What Causes Pain Under The Right Rib Cage?

Question

Asked by feathers2069

What Causes Pain Under The Right Rib Cage?

My sister has had intense pain under her right rib cage and around to her back. She says that when it is pressed on she hears a pop. She hasn't been able to sleep or work because of the pain, and pain relievers don't help. She has tried various doctors, who have diagnosed gallbladder problems, shingles, neuropathy, etc, but nothing helps. Does anyone know what it could be?

Answer

It sounds like it could be costochondritis--an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone. Costochondritis can be extremely painful and tender, particularly when anyone presses on the area. I don't blame her for wanting doctors to keep their hands off, if it hurts that badly.

We don't know what causes costochrondritis, but it can be caused by strenuous exercise, a blow to the chest, or respiratory illnesses that cause coughs.

If your sister already takes pain medicine, then she may find relief from alternating moist heat and ice packs, to reduce inflammation.

It sounds like she's had this condition for a long time though, in which case it may be a sign of another disorder, like fibromyalgia, arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis.

Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis

Answered by Karen Lee Richards