Rib Pain


If it’s hard to take a deep breath, twist your body or put pressure on your chest, it’s possible you may have injured your ribs. 

Rib pain can happen on either side of your body where your rib cage is located, below your neck and above your belly button. The pain might be sharp or dull. There are many possible causes of rib pain, including a pulled muscle, a bruised rib, an internal injury, a fractured (broken) rib, muscle spasms or inflamed cartilage. Sometimes rib pain or chest wall pain is a symptom of something more serious, like bone cancer or a heart attack.

Rib pain and rib fractures can happen at any age and can have many causes, including a sports injury, accident, or fall.


To find the root cause of your rib pain, your doctor will ask about your pain and perform a physical exam. You may also have an X-ray or a CT scan to help diagnose the issue.

Treatment Options

Treatment depends on the type of pain and the severity of your injury. It may involve integrative medicine, pain management, surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Other treatment options include:

  • Cold compresses and over-the-counter medicine 
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling

Rib Fracture Stabilization
A broken rib is a painful experience and can take 6 weeks to 6 months to heal. But for those who’ve suffered from multiple broken ribs, complicated fractures or who have an active lifestyle, there’s a way we can help you recover faster and less painfully: rib fracture stabilization.

Performed by Aurora Health Care’s Dr. William Tisol, the technique involves putting a titanium plate across the fracture.  

Your ribs cannot be put in a cast like other broken bones because ribs are constantly moving. Every time you move or breathe, your ribs go up and down. With the rib fracture stabilization procedure, the new rib plates mimic the movement of the ribs. Most patients are out of the hospital 5 days after surgery and recover quickly.

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What’s all this mean to you? Convenient, coordinated and expert care. 

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