Pain in ribs - the causes, nature, treatment

According to the nature of pain in ribs left side may resemble cardiac pain. Often to resolve the nature of the disease be able only a professional doctor.

Pain in the side can have a different character. It can be acute, piercing, and either permanent, aching, pulling. Might disturb the patient constantly, or occurs in certain situations (during physical exertion, at a certain position of the body, etc.).

Diagnosis causes and treatment of pain in the ribs deal, depending on the nature of the disease, the following doctors:

  • thoracic surgeon;
  • traumatologist;
  • therapist;
  • podiatrist;
  • neurologist.

Pathology directly in the ribs

Injuries to the ribs

pathology in the ribs

Pain in the ribs – a characteristic symptom of their injury. Most often they occur during a fall or impact.

The severity of painful sensations and other symptoms depends on the type of injury:

  1. When injury arises sharp, but not severe pain in the side of the right or left, depending on the type of injury, which then becomes sore, and then completely disappear. At the site of injury occurs swelling, a bruise, it hurts to the touch. According to the appearance of the patient and the severity of the pain, it is not always possible to determine exactly what is the place of bruised and without fractures. Helps to clarify the image of computed tomography.
  2. Fracture of the ribs – a more serious accident, which is accompanied by pain in the side of the in-breath and movement. At the site of injury arise sharp pain sensations that remain after a long time not strong enough, and can spread to the entire chest. We distinguish three types of fractures of the ribs:
  • crack – the most harmless kind of injury, when there is just a breakdown of the ribs;
  • subperiosteal fracture – breaks down on the side, but remains throughout the periosteum, which surrounds it - therefore, the pieces remain in place;
  • complete fracture of the ribs – itself is not too dangerous, but the sharp edges of the fragments are able to damage the lungs and other internal organs;
  • complicated rib fractures: multiple rib fractures, comminuted fractures – the most difficult type of injury, which leads to the formation of a very strong pain in the ribs, the shock conditions and various complications.

In addition to pain in the ribs, fractures may show the following symptoms:

  • pain sensations become stronger in the course of deep breathing, a call, a cough, sneezing, changes in body position, physical exertion;
  • sometimes the patient notes a violation of respiration and heart beat, his skin acquires a cyanotic hue;
  • if pieces of ribs, damage the lungs, occurs haemoptysis;
  • at full turn and bias to the thoracic wall at the site of injury is the robustness of.

The patient with acute severe pain in the side and suspicion on a fracture, it is necessary to add to the trauma center after, where they produce examination and carry out chest x-rays. In most cases, such treatment is prescribed by a tight bandage, which limits the respiratory movements, reduces pain and promotes faster healing. When damage to internal organs and fractures may be indicated by the surgery.

Malignant tumors

Among malignant bone tumors, which mainly affects the ribs, occur most commonly osteosarcoma. There are several types of this disease, they can occur virtually at any age.

Malignant tumors of the ribs may manifest the following symptoms:

  • long-lasting chronic pain in the ribs, which may be aching, pulling, sewing, lasting, or occur under certain conditions;
  • they are the typical night pain in the rib area, especially when the patient is lying in a certain position;
  • sometimes there is a swelling of a long time without any symptoms, and the pain starts to bother after a slight injury (which in this case is a factor that causes) - in this case, the patient often ascribes the emergence of painful feelings at the expense of the injury and the long time he has no idea that the place has a completely different diseases;
  • in the place where arise the pain, you can see the swelling, the robustness of, the feeling of the bumps, which corresponds to the tumor.

The basic principle of the diagnosis of malignant tumors of ribs – biopsy. In the world medical practice there is a rule: in this study should be made for all people, for which there is a suspicion of malignant neoplasms of the ribs.

Treatment of osteosarcoma is held in the oncology inpatient with respect for the general principles, as malignant tumors.

Osteoporosis of ribs

Osteoporosis – a disease that develops due to the reduction of the calcium content in the bone tissue, strengthening the processes of bone destruction and reduce its ability to recovery. This pathology may be accompanied by pain in the ribs. Osteoporosis most commonly is caused by aging of the organism, the exchange and endocrine disorders, inadequate intake in the gut of calcium and vitamin D.

A long time osteoporosis may have no symptoms. Ribs and other bones lose calcium, but yet retain sufficient strength.

But then there are pains that usually have the following origin:

  • pain in the side and in the back arise from the fact that in the bone tissue of the ribs and the vertebral arises a large number of microscopic fractures, occurs in irritation of the periosteum, and in it, as is known, there is a large amount of nerve endings;
  • sudden severe back pain due to compression of the vertebrae;
  • acute severe pain in the chest may be associated with broken ribs: it is the so-called pathological fractures, which may occur when the minimum load as a result, the bone becomes more fragile;
  • patients with osteoporosis have disorders of posture, and sometimes it is very expressed deformation of the spine and chest, their growth may be reduced up to 10 – 15 cm

Most often the feelings of pain very strong, will cause the patient suffering expressed. Suffer from the performance, reduces the quality of life, sleep is disturbed, there is depression.

The cause of the pain in the side is determined after examination and perform x-rays. Treatment is carried out in the hospital, and then at home, with the use of the relevant medical drugs.

Which doctor to turn to when the pain in the ribs?

which doctor to turn to when the pain in the ribs

Pain in the side can be caused by various conditions and diseases that diagnosed and treated by doctors of different specialties. Respectively, when the pain in the ribs it is necessary to turn to doctors of different specialties, in the range of professional competence which is included diagnosis and treatment of disease. To understand what this is the reason a doctor to contact in case of pain in the ribs, help the accompanying symptoms and character of pain.

