Pain in the Lower Rib Cage

by Ed

Many people get aches and pains or a feeling of fullness in the lower rib cage. Often they have no obvious organic cause and Western Medicine does not treat them. Even more often the symptoms are so vague that people don’t bother to tell their doctors about it.

Traditional Chinese Medicine recognises several conditions that could produce those symptoms. In fact they are often early warning signs which, if treated, can save a person from developing a more severe condition. If you have an intense pain that is localized on one side of the rib cage, you should see a doctor about it. If you have more vague pain on both sides of the rib cage, then try the tips at the end of this post or see your acupuncturist.

In Chinese Medicine, when we talk about the internal organs we are talking about more than the anatomical/ physiological organs as Western Medicine understands them. We are talking about their energetic functions along the entire course of the meridian they are associated with. Each organ is also associated with an emotion or complex of emotions, a body tissue, and a sense organ. The liver is associated with the lower rib cage. It is also associated with anger, frustration, stress, and suppression of emotions. It has to do with the free flowing quality in everything in our lives. Vague pain in the lower rib cage usually is a result of the liver energy becoming stagnant. This frequently leads to indigestion and gassiness as well.

I have three favorite ways of returning the liver to its natural free flowing state:

  • The Inner Smile I have described this one in an earlier post, here.

  • The Seven Shakes This is a good one to do in groups. If you are in a meeting or teaching a class and everyone is losing focus and looking sleepy get them up and do the seven shakes. Stand up and shake your right arm seven times, counting out loud. Then shake your left arm, right leg, and left leg seven times each. Then shake them 6 times, 5 times, etc., down to one time. Finish by jumping into a karate stance, or any stance you like and shout Ha!

  • Qi Gong: Liver Healing Sound Stand with your feet about shoulder width and parallel. As you inhale raise your hands into the air as if you were embracing th sky. Holding your breath, bring your arms down until the elbows are pressing your ribs cage and your palms are facing your face. Close your hands into fists and lean over as if you were skiing and exhale with the sound shhh. Repeat three to seven times.

Doing each of these exercises every day will certainly lower your stress and increase your energy. If your rib cage pain is due to simple liver energy congestion, it should relieve that as well. Have fun and keep moving.

Update: I am no longer accepting comments on this post. It is not reasonable for me to try to guess what your particular problem might be.


1 Megan Ferg 03.05.08 at 11:24 am

I have pain in my lower rib cage on my left side. it sounds to me that when you speak of cures your talking about just pain coming and going, mine just seems to stay do you think that I just pulled a muscle or is it bigger than that? please help! I don’t want to look stupid if I go to the docter and I’m perfectly fine. Signed, Help!

2 Ed 03.05.08 at 11:34 am

Continuous pain of any sort needs to be checked out. If it is intense I would have it checked immediately.

Do certain movements make the pain worse. If stretching your left arm over your head makes it worse, it could just be a muscular problem. If it feels better after trying the techniques I mentioned, you probably don’t need to worry about it.

If you think it might be a muscular problem go see a massage therapist or acupuncturist, first. They can tell you if you need to see a doctor. If it does not go away at all after two weeks, I would see a doctor.

3 fergi 03.12.08 at 10:10 am

thank you very much for helping me. The pain went away. It asted for a whole day. I don’t know what it was but it’s gone now. Should I still get it checked or let it go?


4 Ed 03.12.08 at 10:18 am

If you had pain for one day and it is gone, I would not worry about it. If it comes back it may be a good idea to get it checked out. As I mentioned in the last comment, it is helpful to know what made the pain feel worse.

5 fergi 03.13.08 at 10:18 am

ok will do thank you for the advice it really helped!

6 Sam 05.10.08 at 3:23 pm

I am experiencing pain randomly about every month or two, in my lower left rib cage. I can pinpoint the pain. It occurs when I am walking in a retail, or grocery store. The pain feels like my rib cage is being strecthed apart, or clamped extremely hard. I have been ignoring this pain for a year now, because it comes and goes. It only lasts for about 3 hours…until I get home and lay down, then it is gone. About another month, it comes back. There are times when it is really hard to breath, the pain is so intense. I am 36 male with type 2 diabetes. I am one who handles pain extremely well, but this is getting to be a concern for me. I feel that it is just a muscle pain, but do the ribs have muscles?


7 Ed 05.10.08 at 4:34 pm


I would have your doctor check it out. The intensity of the pain and the fact that you are diabetic makes me want to err on the side of caution. If the doctor does not find anything significant, try my suggestions or see an acupuncturist.

8 Nik 09.29.08 at 12:59 pm

I think i just have a sensation of pointing or very mild pain
at lower right and left of my rib cage, some times i feel it can be pointed some time i feel like my ribs are touching my skin, some times it is on one side and some times i feel on both but again it is not pain it is just a sensation, i dont have any medical history

Any idea what it could be.


9 Ed 09.29.08 at 1:30 pm

Hi Nik,
What you are describing sounds like it fits in the category of qi stagnation, which is what I am talking about in this post. Try my recommendations and let me know how it goes.


10 Nik 09.30.08 at 9:55 am

Thanks Ed!

I will try these, one more question i have is that can this slight sensation of pain be any where in lower rib or abdomen and also it is not loaclized, sometimes on left some times on right . I hope this is not something serious.


11 Nik 09.30.08 at 10:10 am

Ed, also forgot to mention sometimes in centre abdomen i feel like something is contracting. Is it all same and inter-related to what you said above.

12 Ed 09.30.08 at 10:24 am

Hi Nik,

If the pain is vague and it comes and goes, that is a good sign. If it is anywhere in the lower rib cage or abdomen, it fits within what I am describing in this post. If after a week or two of following my suggestions, there is no improvement, I suggest you seek out an acupuncturist, or perhaps a doctor.

13 Nik 09.30.08 at 10:56 am

Thanks Ed,

I will try the three steps which described above for next couple of weeks, also on precautionary note I have taken an appointment after 2 weeks .

Is there is some thing to do with the diet, i generally eat one meal outside (which i cant avoid, but generall soup, salad and many time cola drink), is i have to be controlling anything, any suggestion.


14 Mayra 11.10.08 at 12:45 pm

Dear Ed,

My pain started about three days ago. It hurts the most when I go to sleep. Its like a muscle, or rib pain, in the lower part of the ribcage, left side. It also hurts when I sit down. When I walk, the pain is less. What can it be. I am more aware of it, since I was diagnosed with diverticulatis about 6 months ago.

Thank you.

15 Jade 12.10.08 at 7:08 am

i have a pain in my lower inner left side on my ribs. it hurts when i move positions , in the process or getting up or sitting down or coughing ect. It does not hurt when i breath deeply. There is no pain underneath the rib or in my stomach area. I’ve had this pain for about a week now. I remember having this pain in the past; it always seems to come and go. never thought anything about it but this time its more severe. Any ideas for me? Do you think this is serious enough to go see a doctor?

16 Ed 12.16.08 at 9:14 am

Mayra and Jade, I suggest you both see someone about your pain. Mayra because of your diverticulitis, and Jade because it is a returning pain that is worse than before. An acupuncturist would be my first choice for both of you. Mayra, you may also want to see a Naturopathic doctor as well as your regular doctor.

17 kat 01.28.09 at 1:27 am

Hi Ed,
I have a vague pain which can be in my lower left ribs or on the left side of my abdomen across from my belly button. It isn’t really painful, more a vague feeling that all is not right. Its been on and off for a few weeks & no type of movement seems to set it off or make it worse. Do the above suggestions fit my bill?
Thanks, Kat

18 Ed 01.28.09 at 8:28 am

Hi Kat, I would definitely try these suggestions to start with, if I were you. You may also find abdominal self-massage helpful. Check out these instructions: abdominal self-massage.

19 kayla 02.26.09 at 10:23 am

hey ed
Well mine is a little diffrent then everyone eles i only have pain on and off and it is usually at night when i am laying down i cant lay on my back but when i lay on my side it hurt too so it is very uncomfertable at night its been about 2 weeks now and i ddont know if i should go to the doctors or not i also have stomach pain with it any suggestions???

