Pain Under Left Rib

Do You Have Pain Under Your Left Rib?

There are several causes for having pain under your left rib. Because of the location of this type of pain, it is important to visit your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. It could be something very serious or even minor but you need to rule out all the possibilities. Many people who experience pain in this area go to emergency rooms, believing that they may be having a heart attack.



Any pain in or below the rib cage can involve not only the ribs but several other organs as well. The rib cage itself is designed to protect the heart and lungs. It has two important nerves which connect with the spine. Any cracked or broken rib can cause pain under your left rib. You will need x-rays or an MRI to see if you have a fractured rib or not.

Costochondritis, which is inflammation of the cartilage connecting the rib to the sternum (breastbone), can also cause pain under your left rib. This pain can be very bad and it can radiate into the chest and down the arms. Many people who experience this type of pain believe they are having a heart attack.

Your stomach is under your left rib cage. This means that there could be reasons for pain under your left rib which are related to heartburn as well as any number of gastrointestinal or bowel-related illnesses. You doctor will probably order blood tests and may even check your colon. An infection of the pancreas will also have to be ruled out.

Because there are so many possibilities for why there might be pain under your left rib, you may have to go through several different kinds of testing. Such pain can be caused by a kidney infection or kidney stones, your spleen or a hernia. Sometimes the pain is entirely musculoskeletal.

Be sure to tell the doctor you go to about any medications you are taking and if you have any history of pain in this area. They will also ask you if you have had any abdominal surgeries. Pain under your left rib is common after injuries or a blow to the chest such as might happen during a fight or an automobile accident. People who suffer from fibromyalgia can have tender spots in many areas, including in the cartilage leading to the breastbone.

Sometimes pain under your left rib can be a condition for which a cause is never found. Because of the nerves which run through this region, it is possible for your brain to send pain signals to a spot which is really far from the problem. Not only that, a compressed nerve in the spine can send pain to this and many other areas.

Women who are pregnant sometimes experience pain under either their left or right rib because of the pressure the weight of the baby puts on the entire abdominal region. The pain might be particularly bad when lying down and will most probably cause sleeplessness. If you are pregnant, tell your gynecologist about the pain as you might want to get a prescription so you can get some sleep and remain well-rested until the baby is born.

The treatment for a pain under your left rib will, of course, differ depending on what the cause might be. Unless it is a serious stomach problem, NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen will probably be advised. These reduce swelling and help relieve pain. Sometimes muscle relaxants or depression medications are used to help you relax and be able to sleep through the night.