If the pain in the ribs are present for a long time, the pain are in the nature of pulling, aching or piercing, are usually present constantly, worse, or occur at night in a certain pose, maybe she has a swelling or robustness of in some point of the chest, shortness of breath, pain mixes with the deterioration of the overall well-being, then it is indicative of the presence of a malignant tumor, and therefore requires treatment of a doctor-oncologist (write).

If a man tormented by frequent pains in the bones (ribs, sternum, bones of the pelvis, etc.), unreasonable deterioration of the posture, reduces growth, and also the inability to allow some of the twists and turns of the torso in due to the nascent very strong pain in the back, then the doctor will suggest osteoporosis, and in such case it is necessary, first of all, go to a podiatrist. If, in addition to osteoporosis, a person suffering from any endocrine diseases (e.g. obesity, diabetes mellitus, pathology of thyroid gland), in addition to the trauma surgeon-orthopaedist, at the same time it is necessary to turn to the doctor-endocrinologist (to write). If on the background of osteoporosis in humans there were problems with the joints, then it is necessary to treat at the same time to the doctor podiatrist and a rheumatologist (to write).

What tests and examinations, the doctor may prescribe the pain in the ribs?

Because pain in the ribs provoke various diseases and conditions, doctors prescribe various tests and examinations during this symptom, necessary to identify the disease. The choice of the necessary diagnostic tests are carried out on the basis of the accompanying pain in ribs symptoms that will allow doctors to suggest what kind of disease causes painful. Further, for the verification of its assumptions, the doctor prescribes tests and instrumental examination. It is therefore evident that the particular file and a list of analyses and surveys of the pain in the ribs in any specifically the case of a defined service symptomatology.

When the pain in the side will appear after the traumatic effects on the rib cage (punch, bruising, strong compression, etc.), and when it is manifested in one particular point or an overflow on the entire breast, are amplified during inhalation, exhalation, sneezing, cough, change in body position, physical burden, it is possible to combine with the bruise, the doctor assumes bone damage, and may prescribe the following tests and examinations:

  • General analysis of blood;
  • Chest x-ray (write);
  • Computer or magnetic resonance imaging of the chest (to write).

In practice it is usually prescribed only a general analysis of blood and chest x-ray, as these surveys are simple in execution, available in every hospital and clinic and make it possible to detect damage to the ribs (crack, fracture, etc.), in the vast majority of cases. And computer or magnetic resonance imaging appointed only in the case of the uncertain character of the damage and the activation of the damage to the soft tissues.

Upon the occurrence of a sudden, sharp pain in the edges, or behind the breastbone, which is increasing with time, became very strong and hard to carry, they are able to spread to shoulder, neck and under the blade, combined with the swelling in the area of connection of the ribs and sternum, the doctor suspects the syndrome of Tietze and assigns the following tests and examinations:

  • General analysis of blood;
  • Biochemical analysis of blood;
  • ULTRASOUND of the chest;
  • Chest x-ray;
  • Magnetic resonance imaging;
  • Computed tomography;
  • Scintigraphy;
  • Biopsy (to write).

As usual, when the syndrome of Tietze's physician is limited to appointment only the general and biochemical analysis of blood and also ULTRASOUND examination and diagnosis of building on the basis of characteristic clinical symptoms. However, if it is in a medical facility available technical options, it is also assigned to a computed or magnetic resonance imaging, which will allow, firstly, confirmation of the diagnosis, and secondly, check immediately whether the bones on the theme of the presence of malignant tumors.

If the doctor suspects that the man may be a tumor in the bones, and not the syndrome of Tietze's, then necessarily appointed by an x-ray or computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging, or scintigraphy.

Chest radiograph in the absence of the suspected tumor is usually appointed only in case, if from the beginning of the disease it's been 2 – 3 months or more, as in the earlier stages of the development of the disease this study will not provide information, and therefore is useless. However, if the doctor has a suspicion that a man may be a syndrome of Tietze and malignant tumor of the bone, chest x-ray is assigned to a mandatory, as it tests helps to distinguish tumors and inflammation of the rib cartilage.

Biopsy of the extrusion is assigned only in case, if according to the results of x-ray, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging or scintigraphy revealed a tumor. In this case, the extrusion using a long needle to take away a small amount of tissue and examining them under a microscope. Depending on the type of cancer cells detectable, highlighted type of cancer and solves a question on tactics of treatment.

When the pain in my ribs last long, not fade away, and only gradually grow bigger with time, have the character of a sore or body piercing, may be amplified at night in a certain position, it is possible to combine with the swelling or the robustness of at some part of the chest, the pompous, the deterioration of the overall well-being, the doctor has a suspicion of malignant tumor of the bone, the ribs and assigns the following tests and examinations:

  • General analysis of blood;
  • Biochemical analysis of blood;
  • Coagulogram (indicators for blood clotting) (registration);
  • Chest x-ray;
  • Magnetic or computed tomography;
  • Scintigraphy of the ribs;
  • A biopsy of the suspicious tissue revealed growths with the subsequent histological research.



When most of the disease, which manifest themselves in the form of pain in the ribs, apply symptomatic therapy, which includes pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs. In parallel, the attending physician prescribes the means which help to cope with the main cause of the disease. Before use it is necessary to consult with an expert.