20 Ed 02.26.09 at 11:05 am

Hi Kayla,
If it is only troubling you when you are laying down, and especially if you also get stomach pain, it is probably a digestive problem. I would get it checked out by a doctor. If there is nothing serious, try my suggestions. Try them any way, they should help.

21 kayla 02.26.09 at 7:01 pm

thanks so much Ed it is very kind of u to share your knowlage with everyone eles thank you for the advice i will make an appt. as soon as posible thanks agian

22 lisa 03.03.09 at 9:02 am

my mom has been having sharp pains under her ribs. she says it feels like someone put a large belt around her stomach and is making it really tight. shes been having this for about 2 days. she says it makes her feel really weak and the pain goes all the way around her stomach to her back. is was hoping you could help me and my mom out and tell us what we should do.

23 Ed 03.03.09 at 9:58 am

In This case, I would get a diagnosis from a doctor right away.


24 helen 04.04.09 at 10:07 am

I have been suffering with a pain in my left side but at the back , it seems to have staeted when I had a virus that lasted a long time, the pain is worse when I stand for long periods of time and then eases when I rest. When I wake in the morning its not there then as the day goes on it gets worse. please help

25 Ed 04.04.09 at 10:19 am

Hi Helen,
For any pain that seems to be residual from a virus, I highly recommend acupuncture. Chinese medicine believes that it is very important to completely recover from an infectious disease. Any symptoms that don’t resolve by themselves need to be treated, to avoid lifelong problems.

26 Stacy 04.19.09 at 8:04 pm

I have been waking up with pain in my rib cage…(lower rib cage) for quite sometime now. It use to go away not too long after I got out of bed, and got going. My husband & I even bought a new high dollar bed thinking that would help. It got better for a very short time, but came back. Only now, it’s all day. It doesn’t seem to go away as I get up and moving around. Any thoughts? It’s not an unbearable pain, but it’s definitely noticable, and concerning. It’s an achey feeling….?

27 Ed 04.20.09 at 7:50 am

Hi Stacy,
My guess is that you have a postural problem. I would look for an Egoscue method therapist, an acupuncturist who understands structural imbalances, an osteopath or a chiropractor. If you want to check out Egoscue exercises on your own, buy Pain Free, and try the set on page 130. Of course, without a thorough evaluation, that is only a guess.

28 Isabelle 04.20.09 at 7:26 pm

I randomly have sudden intense abdominal pain, mostly on the left under my ribcage spreading to the right. It is very painfull, i cannot take in deep breaths as it makes the pain worse. The pain/ache then slowly fades within a few minutes. Besides that, I am a healthy 20 yr. old/female with a consern as theses symptoms reapear more requently.

29 Ed 04.21.09 at 7:16 am

Hi Isabelle,
You don’t say how often you are getting these symptoms, but in any case, it sounds bad enough to have it checked out. I would see a doctor or acupuncturist as soon as you can.


30 JP 05.18.09 at 8:04 am

Hey ED….if i sit down for even 5 minutes my whole back & lower back, ribs, starts to hurt so much and cant sit for to long….and if i sleep over 5 hours my whole body starts to hurt and feel like burning……… o_O

31 Ed 05.20.09 at 8:05 am

Hi JP,
That does not sound very comfortable at all. It also sounds like something you should have checked out. I would see a doctor and/or acupuncturist, to treat that.

32 sami 05.22.09 at 5:53 pm

i have a sharp stabbing pain on my left lower rib cage. ive had it for nearly 3 years and it comes and goes. when i get it is extremly painful and i have to try and walk it out. sometimes i get real light headed and feel that i have to sit down or ill pass out. im a 17 year old girl and ive had it since i was 15. it feels like the pain is in the bone of the rib. thankyou sami.

33 Ed 05.23.09 at 5:20 pm

Hi Sami,
That definitely sounds like a problem that requires attention. If you have already seen your doctor about it, go see an acupuncturist. As a teenage woman, with those kind of symptoms, Traditional Chinese Medicine will make a big difference in your well being, for the rest of your life.

34 John Dow 05.24.09 at 8:45 am

I fell against somthing sharp in my lower left back a few days ago.
There is intence pain between my left hip and the lower floating rib.
It seems to be improving.

35 John Dow 05.24.09 at 8:51 am

I fell the other day and hit my lower left back side of my lower rib cage between the last or floating rib and my hip. It is very painful espically
to walk, also painful to touch

36 Ed 05.25.09 at 7:41 am

Hello John,
That kind of injury should clear up, on its own. However, Chinese medicine can speed up and ensure complete recovery.

37 Tim 06.17.09 at 4:35 am

Hi Ed,
I have vague discomfort in my lower rib cage for about 6 month and went thru a lot of blood test and any possible scans and nothing my doctors found that could cause that. It’s not localyzed and I don’t event know what to think. Really disturbing thing. I am 36 years old and this effecting on quality of my life. Dull discomfort is on both sides of lower rib cage (going 2-3 ribs up) and sometimes in the middle. Please help me to understand what it is. Thank you, Tim.

38 Ed 06.17.09 at 7:33 am

Hi Tim,
If all medical tests come up negative, I would definitely try the tips in this post. Do them regularly for two weeks and see how you feel. I would also consider going to an acupuncturist. They will find the underlying imbalance that is leading to these symptoms.

39 Tim 06.17.09 at 2:52 pm

Thank you Ed, Can liver cause this on right and left side as well? Also, is there any technique to find good acupuncurer? As far as I undertand they are not all good, Am I correct?

40 Ed 06.17.09 at 3:05 pm

A disruption in the energy system associated with the Liver can cause pain on both sides, but it is unlikely that a problem with the liver itself would.

As with any health practitioner, the best thing is to get a recommendation from someone you trust. You may also try contacting one of the state acupuncture associations.

41 Shavonne 07.06.09 at 1:33 am

i have pain at the lower left and right of my lung ,which is the ribs i supposed. its more on the lower left and i have been having short episodes of it for half a year since i had a lower left lobe pneunomia. Doctors that i have approached ignored me on this problem. I am wondering what is actually wrong. do advise me .

42 Ed 07.06.09 at 2:49 pm

Hi Shavonne,
It is difficult when we “recover” from a major illness, and our doctors ignore our lingering symptoms. In Chinese medicine lingering symptoms are taken very seriously. They are seen as a sign that the disease has not been driven completely from the body, and that we are still in a weakened state, susceptible to catching other diseases. I suggest you find an acupuncturist or a naturopath to continue your healing process.

43 Shavonne 07.07.09 at 1:16 am

thanks a lot on that. But i was wondering , why have i not recovered from the pneunomia for half a year already and I am only fifteen.
I am kinda of confused but ….from what i understand from you now, there is a high chance that my pain is related to my previous lung problems right?

Thank you .

44 Ed 07.07.09 at 6:39 am

Only fifteen? That is a surprise. It is very possible that it is related. Also it could be a muscular problem that is related to the illness. If your breathing muscles were constricted a lot during the illness, they may not have gotten over that. Sometimes muscles forget how to go back to normal. Often chronically tense muscles will develop trigger points, which can be very painful, as well as cause pain nearby. In any case it is unusual for someone your age to take such a long time to recover.

If it is a muscular problem and you don’t like the idea of acupuncture, a good massage therapist should be able to help.

45 Shavonne 07.08.09 at 5:04 am

Thanks Ed. I will check all that out and hopefully, its not something bad or serious.

46 Kaylee 07.29.09 at 6:20 pm

I get this pain in like the center lower part of the rib cage and sometimes it moves to the right. But it generly only happens at night..
What should i do?

47 Ed 07.30.09 at 7:39 am

Hi Kaylee,

If you eat a meal shortly before bed time, it can cause that problem. Also any tension late in the evening could cause it. Try the exercises I suggested for a week and see how it goes. It could also be acid reflux that only bothers you when you are horizontal. If you are still bothered by it, see a naturapath or an acupuncturist.

48 Tama 08.06.09 at 3:35 am

Kia ora Ed

I’ve read over a few of these, and im having the same problem, and you probably will say the same thing and that is do the exercises, however i tried them and it hasn’t work. I’ve had pain in both sides first developing below my ribs, and now it seems to be localised to my right side in between the bottom 2 or 3 ribs, when i push in on it, it feels good, however when i release it, it feels sore again. It can last up to 20 minutes, then go away for a few days. Theres no set time it happens or set position, it just happens randomly. ITs quite uncomfortable, do you have any suggestions?

