Ribcage pain includes any pain or discomfort in the area of the ribs.
With a broken rib, the pain is worse when bending and twisting the body. This movement does not cause the pain in someone who has pleurisy (swelling of the lining of the lungs) or muscle spasms.
Ribcage pain may be caused by any of the following:
- Bruised, cracked, or fractured rib
- Inflammation of cartilage near the breastbone (costochondritis)
- Pleurisy (the pain is worse when breathing deeply)
Rest and not moving the area (immobilization) are the best cures for a ribcage fracture.
Follow your health care provider's instructions for treating the cause of ribcage pain.
Call for an appointment with your provider if you do not know the cause of the pain, or if it does not go away.
Your provider may perform a physical examination. You'll likely be asked about your symptoms, such as when the pain started, its location, the kind of pain you're having, and what makes it worse.
Tests that may be ordered include:
- Bone scan (if there is a known history of cancer or it is highly suspected)
- Chest x-ray
Your provider may prescribe treatment for your ribcage pain. Treatment depends on the cause.