Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday, January 09, 2010 Amanda, Community Member, asks

Q: severe pain underneath rib cage along with trouble breathing

Last night my husband experienced severe pain (due to what he said was just cramping and nothing to be concerned about) that seemed to be centered directly under his rib cage, on both the left and right side of his body. He also mentioned having difficulty breathing during this episode. I'v tried to look his symptoms up online using search engines as best I could.  But I'm finding it could be anything from abdominal ulcers to gas, or signs of respiratory concerns, to liver problems. My main concern is that it could be warning signs, or even symtoms of a heart attack. He is 53 yrs old and a smoker. But I also didnt want to insist on him going to the emergency room to find out it was gas. I was just hoping, maybe if someone has suffered similar symptoms they could give me advice on what it might be and what helped them. Thanks so much for your time!!! Amanda 

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Answers (5)
Karen Lee Richards, Health Guide
1/10/10 2:32am

I can understand being hesitant to go to the emergency room for fear it will just turn out to be something minor because I've felt the same way.  On the other hand, wouldn't it be better to take that chance than to possibly risk his life? 


I don't know of any way, other than seeing a doctor, that you can tell if pain in or near the chest and shortness of breath could be heart related.  Here's an article that might be helpful:  Chest Pain: Should I Worry?


Even if the pain has stopped, I would encourage your husband to see his doctor as soon as possible for a check up.  They'll be able to tell if it was a mild heart attack.  And even if it wasn't, something caused the pain and it would be best to find out what it was.  Pain is our body's way of telling us something is wrong.  And if he has a similar pain again, I would absolutely get him to the emergency room.  It's just not worth taking a chance.

butterfly66, Community Member
1/10/10 4:02pm

Does it hurt when he takes a deep breath or is the pain there all the time?

I get pains sometimes and take 4 chewable baby aspirin. I let them dissolve under my tounge. The aspirin gets into your system fast. The reason: good blood supply under the tounge.

When you call the emergency squad, for chest pain, they give you baby aspirin.

If that does not work they will proceed to nitroglycerin under your tongue.

Hope this helps.

becca, Community Member
1/17/10 7:13am

I have recently had this an went to a and e i was told it was just muscle spasm,

after an ecg, blood test and a chest x ray..nothing.

I am going back to the docs as i have had 3 other attacks since then.

I hope you husband finds out whats wrong with him, as if he has the same as i do i cab sympathise, the pain can only be likened to childbirth/contrcations.!!

tsh, Community Member
6/27/11 3:31pm

did anyone find out for sure what this is? I have the same thing and had billiary bypass surgery two and 1/2 weeks ago. Since then I have had 6 attacks like this, sometimes when I am sitting, sometimes standing, sometimes after eating sometimes when I have not eaten. No rhymn or reason. Just curious....I did see my doctor last week and he said he felt I was over analyzing it but I think there is def something wrong as it is very painful. I had an attack last night driving my son to the movies.....I had to pull over because I couldn't breath!...Its not in the chest so it isn't is the pain from upper abdomon like something is pushing my windpipe closed



Brianna, Community Member
7/27/13 1:00pm

I'm 14 and I have been having the same problems, I suffer from second hand smoke from my father. But heart problems also run in my family. I am having an attack right now and was looking for answers to see if this is something serious when I came across this. I just want to get better. I am having pains in my right side directly under my rib cage. It is hard to get a full breath and I am afraid to tell my grandmother because I do not want to worry her. I just want answers. And to get better.

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By Amanda, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/09/14, First Published: 01/09/10