49 Ed 08.06.09 at 8:41 am

Well my next advice, of course, is to see an acupuncturist. However, I’ll give you some suggestions. Press with your fingers between the bones on top of your foot. You should find one or two sensitive spots, probably between the first two toes or the third and fourth. If they are sore on both feet, hold both sides together for about two minutes. If only one foot is sore hold two points on the same foot. Press into the space between the inside edge of the shin bone and the calf muscle, with your thumb. Go down the whole length of the shin bone, holding each point for a second or two. Rub your palms together to make them warm, then rest them on your lower rib cage. As you inhale get a sense of how the area is. If you are visual, visualize it. Otherwise just feel it. As you exhale, imagine sending warm energy from your palms into your ribcage. Do that for about five minutes. Do all of those things once a day, for two weeks, then let me know how you are doing.

50 ester abuel 09.20.09 at 9:51 pm

yr. 2006 i was diagnosed with costochondritis. the pain in my left ribs comes and goes..yr. 2007 i was checked with my blood, got ecg, lung xray exam and all normal etc.. 2008 i got the pancreas, liver, gall bladder and so is my kidney and its all normal. btw, i hv this heart exam 3x a yr from 2006 till 2008 bec. im going hypochondriac because of the pain. i am 47 yrs. old and into peri-menopausal stage. i hv this ibs/constipation thing in my system. my mom sez…if i hv serious disease of any sort..ill be dead by now. bec. its almost 4 yrs that im like this. the rib cage pain comes and goes and its all the ribs…i can feel it because whenever i pressed the ribs it hurts..even my collar bone hurts, my shoulder blade hurts and so is the left shoulder back w/c sometimes my left arm bones is painful. i can feel the pain whenever i presses my arm bones. what could this be?

51 ester abuel 09.20.09 at 9:56 pm

the constipation is hitting me badly. im drinking prune juice, soya choc. milk, eating fishes, im not so keen in eating meats. pls. help

52 Ed 09.21.09 at 6:31 am

Hi Ester, I would suggest you see an acupuncturist. Acupuncture is very good for both IBS and costochondritis.

53 Sam 09.29.09 at 3:35 am

I am 32 yrs old male. Just started a new pain 2 weeks ago. Pain occurs when I am sitting down on couch and little lean forward or right side. The pain is in the lower back of right side rib. The pain heals back when I lean to left side for little bit otherwise the pain keeps on until I stand up or lean back. Any suggestions and informations are very welcome;;on what is it the symptoms for and what should I do for treatment ??

54 Ed 10.01.09 at 3:00 pm

Hi Sam,
Sounds like a pulled muscle. I would try massage or acupuncture for that.

55 Jessica 10.19.09 at 5:13 pm

hey my ribs are really sore
I’m 37 weeks pregnant
and I can’t eat cause It’s really hard for me to breath
I no the baby has no room left at this point therefore it is normal for baby to be near the ribs
but I’m struggling to breath and I’m worried
I alos can’t sleep

56 Ed 10.19.09 at 5:33 pm

Hi Jessica,
This is an issue that I don’t have an answer for. I would suggest talking to a midwife or your doctor about it. I wish you the best, and hope you have a heappy, healthy baby.

57 susie jean 10.21.09 at 5:16 am

6months ago i went to breast clinic, as ive had alot of chronic breast and rib pain , doctor says its post menopausal i also have fibrocystic decease (breast cysts)) but it settled down for a time , well bearable, but now its back and really pains me , not due to see him again till jan , do you think it is menopausal?

58 Ed 10.22.09 at 7:48 am

Hi Susie Jean,

I am sorry, but that is too difficult to determine from a distance. I suggest you see an acupuncturist and/or your doctor about it.


59 jordan white 10.24.09 at 7:39 pm

As i was laying in bed i relized that i have a sharp pain in my left i inner ribs and im having trouble breathing and sitting up and im only 12 so its unusual for a younger person to have this prob but i have active asma and sometimes mucel spazems is there any thing wrong with me? if there is will any thing help!!!!!

60 Shavonne 11.08.09 at 11:35 pm

Hey ed,
When I went to my GP the other day, he suggested that my pain in the lower rib cage had something to do with my lung membrane. He didn’t really tell me much cause I was there due to a cold. What does my lung membrane has to do with the pain?

refer to my posts in july . Thanks!!!!!

61 Ed 11.09.09 at 8:49 am

Hi Shavonne,

It sounds like your doctor is referring to pleurisy, which is inflammation of the pleura, or membranes surrounding the lungs. Because the pleura are close to the ribs, it can feel like rib pain. Pneumonia can lead to pleurisy. Sometimes it clears up on its own, but sometimes it causes scarring of the pleura, which can lead to chronic pain. I don’t know if Western Medicine effectively treats chronic pleural problems. A competent practitioner of Chinese Herbology should be able to help. I believe Western Herbology also can help. I would try to get a definite diagnosis from the Doctor before deciding what to do next.

Good luck!

62 Elyse 11.14.09 at 7:26 pm


I am a 15 year old teenage girl, very active in soccer girl. For the past couple of months sometimes I have been having a pain in my lower left rib cage. Its most of the time not a horrible sharp pain but more like something in side me or my skin feels like it is streched against my rib cage. And to stop it from hurting I have to put a fist under my rib cage. It is really quite bothersome, but not unberable. Some times it gets pretty painful. I have been reading up a lot on it and I have find that I have what other people explain. I have really bad posture, and frequently lower back pain. Alot of people talk about going to a doctor, but I would rathe not cos tmy family a lot of money if its nothing. Do you have any suggestions on what this might be?


63 Ed 11.15.09 at 9:02 am

Hi Elyse,
You almost certainly have a strained muscle in the rib cage. Massage or acupuncture will help. Eventually, it should go away on its own, although if, as you suspect, it is related to poor posture, it could take a while. I suggest you buy the book, Pain Free, and do the exercises for the back.
To really correct the problem, you’d want to see an Egoscue practitioner. The next best thing would be to buy the Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion, and follow the exercises for your body type.

64 sheridan 11.25.09 at 2:08 pm

i fractured my left ribs before and when the doctor felt it he had said the bone and the cartilage had seperated. and now its coming back it makes me feel like im going to vomit. its awful. i was up one night crying because the pain was soooo intense.

btw i fractured my rib sover 2 years ago

65 sheridan 11.25.09 at 2:11 pm

and i get awful back pain.
could this all be related?
im 14.

66 Ed 11.25.09 at 4:00 pm

Hi Sheridan,

It is possible that it is all related. I am surprised that it would come back after 2 years. I would definitely get it checked out. An Osteopath would be my first choice. If you can’t find one, then an acupuncturist or a chiropractor. You probably have something out of alignment.

67 David 12.02.09 at 6:15 pm

i woke up the other morning and had a very dull pain on my left side below the ribs it only bothers me when im standing or lean into it, sitting is fine…is this a pulled muscle, i feel fine, and going to the bathroom regulary and have no decreased appetite

68 Ed 12.03.09 at 10:41 am

Hi David. It sounds like a pulled muscle. It should get better in a few days. If it doesn’t or if it is getting worse, see your doctor or acupuncturist. Massage or acupuncture will speed the recovery.

69 Rachel 12.10.09 at 7:42 pm

I have pain in my left rib whenever I stand up for too long. I remember at my sister wedding 10 yrs ago ( yes I have this now for a while) i was standing for a long time during the ceremony i felt pressure on my left rib….it makes me jalt and have to stretch to kind of calm it down….It happened to me today while i was shopping all day. It always occurs when I’m standing for a long period of time. It feels very awkward. Any auggestions?

70 Ed 12.11.09 at 9:28 am

Hi Rachel
For that kind of muscular pain to stick around for so long, you probably have a structural imbalance. It is possible, however, that you have chronic trigger points causing it. I would get your alignment checked by a practitioner of Egoscue Method, a chiropractor, or an acupuncturist who specializes in structural alignment. If you are well aligned, a good massage therapist should be able to iron out those knots.

