started ater lifting my sleeping child from across the bed (17kg).  With the twisting and lifting motion I felt a sharp pain under my left ribs from Sternum to bottom of 10th rib, which was the second time of doing the same action.  The first time was just a 'twinge' under the sternum. This radiates round my ribs and in to the back at times.  Also I have a milder ache on the right hand side, which I am putting down to compensating.  Slight stretching does relieve the pain for a short while.  I have been to the GP who said seems to be the Serratus Posterior Inferior Muscle that I have irritated and am starting pyhsio on 24th July.  I'll drop a note to all on this thread with results.

    I have attached a pic of the ribs as to where the most ache/pains are in ribs.  It also aches along the abdominal muscles.

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  • Posted


    Did you ever get to the bottom of this?

    I have a sharp pain on and if in the waist area of my right flank. I walked in to a door handle but this was over 5 months ago. I have very achey ribs on my right side-outer flank - and the whole area has spots which are tender to touch. I'm fed up with the pain and have had an ultrasound and a visit to a gastroenterologist consultant (no idea why) who took my history, squeezed my rib cage and said it was musculoskeletal and discharged me.

    The pain is starting to really get me down. Even elasticated waist leggings are aggravating the tender area. Some days are better than others but if I walk a lot or stand a lot it is back to square one. I'm also starting to worry something has been missed...

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  • Posted

    Hello everyone! I have the answer to all your questions. I had this pain too it would come and go! At least I would get it 3 or 4 times a year, each time for about 5 to 7 weeks.

    The reason:

    Simply your bed!

    1: The mattress of your bed should be changed try to chose a soft one. (Explanation): probably you are skinny, when you are sleeping on your sides much of your body weight is pushing on your lower rib cage ESPECIALLY if your pillow is a thick and high one. It puts much of your head weight on your body and it pushes down on your rib cage! I WOULD SUGGEST YOU CHANGE THE MATTRESS AND THE PILLOW. Get a lower pillow not too think.

    2: the pillow as I said above.

    3: holding another pillow while you sleep! I too feel more comfortable when I hug another pillow while I sleep. But the problem is you just put more weight on your lower rib cage. And I'm too skinny so let's say my the cover sheets are stuck between my rib cage and the mattress, that makes it horrible. 1: because my pillow is high so my head weight is been put down on my body, "lower rib", 2: because I'm sleeping on one side and the mattress is not soft so it's blocking the weight on my lower ribs, 3: when I hold a pillow i position my body in a way that more of my body weight is just resting on my lower rib side. 4: if the cover sheets for some reason are between my rib and the mattress it will act like little stones in between and gives more pain.

    4: and finally: AC

    If you have your air conditioning high, it helps to make the pain just worse. Because while the "unpermanent damage" is happening you are adding to it cold. Which makes it worse.

    What to do:

    - lower your aircondition and make the fan go not to your side.

    - Buy a softer mattress

    - but a lower pillow

    - try not to hug a pillow while you sleep at least until the pain is gone.

    - keep the place that hurts you warm.

    NOTE: If you change your pillow to a lower one though sometimes that's enough to transfer your head weight away from your body smile

    Hope I was useful. I never had this pain in a long time after I did those changes. Me too none of the doctors could figure out what's wrong until I did my own research and my own observation and figured these out myself. Now it's been more than 3 years where I had no such pain.

    Thank you


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  • Posted

    Hi Ladies!  I'm new to this forum but a very old hat at fibro.  What you're all describing is called chostro chondritis.  Yep, I have it too.  it's inflammation in the soft connective tissure between the ribs.  Personally, I believe 90% of my many & varied symptoms are related to if not directly caused by inflammation.  I had a total hysterectomy 25 years ago.  I gained 100 pounds in just under a year, lost alot of my hair along with my libido & worst of all, developed fibro symptoms.  It took years to get any sort of diagnosis.  Back then it was well after being told you were crazy that this garbage dump illness called fibromyalgia began to get some real attention.  Anyway, the first symptom I had was a very sore ribcage for no apparent reason.  Every night I'd ask my husband if he'd bumped me during the night.  I asked him to check me for bruises on my sides, for surely, there had to be marks on me to warrant this much pain.  But never was there anything visible.  Even the pressure of my bra was too much at times.  Many years later my chiropractor, of all people, told me about chostro chondritis.  It was such a relief to finally give this pain a name.  I knew I wasn't crazy & niether are you. I recently started taking 5 mg of melatonin at bedtime which has literally changed my life.  Among the many benefits I'm getting from it is no more pain in my ribcage. Its apparently alleviated most of my inflammation. I feel better than I have in over 20 years!  But I do know exactly what you're talking about.  Read up on chostro chondritis.  You'll recognize yourself in every word.  Hope this helps. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Dot

      When I first visited the GP with the rib cage soreness/tenderness/aching, her first thought was Chostro but my pain is down my flank/side. She said Chostro is more associated with the sternum and middle of the chest, so it was ruled out 😕

      I'm going back on Monday - this has been constant for 6 months now. Thank you for your suggestion though 💕

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    • Posted

      Hello my pain is on the lower left ribs in a particular spot, had it from Jan- June then it's just come back over Christmas, dr have diagnosed Costo and have had ct scan, bloods all clear, Costo does favour the left side which is where mine is, I hate it as it's so strange
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    • Posted

      Thank you for your post!!!! I had costochondritis for 4 months straight. I ended up in the Er because I thought I was having a heart attack. It was a terrible squeezing wrapping feeling. So painful. That was the start of the really intese fibro issues for me. I wish you well and it helps to know we're all in this together.

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