Sore Ribs

Facts about Sore Ribs


Sore ribs can be one of the most uncomfortable injuries a person can have. The ribs are the skeletal protection for the chest cavity that contains the heart and the lungs. The rib bones and the rib muscles can expand or contract, enabling the chest to move during breathing. Sore ribs can be caused by an injury to these bones or muscles, or can occur from a disorder or infection of the entire area. Not only is this type of problem very painful when breathing, it also affects how the patient sleeps and eats. Essentially having sore ribs can put your entire life on hold until the pain goes away.


One of the most common causes of sore ribs is injury to the torso area of the body. The rib bones can be fractured or broken due to blunt injury or severe trauma. This type of injury is not only painful, but misaligned or protruding ribs may puncture a lung and lead to more serious problems. Sprains or strains of the muscles surround the ribcage may also cause a feeling of soreness. As you breathe and the ribcage and muscles surrounding it move in and out, pain can occur as either sharp sudden pains or a deep and dull soreness. Usually this type of pain is worse at night when the person is attempting to sleep. Treatments for sore ribs due to injuries to the torso may include over the counter anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce the swelling and pressure that injuries place on the ribs, and to help control the pain. Muscle creams may help soothe soreness from hurt muscles and some people find relief in a hot bath. Swelling, inflammation and pain may also be alleviated with ice compresses. Unless the injury is severe, there is usually no surgical or physical therapies that can help, treatments involve resting the body, controlling the pain and allowing the injured area to heal.


Extremely violent coughing can also contribute to soreness of the ribs, much in the same way that injuries can. The muscles, cartilage and bones of the ribcage can actually be seriously damaged by severe coughing; the rib bones can even be fractured from intense coughing. Cough suppressant medications and anti-inflammatory medications are often used to help treat the cause of the coughing and the sore ribs that can occur from it.


Other disorders can also create pain and soreness in of the ribcage. Pleurisy occurs when the membrane lining the lungs becomes inflamed. Breathing causes the person to feel a chest soreness that is very similar to what sore ribs feel like. Again the use of anti-inflammatory medications can help treat these symptoms. Sudden and extreme pain in the area of the rib cage may be a condition known as Costochondritis. This occurs when the cartilage that binds together the ribcage becomes inflamed. The affected area becomes sore and tender to the touch and the pain can occur very rapidly. Treatment for Costochondritis also includes anti-inflammatory medications. The cause of a disorder called Fibromyalgia is unknown, but the widespread chronic pain felt by patients suffering from this condition may feel this pain in the area of the ribs, as well as other parts of the body. Sometimes Fibromyalgia pain can be treated with anti-depressant medications with success.


Injuring the muscles, cartilage and bones that comprise the rib cage is very painful and takes some time to heal on its own. Pain associated with rib soreness should be differentiated from chest pains that may involve the heart. Confusing sore ribs with pain from an underlying heart condition can be fatal. Always check with a doctor if you are suffering from chest pains to rule out heart problems.