71 Rachel 12.11.09 at 2:58 pm

I forgot to mention that when i wear a waste belt or a top that ties or is tight around my waist ( where my upper ribbs are) the pain comes back….Thats what happened to me today. I’ve been in pain since around 2 p.m and its 6 p.m now….

72 Kirsten 12.17.09 at 3:31 pm

For six weeks I have had lower left rib pain. It started during a bout of vomiting when I felt a sharp pain mid way through getting sick and it stuck around a bit. It felt like a sharp pain/muscle spasm. Since then it is about 80% better and yet I still has some muscle tension/spasming as well as a sore/tender spot on the lower most rib itself. I also feel like it may be a bit out of joint (if thats at all possible) compared to the other ribs on my front left side. It feels to stick out slightly further. In addition, I had been dealing with a mild bout of costochrondritis after doing a bit too heavy of weight lifting two weeks before the vomiting. The costo was at my sternum on the left side by my breast bone. That seems to have completely resolved itself, but I am worrying about this lower rib pain. I tend to have a lot of health anxiety so I automatically think the worst. :(

73 Ed 12.18.09 at 8:34 am

Hi Kirsten
You probably just pulled a muscle. Although, if it feels like a rib is “out” it may well be. That is an easy fix for a chiropractor or osteopath. The sooner you get it fixed the better. Massage or acupuncture will help with the pulled muscle, as will my suggestions in this post.

74 Todd 01.23.10 at 9:03 am


I have had a pain in my lower right back about three inches below my rib cage. It is also sore on my right side. It’s like an aching burning sensation. When i press on my hip bone and hold it it feels good and the pain goes away until I let go.
My wife was pressing on my back on the right where it hurts and can feel a bulge or an inflammed muscle. It feels sooooo good when she presses it. We put some deep cold in the area and it make the pain go away for a while but eventually it all comes back.

When I am driving a long distance it tends to hurt more or if I sit for a long time. I’ve used an electrical messager on areas of my side and it also feels good and tingly almost a watm sensation throughout.

Any ideas?

75 Ed 01.23.10 at 12:07 pm

Sounds like a strained muscle in your back. Acuouncture or massage therapy should speed up the healing.If the way you are sitting or using it is continuing to aggravate it, it may not heal by itself.

76 Rachel 01.30.10 at 9:37 am

Hi, I wrote to you about a month ago and listened to what you had to say and went to see a pratitioner and she told me that I have instability in 2 ribs ( # 11 rib and #12 rib ). Basically, my ribs move out of place and I keep twisting my torso to put them back in place. She gave me some exercises and told me that I need to workout my inner abbs. What do you think?

77 Ed 01.30.10 at 6:06 pm

Hi Rachel. Assuming the findings are correct, which is likely, it sounds like good advice to me. If you are diligent for 4 to 6 weeks, and still not getting any improvement, you can seek another opinion. It may take longer than that to resolve completely, but you should start noticing improvement within that time.

78 Kira 02.01.10 at 3:34 pm

Hey Ed,
I’m a swimmer who swims about 8 hours a week and about mid practice, i get a really bad pain, like a cramp in my lower right and sometimes left rib. it only happens when i swim or run and i was wondering if there were any exercises i could do to help. Thx!

79 Ed 02.01.10 at 3:52 pm

Hi Kira,

Read my article on abdominal massage. Do the whole massage, and at the end, where it says” press just under the rib cage”, press with all four fingers of one hand under the rib cage, up toward the chest. Do it gently as you exhale. Avoid the center line, and do two areas on each side. In other words, one hand’s width covers about one half of the front of one side of the rib cage. Try doing the massage once or twice a day, for a couple of weeks. If that doesn’t help get back to me.

80 Kenny 02.09.10 at 11:11 pm

About a mont and a half ago, i slept on broken futon, andwoke up with a pain in my right back side just below my ribs. The pain got better after a few weeks and I decided I was fine to play my weekly hockey game. I felt soar the next few days, until i got sick. I had a bad cough and, one particularly deep cough, brought all of the pain that was originally there. Now it has beena couple of weeks and the pain has not subsided. Any help would be appreciated.

81 Ed 02.10.10 at 10:41 am

Hi Kenny
You may need to find an acupuncturist or massage therapist to work that out. You can try some acupressure on yourself. Find the most tender point, between the bones on top of your right foot, and the most tender point in the right calf muscle. Hold them together for 1 – 2 minutes, twice a day. Also lie on your back with your feet flat and your knees up. Let your knees fall to the floor, to one side. Leave them for a minute, then change sides. There are other stretches, that would be too difficult to explain here.

82 kevin 02.11.10 at 1:26 am

For about 2 years I was on vicodin for surgeries I have had . I guess you can say I abused them for the fact I had to take more due to tolerance . I have been having discomfort in my lower right side which I think is the liver and have become concerned . I have changed my life style in ways of 1. No more pain meds and 2 . Lot less beer during the weekend games . I’m worried that the damage is done and wonder if its to late for liver to rejuvenate .
I know my counts were very high 732 if I remember correctly a couple years ago and I really didn’t stop the meds completely until about 2-3 months ago . I have not drank either until super bowl and the pain came back so obviously I am completely done with that as well . I’m 33 with a 2 and 1 year old that I would very much like to see become adults . When is it to late ? Concerned and regretful .

83 kevin 02.11.10 at 1:34 am

I should mention I was diagnosed with barrels esophagus and had a second opinion and then was told no just inflamed … so I don’t know what to think ? I also feel like I have a hiatel hernia , could that be a cause for thw pain as well. I wasn’t taking pain meds to feel buzzed I truly used them for my pain , which I have everyday , just deal with it now . Thank you

84 Ed 02.11.10 at 8:48 am

Hi Kevin,
Of course I can’t tell you about your individual situation without seeing you, but the liver has an amazing ability to heal itself. And, as you say, it may not be your liver. It is important to get help with the healing process, though. Find a good acupuncturist who also knows Chinese herbal medicine well. The Chinese have gotten very good at treating liver diseases over the centuries. Your next best choice would be a good Naturopath. Good luck!

85 marty 02.12.10 at 11:21 am

my wife has pain on the lower right side under the ribs and sometimes just below the ribs in the front we saw our GP and he told us it was where the diaphram attaches to the ribs it is a burning sensation and sorness it hurts her at all times and nothing eases the pain any suggestions or thoughts thx in advance.

86 Ed 02.12.10 at 3:09 pm

Hi Marty,
I would try the suggestions in this post, but I think seeing an acupuncturist would be the best thing. They could pinpoint the source of the problem and treat it.

87 KK 02.22.10 at 10:41 am

Hello Ed.
For the past month or so, I have had a “vague” pain in the lower part of my ribs. It comes and goes — sometimes it feels like a full feeling, sometimes it’s a little bit of a sharper pain. Eating, drinking and exercising doesn’t seem to make a difference or be related to the pain. My good friend is a physician, and she said that if it were something serious, the pain would get worse, and it would not be an on and off type pain. Also, at a weekly meditation session, the person who leads the meditation picked up on the vibe that my solar plexus chakra was off. I will try the suggestions you make above, and I’m also wondering if yoga could help with this. Thank you very much.

88 KK 02.22.10 at 10:49 am

I should also mention that I am a writer and spend a lot of time working at my desk on the computer. I have horrible posture, but I am trying to be more aware of my posture. I also tend to have some medical anxiety, so I worry about aches and pains maybe a little more than the average person would. Meditation has helped with this, and I did notice that at my last meditation session, the “full” feeling went away entirely. My physician friend thinks this is related to anxiety (and I do think there’s an element of anxiety in this), but I also notice the random full/pain/out of whack feelings when I am not anxious. Thanks again.

89 Ed 02.22.10 at 11:03 am

Hi KK,
This does sound like classic stagnation of liver energy. Anxiety can definitely contribute to the problem. Meditation will help, but mey not be enough. Usually movement is needed, to get the energy flowing well again. My suggestions in this post should help, as should hatha yoga. If you have an exercise ball, arch your back over it and breathe deeply for a minute or so. That will help with your solar plexus, as well.

