In general, rib pain makes it hard for you to take a deep breath, twist your body or put pressure on your chest.
It can be alarming to feel pain in your rib or chest wall. You may immediately worry that you’re having a heart attack. However, many different conditions can cause pain, include a pulled muscle, bruised or broken rib, or even a condition related to your esophagus (the tube that carries food to your stomach).
Sometimes, though, pain in your rib can actually be a sign of something more serious, such as a heart attack or even cancer. Because it’s so difficult to determine what might be causing your rib cage pain, seek immediate medical help.
Compare rib pain symptoms to those of a heart attack.
Don’t ignore rib pain. Many different conditions, from the very minor to the quite serious, can cause pain in your rib cage. Let our experts pinpoint the cause and suggest the best treatment. We offer:
If your doctor thinks you’re having a heart attack, you’ll be treated right away. However, if a heart condition isn’t the cause, your rib pain could be the result of:
We can’t say this enough: Don’t take any chances with rib or chest pain. Go to a nearby Aurora ER. Learn more about our locations.
To find the cause of your rib pain, we’ll ask about your discomfort and perform a physical exam. We may also order an X-ray or CT scan to help diagnose the problem.
The options we recommend depend on your pain level and the seriousness of the underlying injury or condition. Your doctor could suggest:
If your rib is broken (fractured), you’ll be in a lot of pain. Broken ribs are quite common but can take 6 weeks to 6 months to heal.
If you have multiple broken ribs, complicated fractures or an active lifestyle that makes recovery challenging, we can help you recover more quickly and less painfully. This treatment option is called rib fracture stabilization.
A few things to know about rib-fracture stabilization:
Learn more about thoracic surgery.