Rib Pain: What Do The Symptoms Mean

12th October, 2010 - Posted by health news - No Comments

Rib pain symptoms may signal a variety of possible disorders, conditions and diseases – some of which have nothing to do with the ribs themselves.

The goal of this article is to give you a list of some of the more common problems in the human body that cause rib pain symptoms.. We hope this information is useful, but remember – you should always consult your doctor about your rib pain symptoms to get an accurate diagnosis.

Rib pain symptoms caused by bone, joint and soft tissue problems will be first.

Rib injuries result more rib pain than any other cause. Such trauma is usually fairly easy to diagnose. When you have this type of rib pain, you usually know where it came from – a blow or impact during athletic competition or possibly an auto accident. Fractured ribs are usually easy to diagnose with X-rays or MRI technology.

Rib pain is, of course, the most obvious symptom of a broken rib. But someone with this type of rib injury may also have considerable difficulty breathing.

Sometimes injuries to the soft tissues surrounding the ribs can cause rib pain symptoms, even though the ribs themselves are not damaged. The ribcage is criss-crossed by a network of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Dame to any of these can feel like pain in the ribs. Soft tissue injuries are usually painful when touched, and may also cause some breathing difficulty. But generally speaking, they don’t cause the intense pain that broken or fractured ribs do.

Certain bone and joint-related disorders may sometimes cause rib pain symptoms, especially rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.

Several lesser known medical conditions are also characterized by rib pain symptoms.

A condition called osteochondritis dissecans occurs when there’s a reduced blood supply in areas where your ribs connect to your breastbone or your backbone. This condition is more likely to occur in older children and teenagers, particularly if they play sports.

Costochondritis is a somewhat similar condition. This condition results from cartilage inflammation in the area where the ribs and the breastbone are attached. Strain from trying to lift, push, or pull something that’s beyond your capability is one of the most common causes of costochondritis. Overuse or repetitive use of ribcage muscles can also be a factor, as can a blow or impact of some kind.

Sometimes problems that originate with the spinal column can cause rib pain symptoms. This is known as referred pain. You actually feel the discomfort in one place, but it originates somewhere else as is carried along nerve pathways to a different location. Typically, referred pain is caused by nerve damage to a disc or some part of the spinal column.

Rib pain symptoms can arise as a result of a variety of lung and respiratory disorders.

Pneumonia – This occurs when parasites, fungi, bacteria or viruses get inside the lungs and cause an infection. Breathing may become difficult and the strain can result in rib pain..

Pleurisy – The thin covering that protects and cushions the lungs is known as the pleura. It can become inflamed, and when it does, you can experience severe pain in the ribs.

Tuberculosis – This infectious disease used to kill hundreds of thousands of people worldwide every year. Although it’s now rare in modernized countries, it can still strike, causing rib pain as one of its many symptoms.

Chest pain from heart disease, or angina – In its milder forms, angina can be mistaken for rib pain.

Asbestosis and mesothelioma – which result from years of asbestos exposure – can both cause rib pain symptoms.

Rib pain symptoms are sometimes characteristic of certain types of cancer, especially lymphoma and myeloma.

Whooping cough – Rib pain occurs when this violent cough strains muscles and other soft tissue around the rib cage.

Shingles is an illness caused by the herpes zoster virus. It attacks the nerves and causes an extremely painful skin rash. This rash is sometimes preceded by rib pain and chest pain.

Finally, anxiety and stress that results in panic attacks may cause fast, deep breathing that puts stress on the ribs and ribcage. Such episodes can also lead to serious heart problems and even heart attacks.

Click on an explanation of rib pain symptoms and what causes rib pain for more. Neal Kennedy is a retired TV news anchor, medical reporter and radio talk show host. He is a frequent contributor to Rib Pain And You

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