90 KK 02.22.10 at 11:11 am

Thank you Ed for the quick response. I don’t have an exercise ball, but I could get one. I am starting yoga this week, so I’m looking forward to that. Also, is there any type of tea that could help? I have in my cupboard many types of Yogi tea…stomach ease and breathe deep are my favorites.

91 Ed 02.22.10 at 11:25 am

I’m not surprised those two are your favorites. They are excellent choices.

92 Aylinn 02.22.10 at 6:50 pm

Dear Ed,
I’ve been getting pain under my rib cage or just on my ribs. It’s been coming and going. It hurts very much, and that pain makes it hard to breathe properly. It usually happens at when I’m asleep. I would wake up like at 12am+ and the pain would go on for about an hour. I have no idea what causes the pain. It usually comes randomly and I’ve been having it for about a year or so. Usually when I wake up with the pain, the pain would stay for 30 minutes then goes away. But after 3 hours later or more the pain comes back.

Please help me Ed. I want this pain to go away.

93 Ed 02.23.10 at 8:41 am

Hi Aylinn,
Try the suggestions in this post for a couple of weeks. If you don’t notice any improvement in that time, see an acupuncturist. If you do notice improvement, keep it up. Have you seen a doctor about it? It always helps to rule out anything dangerous.

94 Brenda Cherrone 04.27.10 at 9:57 am

Your advise was very interesting. I have a sudden sharp pain on my lower right side of the rib cage. (front and back) Not even 5 seconds, just a jolt like some one squeezed me, then it’s gone. No lasting pain, No prior warning, not doing anything in particular. Just takes my breath away or catches me off guard. Stress and Anxiety is high. I will try the exercises. Been going on for several months. Thanks for your advise.

95 Ed 04.27.10 at 10:23 am

Hi Brenda, I hope my tips help you. If you would like to download a free guided visualization for stress, go to the contact page at the top, and let me know.

96 Virginia 05.01.10 at 6:04 am

My pain is located on the outside of my rib cage on the right. It started yesterday with a small area (Quarter size) and by today it’s a wide band going from my spine all the way around to the front. It’s like a burning pain on the surface of the skin but also deeper in between each rib. I have had this pain in other areas of the body. The first time I felt the pain it was after I had re-constructive hip surgery at the age of 13. When I told them I had a burning pain down my right leg they said it was probably from the surgery and not to worry. However, I am now 28 and still get the pain in my leg that has not only gotten worse, but now it is in other areas of my body. So this leads me to believe it’s definitely NOT from the hip surgery. If you have any idea I would really love to hear it. Thank you so much for your time.

97 Ed 05.01.10 at 11:56 am

Hi Virginia,
It sounds like your pain is coming from the nerves. I would definitely see an acupuncturist. That is the most likely therapy to help you. Without seeing you and making a good diagnosis, I couldn’t really advise you on what to do to help yourself.

98 Help mee 05.02.10 at 5:56 am

I have had a sharp pain in my left side around my rib cage and just under it. Yesterday it hurt when I was just walking around. Now it hurts when I breathe. I’m only 13 and it kills. I know it’s not gas or poop and sometimes I can barely feel it. Others i’m balling bcuz it hurts soo much. Sincerely, confused and in pain

99 Indiana 05.02.10 at 5:58 am

I have had a sharp pain in my left side around my rib cage and just under it. Yesterday it hurt when I was just walking around. Now it hurts when I breathe. I’m only 13 and it kills. I know it’s not gas or poop and sometimes I can barely feel it. Others i’m balling bcuz it hurts soo much. Sincerely, confused and in pain PLEASE HELP MEEEE!!!

100 Indiana 05.02.10 at 6:19 am

I have it wrapped on pre wrap now is there any thing else I should do? The pain has subsided since.

101 Ed 05.02.10 at 7:12 am

Hi Indiana,
It sounds like you might have pulled a muscle. If the pain has subsided, just do some gentle stretching. If it comes back, you should get it checked out by a professional. There is no way for me to know for sure what the problem is.

102 indiana 05.02.10 at 10:58 am

thanks ed. i reeaallyy appreciate it.

103 Jennifer 05.09.10 at 6:17 am

I have this pain under my right rib cage.. thats where the liver is. I did’nt notice this pain, but I can feel it when i press it with my finger. Sometimes, I have to use my finger to feel where the pain is. It hurts me only when i press that area with my finger. I am worried. What do you think it could be?

104 Ed 05.09.10 at 7:24 am

Hey Jennifer,
If you only feel it when you press there, I wouldn’t worry. It is probably tightness in the diaphragm. Most people will experience some pain when at some point under the ribcage when they press it. if it gets worse, have your doctor check it out.

105 angie beare 05.29.10 at 8:46 am

Hi, ed
I’m only 14 years old. Yesterday when I got back from shopping I went to the bathroom to pee. 2 minutes after when I was walking around I felt this sharp pain under my left rib cage. The more I walked around the worse it made me feel. I was getting dizzy from standing so I had to sit.I felt hungry but didn’t feel like eating. The pain was really bad for about 3 hours. It only felt a little better when I lay on my stomach. After the first 30 minutes of the sharp pain I could feel it travel to my back. I felt a little gassy during the night. I felt like I had to through up but couldn’t. My mom said that I should go she a doctor because she said I looked really peel and had bloodshot eyes.I am a little scared of what the doctor might say. It is only the first time I had this. So what do you think it might be? and do you think I should see a doctor the next time it happens?

106 angie beare 05.29.10 at 9:36 am

respond asap I’m really worried.

107 Ed 05.29.10 at 10:11 am

Angie, This could be a situation where you really need to see a doctor. I strongly suggest you go see your doctor as soon as you can.

108 angie beare 05.29.10 at 10:45 am

what do you think it might be?

109 Ed 05.29.10 at 2:04 pm

I’m sorry, that is not something I would want to guess about. I just want to say that it sounds serious enough that I would see a doctor as soon as I could.

110 Anatoliy 06.10.10 at 3:43 pm

I am 46 years old man and have the same problem. I have pain under my ribcage on the left side already for 3 months. It is located right on the edge of the ribs about 2-3 inches from the center. It is getting worse when I twist my torso to the left and bend little bit. Filling like broken rib or like somebody punch me in that area. Painful to cough, sneeze of speak loud. First I did abdominal ultrasound and CT; and blood work for pancreas. Blood came normal and US and CT shoed that I have nothing wrong, but enlarged spleen 15.6cm. However I have this size of the spleen for already at least 7 years with out any symptoms (may be longer but nobody measured). Despite that, doctor sent to hematologist. He asked me to do CT of the chest and some blood work. All blood test came absolutely normal. Chest CT shoed that I have big thyroid gland 16mm. He sent me to endocrinologist. Again he asked me to do some blood test, US of the thyroid gland and thyroid scan. But now it is nothing about my side pain, which is still there. What else could be done?
Thank you very much.

111 Ed 06.10.10 at 4:58 pm

Given everything you’ve told me, I think your best bet is to see an acupuncturist, for the pain. It could be related to the enlarged spleen, even though you’ve had that for many years. Chinese medicine sees anything abnormal like that as a source of stagnation in the body, which can lead to symptoms over time. It’s good to continue with the medical tests as well, as they may yet come up with something, and it’s good to have as much as info as possible for your acupuncturist.

112 Noreen 06.19.10 at 9:12 am

Hi, I felt a pull under my rib cage on my right side and it has been two weeks now and it still is sore. It is tender to touch around my lower right rib cage, or the bottom of my rib cage, and also it hurts when I walk too much on the upper right part of my upper abdomen. I think that there are a lot of muscles there, and it feels like just muscle pull, but it is taking a long time to heal. If I walk too much the pain begins. Can it take a long time for muscles to heal in this area?

113 Ed 06.19.10 at 10:54 am

Hi Noreen,
Yes those muscle pulls can take a while to really go away. I’d get someone to check it out, to be sure it’s just a muscle pull. Even a massage therapist should be able to tell. If you can afford it, massage or acupuncture will not only speed the healing, but provide a more complete healing. Some even simple things can end up lasting years if not healed properly to begin with.

