What other symptoms might occur with rib pain?

Rib pain can occur in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.For example, if rib pain is related to an infection, such as pneumonia, you may experience a fever and body aches. Pain can also travel from the shoulders, arms and back to your ribs.

Some signs or conditions associated with rib pain, such as low oxygen levels and high carbon dioxide levels due to decreased lung function, may be evident only through medical testing, so always seek medical care if you are experiencing rib pain.

Other symptoms that may accompany rib pain include:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Body aches

  • Cough (may be dry or productive with phlegm)

  • Fever

  • Pain in the arm, shoulder or back

  • Pain when you twist or bend your torso

  • Restricted mobility of the shoulders or back

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, rib pain and other types of chest discomfort or chest pain may be caused by a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have rib pain or chest pain after chest trauma or injury, or any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain when breathing or coughing

  • Chest pain, which may spread to the left arm, jaw, shoulder or back

  • Chest pressure, cramping, tightness, or a tearing sensation in the chest

  • Cold, clammy skin or cyanosis, a bluish color of the skin, lips or nails

  • Confusion, dizziness, or change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness

  • Coughing up yellow-green phlegm (mucus)

  • Heart palpitations or a fluttering feeling in the chest

  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)

  • Respiratory or breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, or choking

  • Rough, noisy or grating sound when breathing

  • Severe abdominal pain

What is rib pain?

Rib pain includes any type of pain or discomfort that occurs in the ribs. Ribs are long, slender bones that curve around the chest to create the rib cage. The top 10 ribs on both sides of the body attach to the thoracic (mid-back) spine and breastbone (sternum) by joints and ligaments. The bottom two ribs attach by ligaments to the spine, but not to the breastbone, and are sometimes called the ... Read more about rib painintroduction


What causes rib pain?

Rib pain can be caused by a variety of mild to serious disorders, diseases or conditions that can result from infection, myocardial infarction (heart attack), inflammation, trauma, malignancy, and other abnormal processes. Rib pain is often due to injury such as strained or broken ribs or pulled muscles and tendons. ... Read more about rib paincauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 8, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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