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Having right rib pain. Discomfort in breathing. X-ray showed no broken bones. Ultrasound showed cyst. What to do?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
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Hi. I'm a little frustrated with my doctors and was hoping you could point me in the right direction. I have been having right rib pain since at least March 1st. It started as a single rib. Over the last several months, it has gotten much worse. Now affecting several ribs. I have a hard time taking deep breathes occasionaly and cannot lay flat on my back on a remotely firm surface. X-ray showed no broken bones. I then had a ultrasound. I had to ask my doctor today if that showed anything. He told me I have a cyst on each kidney. The one on the right is significantly bigger. I realize that the cysts can be minor and not affect most people, however, I think this may be the cause of my rib pain. What do I do now?
Posted Sun, 28 Jul 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 14 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
The right rib pain that you are having could be due to fibromyalgia or the osteoarthritis affecting the ribs. The other less likely possible cause is costochondritis. Since any injury to the ribs has been ruled out after X-ray, an inflammatory cause needs to be considered.
Pain killers, antiinflammatory drugs- steroids and lidocaine patch are the main treatments. You need discuss all options available with your orthopedician or rheumatologist for proper treatment.
Meanwhile doing a hot compresses will be useful pain relieving measure. You may apply a local analgesic gel on that area.

I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having right rib pain. Discomfort in breathing. X-ray showed no broken bones. Ultrasound showed cyst. What to do? 8 minutes later
I am very body aware. I am sure it is not fibromyalgia pain or my arthritis in the ribs. Especially in the manner in which it has been getting worse. I can tell the difference between my fibro pain and bone pain and muscle pain. As far as flammatory issues. I am currently taking 800mg of ibuprofen and due have narcotic pain medication. Wouldn't that have helped?

My back on my right side also hurts. maybe I didn't mention that.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 10 minutes later
Thanks for writing again.
The associated pain in the back might be due to a mild degenerative changes in the vertebral discs. The pain in ribs could also be due to mild MRI of the spine will help in proper diagnosis.
A combination of muscle relaxant and a pain killer is likely to help with the pain.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having right rib pain. Discomfort in breathing. X-ray showed no broken bones. Ultrasound showed cyst. What to do? 13 minutes later
Thank you. I have been told of degeneative changes in my c2 as well as lumbar. Would a orthopedic doctor be best at this point? I have to be very active for my work and I continue to exercise and stretch. I would like to see the right specialist that will help me get to retirement.

One other question. Could that also cause some leg swelling and discoloration when I'm on my feet for an extended period of time?
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 3 hours later
Yes. You can consult an orthopedician for the best treatment.
The nerve root compression is not likely to cause swelling in the legs on standing. This is more likely to be related to a circulatory problem. Frequent stretching , walking and using a compression stocking will help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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