114 ricky grimshaw 06.24.10 at 12:09 pm

Please ED can you tell me whats up with my rib as i got punched very hard on it as his fist slammed into my rib i held my left foot hoped around crying and also trying to hold my rib it been more also 7 hours

115 Ed 06.24.10 at 12:38 pm

Hi Ricky,
Sounds like you bruised or cracked your rib. The pain may have referred to your foot through an acupuncture meridian or you may have hurt the foot without noticing in the moment of impact. You should get the rib checked out, but in any case, expect it to take a few months to fully get better. An acupuncturist who specializes in “hit medicine” or orthopedic acupuncture can speed up the healing, and make sure it heals completely.

116 ricky grimshaw 06.25.10 at 12:17 pm

um i teld my teacher at school she sorted him out its seems better know but its does hurt when i think about it so thanks ed you are really useful can you give adive about other things aswell :)

117 Ed 06.25.10 at 1:27 pm

Search through the categories on the right. If you don’t find what you are looking for, go to the contact page.

118 Mackenzie 07.01.10 at 6:21 am

I’ve been reading alot of these comments and I don’t think of any of them fit what I’m experiencing. I’ve been having pains in my lower left rib cage for two days now. I play soccer, and the pain came on suddnely while I was playing, and stopped when I went to bed, but I woke up with the pain again. The pain seemed to have worsened when I ran. I use an inhaler so would this have anything to do with it. Any advice?

119 Ed 07.01.10 at 7:18 am

It’s hard to say, with the amount of information you’ve given. It seems like the most likely thing is a pulled muscle. If it doesn’t improve in a few days, or if it gets worse, have it checked out. Try my suggestions in this post. They should help.

120 Tarn 07.05.10 at 3:11 pm

I have been experiencing a bit of pain on and off on the bottom lefts die of my ribcage towards my flank. I do have a fatty lipoma on top of my ribcage but this does not seem to be the source of the pain ( i can squeeze it and lift it and it does not hurt.) the pain is now a dull permanent ache but if i take a deep breath and apply light pressure to the bottom of my ribcage /around edge ( located just inside of my flank – hope that makes sense !) the pain is intense. Certain movements also cause sharp jabs of pain and the pressure of my husbands arm laying across the wrong area while sleeping is also unbearable.
I have been placed on trimethoprin for a bladder infection which i am nearly finished. I am also currently on citalopram and spironolactone for hirutism/acne ( due to pcos.) I am however not overweight like a lot of pcos sufferers and have in fact lost a few kilos in the last couple of weeks and I am suffering also from a lack of appetie/feeling full without eating much. I assume that may be due to starting the sprionolactone a couple of weeks ago.
Your opinion would be enormously appreciated.

121 Ed 07.07.10 at 8:47 am

Hi Tarn,
My guess is that this is from your medications. Talk to your doctor about it. If it is from the meds and you can’t go off them, or if he doesn’t know what it is from, see an acupuncturist. That will help a lot.

It is highly likely that it is specifically from the antibiotics messing with your digestion. Start taking a good probiotic formula and see if that helps. It may take a week or more to notice a difference.

See these three posts.

122 ellie 07.21.10 at 11:01 am

i had this pain for 2days and it just below the ribs chage on the left side of my stomach. and i found out if i pess hard it where it hurt the pain not as bad but when i move my hand it really hurts it like a sharp stapping pain and i can hardly sleep because of it what shall i do iam 13 years old sould i be get theis pain in the left side of my stomach HELP! they really hurt

123 Ed 07.21.10 at 11:45 am

Hi Ellie,
Any time yo have a sharp stabbing pain in the belly you should see your doctor. Please do that. If they don’t find anything, you can ask me again.


124 Shelly 07.21.10 at 5:57 pm

For the past 3 years I have been having a feeling of something under my last left rib. It is also sore to touch and the soreness goes around to my back and down my hip. The feeling of something under my rib gets worse if I am active or stretching my torso. My side & back also hurt from sitting at a computer all day. The feeling and soreness gets better in the evening once I am in bed. If I rub the rib after awhile it will feel numb. There is also a time in the day that the rib & hip will tingle & itch. Could this be pulled muscles or nerve damage?

125 Ed 07.22.10 at 7:54 am

Hi Shelly,

Anything that lasts that long should be checked by a doctor. That said, I doubt if a doctor will help. Itis likely a muscle that has frozen into a spasm, and is affecting a nerve. I would try acupuncture or massage.

126 Andrea 07.30.10 at 11:32 am

Hi Ed Soo Happy to find your site. I have been struggling with on going issues anemia bleeding issues gastro…All have been checked
they have me on iron venofer shots and lately I noticed when I touched my ribs on the lower back they are sore and hurt wondering if its from the shots. Any advice would be helpful
Thank you Andrea

127 Ed 07.30.10 at 1:06 pm

Hi Andrea,
It’s very unlikely that your pain is a side effect of the Venofer. However, if you are constipated or have diarrhea, either as a side effect, or for another reason, pain may refer to the lower ribs at the back.

In fact, any gastro-intestinal disturbance could result in soreness of the lower ribs. Try my recommendations in this post and see if they help. If it’s really bothering you, acupuncture may help.

Good luck.

128 Andrea 07.30.10 at 4:42 pm

Thank you so much for getting back to me…I tried accupucture only once and then I had to stop to take care of my anemia problem.
In between I got the gastro issues prob from nerves But I had an endoscopy and they said I had inflammed stomach…..inflamation in eshophogas all biopsies are negative….That would give me the rib pain..? I want to try those stretches that you sugguest.
Anything else you recommend.
And Thank You again.

129 Murch 08.17.10 at 1:45 am

I have had a very bad ache just below my ribcage on the left side for about a week and a half. At first it only hurt when i laid down, which is still when it’s worst, but now it hurts slightly all the time. I’m a thirteen year old boy, and play ice hockey regularly. It feels like a dull cramp most of the time, but gets worse when i breathe deeply.

Please help, and thanks in advance!

130 katz 08.20.10 at 9:15 am

hi i feel pain right under my lower left rib cage for 3 weeks now. i feel a round swollen thing when i press on it. when i inhale standing with my arms moving up as if embracing the sky…it hurts . what do u think it is? what kind of doctor should i go to…
thanks so much this post is so helpful

131 Larry 08.23.10 at 6:46 am

I have a pain in my left side. It is in left side/back under the bottom of my rib cage. It only hurts when I arch my back inward and to the left.
If feels like my rib is pressing against something and it hurts. I have been to the doctor and he said it was a pulled/strained muscle, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Please advise!


132 Ed 08.23.10 at 9:45 am

Hi Murch,
Sounds like a pulled muscle. It’s always worth getting a professional to check it out though. Ease up on your exercise a bit, for a few weeks. Massage or acupuncture can speed up the healing.

133 Ed 08.23.10 at 9:46 am

Hi Katz,
If you feel a swelling, definitely see your family doctor. You need to get a clear medical diagnosis on that one.

134 Ed 08.23.10 at 9:48 am

Hi Larry,
Muscles in the ribcage area can take a while to get better. Two months is not unusual. How long has it been? Try acupuncture or massage to speed up the process.

135 Angela 08.29.10 at 5:01 am


I’m a 23 year old girl and I have pain in my lower ribs whenever they are touched but the pain goes as quick as it comes. They have been this way for maybes about 10 years. I have been doing pilates every friday for the past year and for about half a week after there is excruciating pain whenever I move, and if they are caught slightly, for example, in a hug, it takes my breath away.
Do you have any ideas what could be causing this and how to help? I enjoy exercise and would prefer not to give it up.
thank you, angela.

136 Ed 08.29.10 at 9:09 am

Hi Angela,
My guess is that you have a chronic spasm in the muscle there, due to what is called a trigger point. A massage therapist or acupuncturist should be able to resolve it. I doubt if you could do it on your own.

137 dan 09.05.10 at 12:34 pm

I’m a 52 yr old male. My pain started out vaguely few inches above my right hip bone below my right ribcage 20 months ago. Its presence is usually felt when I sleep on my right side or deep pressure is applied to the ribcage itself. Repitition of the same motion such as stretching the right side or turning my torso to the right doesn’t always reproduce the pain. Sometimes it’s felt up under the ribcage or through to my back in the area where the kidney is located. Also, on rare occasions my urine appears cloudy. Recent abdominal CT scan, MRI of my spine was fine. US from a year ago showed mild fatty liver. Liver enzymes became normal. Recent US showed no fatty liver. Bowel problems like Crohn’s disease was ruled when I did my colonoscopy a few months back. The only thing they found was a slight sag in the colon which the doctor said is common at my age and a small benign polyp which he removed during the procedure.

The HIDA scan which was also done several months ago suggested lazy gallbladder and possible hepatocellular disease which my gastro and 2 surgeons I saw when I went to get their recommendation on removing my gallbladder said are often not reliable. My question to you at this time is, is it possible for the pain from a tumor or a problem where the gallbladder meets the liver to felt where the right kidney is located? Also, what should I do next?

138 dan 09.05.10 at 12:36 pm

Correction – abdominal CT scan was 10 months ago.

139 Ed 09.07.10 at 12:11 pm

Hi Dan,
I must defer medical decisions to your doctors. However, as you continue to look into what might be causing the pain, I suggest you follow my suggestions in this post, regularly. An acupuncturist or a naturopath may also provide relief. If a sluggish gall bladder is suspected I would seek treatment from an acupuncturist or naturopath before having it removed. Natural treatments can really turn a poorly functioning gall bladder around.

140 tina 09.09.10 at 11:15 am

i am a 13 year old girl and i have been getting pains under the right side of my ribs.and i only get them at random and when i do get them i feel like i cant breath or even move sometimes. i dont know why i get them i been getting it for as long as i can remember and i know i am young but i want to know if there is something really wrong with me and if i should get checked out. thank you

141 Ed 09.10.10 at 10:45 am

Hi Tina,
A pain that bad, that has been going on for so long should be checked out by your doctor. It may be “growing pains” or something like that, but it could be more serious. If the doctor does not find anything, acupuncture or acupressure should relieve it.

142 Jytte 09.18.10 at 3:56 am

Over the past 2 years, I have recurring pain that is feels like it is on the bone a floating rib on my left side. Although the pain is usually dull enough to put up with, I have now had 2 acute sessions. When it is acute, I cannot take a deep breath, I can’t comfortably lie on my right or left side, and it is very difficult to get in and out of bed, or move from sitting to standing. During the first one acute attach, I had blood tests, xray, bone scan and an MRI. All tests came back negative. My doctor finally sent me to physio which seemed to help slightly although I felt like time would have had the same result. Now, 6 months later, it’s back again. I can’t think of any trigger other than I was jostled around in a jeep on bad roads for 2 weeks and given an extremely tight hug around the chest by someone. Then gradually over the next week, I began to seize up again. I have gone to an osteopath twice in the last week which makes me feel better immediately afterwards but then everthing seems to seize up again. Any thoughts?

143 Ed 09.19.10 at 12:55 pm

These muscular problems in the rib area can be difficult to resolve completely. I would talk to the Osteopath about it, as well as an acupuncturist. Find out what people know about treating this sort of thing. Some are better than others. Also a massage therapist who has trained in myofascial release may help. Make sure they understand your problem and can explain to you what it will take to get through it. Obviously the bandaid approach is not working.

144 jim 09.26.10 at 11:00 am

i am 39 yrs old and im experiencing a kind of round mass just below my rib cage where the arc is..the pain is kinda spasmatic when i press and feel the round shape of it.any idea what is it???

thanks a lot,

145 Ed 09.26.10 at 11:39 am

Hi Jim,
Any abdominal mass should be checked by a doctor immediately. It could be minor, but it could be very serious.

146 Josie 09.30.10 at 2:40 am

Hi Ed,

At the moment I have no medical insurance and living off of unemployment. I have been very hesitant to go to the ER because I know that they are not going to give me the extensive testing that may be needed, but then again my pain is getting worse and I might have to give in to the ER. My pain is on my right side torso area, beneath my rib cage. I had my gallbladder removed about 3 yrs. ago and the pain I am experiencing feels similar to the gallbladder pain. I feel it the most when I wake up in the morning. It feels like gas, or bruised. It is not tender to the touch, but it feels more internal. It is bothersome when I move that area, such as if I bend over on that side. It also spreads to my back. Just wanted to know what your opinion is regarding this.

Thank you,


147 Josie 09.30.10 at 2:42 am

I forgot to mention that I have had this pain for over a year. I did go to my doctor and he sent me to get X-rays, and said he didn’t see anything significant. This was done 10 months ago.

148 Ed 10.07.10 at 8:14 am

Hi Josie,
As always, it is difficult to say, without actually examining you.

149 leann 10.10.10 at 6:11 am

I am having a very sharp pain on my left side right below my rib cage. Not under it but just below it. Early this morning at about 2am. Its now 9 am and its still here. It hurts when I take a deep breath and when I try and sit straight up. When I press on it, it hurts even more. If i press anywhere else on my stomache I can feel it radiate back to my left side. If I am laying still its still there just not as sharp. I don’t know what it could be. My last meal was about 12 hrs ago. I don’t know if I should just try and wait it out or go to the er.

150 leann 10.10.10 at 6:13 am

I forgot to mention that I have no history of past medical illnesses. I am 23 and in good general health.

151 Ed 10.10.10 at 10:16 am

Hi Leann,
Given the suddenness and the intensity of your pain, I think I would go to ER and have it checked out.

152 sreesakthi 10.24.10 at 3:10 am

My left side bones get pain whenever am coughing due to severe cold!!!this could be a problem??

153 beck 11.10.10 at 3:24 pm

Hi Ed,
Im 25 and at work last night when i took a deep breath, i had a short but very sharp sudden pain under lower right rib cage. Then a little later on at work, it happened again.
It really hurt, and its never happened before last night…
Any idea what it was or why it happened?
Its really worried me quite a bit…
And im worried it might happen again.
Please get back to me soon, Thanks.

154 Ed 11.10.10 at 3:46 pm

Hi Beck,
It could be a number of things. I would not worry about it. If it does not happen again, it was possibly a muscle spasm or perhaps a gas pain. If it keeps recurring, it could be a muscle spasm or displaced rib Check with a chiropractor, massage therapist or acupuncturist. If it gets worse, or you get continuous pain, see your doctor.

155 zephyr 11.22.10 at 11:09 pm

I’m experiencing pain in my lower right rib cage and it goes through my back. I don’t know what could this be but every time I walk, I’m feeling that pain. Also, when I had to sit down when I am watching TV, I also feel that pain. When I lay down on bed, I also feel it. I don’t know what is it and I’m very bothered about it. It does not occur often. I observed that when I eat and drink, it occurs. I admit this is a source of irritation and depression to me. What could be the possible reason why I am experiencing the pain? I am 23 years old and working as an accounting staff and oftentimes, I had to sit down because of computer works. The only time that I have to stand was when I had to go to the CR and pantry. Can you give some comforting advice about my situation?


156 Ed 11.23.10 at 11:35 am

Hi Melanie,

My first guess would be a Gall Bladder problem, except that seems unlikely at your age. If you can, get it checked by an MD. You may also want to get a second opinion from an acupuncturist or naturopath.

157 zephyr 11.24.10 at 1:01 am

Thanks. But for now I am afraid to consult the doctor. It might give me a depression once I knew the result. But for now, I will do the observation and if it doesn’t stop, I have no other option than to see the doctor. But do you know what foods to avoid if in case this is really on gall bladder problem?… Thank you very much and from time to time, I’ll consult you…

158 Ed 11.24.10 at 12:57 pm

The main thing to avoid with gall bladder problems is greasy, fatty foods.

159 Andi 12.12.10 at 9:43 pm

I have a pain in my lower, left rib area. It almost feels like I have something inside me, but I can’t feel anything when I palp the area (no bulges either.) pain is intermittant, sometimes feels tingly, or like I put ‘icy hot’ on the area. BTW, I do have gall stones. I’ve been managing well since my diagnosis 2 years ago by limiting fats and using digestive enzymes when I eat. But lately, my gall bladder has been feeling stressed, and the pain on the left started around the same time as my rrecent gall bladder pain.

160 Andi 12.12.10 at 9:47 pm

See above – I forgot to mention, that I have no pain with deep breaths or when i bend and stretch.

161 Ed 12.13.10 at 3:51 pm

Hi Andi,
From what you have said, I would guess it is related to your gall bladder problem. Get that under control and see how it is. If you are still having problems see your doctor or other health practitioner.

162 Linda 12.25.10 at 10:24 am

Hi Ed,

I’m a 22 yr old female I been having this pain on my left back side of my rib for the past three days! Followed by fever and head aches and as well hurts my ribs and pelvic to breath! As well for very sharp pain in the middle of my spine! From a scale 1-10 my pain is a nine I have to take so much medicine foe the pain to go away.

163 sheryl 01.28.11 at 2:07 pm

I have pain n my ribs that feels like a muscle is coming through my ribs when I twist or turn to side. The pain only goes away if I stant up and.lift my arms above my head. It hurts to the point it take my breath away. My doctor says its nothing but nothing shouldn’t hurt like this. What do u think?

164 Ed 01.28.11 at 2:43 pm

Hi Sheryl,
When doctors say it is nothing, they usually mean it is not life threatening and there is nothing they can do about it. Probably it is a muscle in spasm. Rib cage muscle spasms can be very painful. Deep breathing and the exercises I suggest in this post should help. A massage therapist or acupuncturist should be able to clear it up for you

165 Sammi 03.04.11 at 10:18 am


Well I started getting this weird almost kinda sharp and sore pain on the right side (lower part) of my ribs. I could pin point where the pain and soreness is…it hurts kinda to breathe in deep, when I move around a lot like walk or run, when i go to bed at night it especially kinda hurts because i lay down on my stomach when i sleep also on my side…Its been almost a whole week that this has been going on. I’ve never had this pain before…I’m only 20 years old I can’t imagine it being anything incredibly bad really but it makes doing things really hard. physically I took vitamins and ibuprofen and it still didn’t really help

166 Kevin 03.04.11 at 8:44 pm

I’m a 15 yr old boy, and I’ve had sharp pains in my left side below my rib cage, it only happens when I jumprope when I exhale. Also it occurs when I exhale when I have bad posture while walking . PLEASE HELP!!! This has just started 4 days ago

167 Ed 03.05.11 at 9:20 am

Hi Sammi and Kevin,

You both sound like you have a muscle pull. I would try my suggestions in this post and see how yo are doing. An acupuncturist or massage therapist could probably help you heal faster.

168 Francis 03.06.11 at 1:45 pm

Hi ,

I had an injury on the left side back rib while doing go karting. When i banged the side tyres the kart was bounced back. So my body came front and dashed back on the seat corners and hit my back rib. I met a doctor next day and he took an xray and said everything is fine and gave me a aceclofenac & Paracetamol tablet for 10 days. Its exactly 3 weeks now. I have a pain exactly on the end of tip of the left side rib exactly where the left front rib and left back rib joins. This is also only when i press it. Otherwise i feel it as a discomfort only. At the same time when i bend myself in the front. I feel that the same pain moves to the back of the left side rib. So i feel something behind the rib which pains. Since it moves it pains wherever it is located. I am currently only taking Advil and Ranitidine. Please advise what this could be.

169 Alice 03.21.11 at 11:03 am

Hi Ed,

I’ve had this a few times where both sides along the 3rd/4th rib up have pain. When I rub my hands along that 4th rib, I feel sore and sharp pain. The pain is above the rib and just under my skin. When I massage it, it feels like I have knots there as I would if I were to massage a tense shoulder. It usually lasts for a day or so and goes away. Because it does not last nor does it happen often, I have not talked to a doctor about it. Any idea what it could be?

It does not hurt when I breath or move any parts of my body.

170 Ed 03.21.11 at 11:22 am

Hi Alice,
That sounds like a knot in a muscle, just like you think. It may be that you don’t breathe enough. In any case, my suggestions in this post are perfect for you. Good luck.

171 miss p 03.29.11 at 4:45 pm

I am having some pain on my back side right when you touch my ribcage it started on sat and its tuesday now i made an apt with my dr for tom. however i am still nervous the pain on a scale 1-10 is a 1 i know that sounds like nothing but i dont like any kind of pain. I have also been sick with a bad cold when this started. it doesnt hurt to walk, stand, sit, breath nothing. but i can still feel the unconfortablness…it also moves from my front to my back now it seems to be staying in the back.

172 Ed 03.30.11 at 8:11 am

Hi Miss P,
Pains like that are not uncommon with a bad cold. I would not worry about it, unless it lingers for more than a week.

173 amber 04.03.11 at 8:17 am

I have a pain in my lower right rib. It is not a major pain and i do not feel it all the time. However the pain will sometimes transfer from my lower rib through to my back. I do not know what is causing this pain but can anyone help me !

174 Ed 04.04.11 at 8:41 am

Hi Amber,
It may just be a muscle pull, that is affecting the front and back or it may be a rib out of place. If it’s the rib, you’ll need to see a chiropractor or osteopath.

175 Ricky 04.05.11 at 9:06 pm

Hi, i have been expiriancing pain in my lower left rib. it hurts when i cought, bend, or even hold my son to feed him (so bad i have to get some one to grab him from me while i assume the fetal position). I am only 22 years old. i feels like my rib is breakin and puncturing my insides. i also have spasums often and during these pains. i have been toughing it out for a couple months now. Honestly, my mother-in-law gave me a loracet (pain killer) that is perscribed to her, I STILL FEEL THE PAIN!!!!!!!!!!

176 Ricky 04.05.11 at 9:11 pm

by the way……….. just to throw this out there for others………… use of perscripion pain killers that are not perscribed to you is wrong!!!to do. DO NOT DO LIKE I DID!!!!!!! 😀

177 Ed 04.06.11 at 8:40 am

Hi Ricky,
My guess is that you’ve pulled a muscle while nursing or holding your baby in one arm while doing other things. Acupuncture would probably be the best thing. You might want to check with a chiropractor or osteopath as well, just in case you have put a rib out of place. Even if pain killers helped with the pain, they would not help with the problem.

178 sam 04.07.11 at 1:20 am

Help!!!! For the last month or so I’ve felt this sharp pain on my left lower rib cage… It started only when I laid down on my left side or on my stomach… But now it hurts even when I lay on my right side and lift my legs… I usually sleep in fetal position but the pain makes it hard!! It doesn’t hurt when I’m walking or working out; only when I lay down in a certain position to sleep!! The pain started after I got my cast on my left hand; could it be possible I hurt myself during my sleep?? I’m scared to what it could possibly be!!! Please help!!!

179 sam 04.07.11 at 1:26 am

I also forgot to mention; my mattress is a bit old and not very comfortable; could that be a factor as well?? Thank you(:

180 Ed 04.07.11 at 8:10 am

Hi Sam,
It’s quite possible that you hurt yourself with your cast. I would get checked out though. If the doctor does not think there’s anything wrong internally., acupuncture should help.

Good luck.

181 sam 04.07.11 at 1:20 pm

Thanks!!! I used the heating pad last night and the pain is starting to be less… Should I still go to the ER?? I don’t have any medical insurance but I’m scared of this being something serious! Thanks

182 Ed 04.07.11 at 1:41 pm

I always think it’s best to get things checked out when they’ve been around that long. If the heating pad seemed to help, you may give it a little longer and see if it improves. It is very hard to give advice in cases like this, since I have no idea what your problem is.

183 Lourdes 04.09.11 at 12:32 pm

I have this stomach pain in my mid section 2 hours after eating dinner. I thought the pain was caused by air because i shivered right after eating. I wasn’t feeling well that time so i took a bath and rested. After 2 hours the pain started to get worse. I cant lie down because it is painful and the more painful it gets every time i breath. I’m having constipation right now. The pain is still there. I’m worried because its getting worst. I cant lie down and every time i breath, there is this excruciating pain, from my neck , heart going down to the section of my tummy. Its very painful and I’m very much worried about this pain. I have to stand up or sit down in order not to feel the pain.

184 Ed 04.09.11 at 2:47 pm

I would go to emergency with a pain like that.

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