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Tenderness below armpit, pronounces when laughing or breathing in a certain way, feels like a cramp

Jul 2012
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Practicing since : 1993
Answered : 1196 Questions
i have a spot of tenderness about 4 inches below my armpit on my right side, probably even with the middle of my ribcage, but on my side, not my chest. It is more pronounced when I laugh or inhale/exhale in a certain way. Been there for about 8 to 10 days. It feels like a cramp or stitch, fairly localized, like a spot, not a general area.
Posted Mon, 10 Sep 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Rodrigues 32 minutes later
Hi there. Is there any redness on your skin surface that you note? Has this happened in the same spot earlier. Are you on the 'heavier side'? Has this happened after some strenous physical activity or some sporting activity sans warming-up? You may just be right in that it may be a local 'intercostal' (between rib spaces) muscle fiber tear but am just playing the devil's advocate here to rule out any other dermtological or underlying problems. I would advise a local muscle-sprain 'magic spray' name dependent on the region you live in..'deep heat' seems likely ubiquitous. In addition, a muscle relaxant tablet (may require a prescription) or an anti-inflammatory tablet like Ibuprofen 600mg three times after meals/day for 2-3 days (easily available over the counter) may be the way forward. If in 72 hrs of such managament you find no respite, then please visit your local GP & he will guide you further. Give that side some rest for 72 hrs & dont strain that region. Then, gradual graded excercises eg stretches in order once healed.
If the answers to the questions i posed initially are in the negative (just a check list), then you have absolutely nothing to worry about & just follow the regime i suggested. If so, please accept the answer & would appreciate your valuable feedback should time permit. Cheers & here's wishing you a speedy recovery & happy pain-free exhaling-inhaling & hearty laughter!
Dr Praveen Rodrigues MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Tenderness below armpit, pronounces when laughing or breathing in a certain way, feels like a cramp 24 minutes later
I'm probably about 10 pounds overweight - 6 feet and 190 lbs. It did happen after some exercise and I thought it was initially a cramp that would go away in a few hours but has instead not resolved after over a week of time. I am fairly certain that this is not a surface or skin issue - there is no redness of any kind.

I'm mainly trying to rule out anything serious.


Answered by Dr. Praveen Rodrigues 38 minutes later
Hi there. Tx for the query.As i said, was playing the devil's advocate to rule out any underlying cause (for eg..there is a condition called herpes zoster that may present sans any skin lesions or mild redness). Being a sportsman myself in my younger days (hockey, soccer, basketball), i have had every possible sports injury from muscle tears to a fractured nose to a surgical removal of my left meniscus (knee). 'Cap' that with being a medical practitioner now for over 20 yrs & a dermatologist for 15, I assure you the problem is 'minor' at best! Absolutely nothing to worry about!! As i figured, a little strenous activity sans warming up coupled with probably a 'lull' in phsical fitness at the moment, would have caused a small intercostal muscle rupture that will heal on its own if given rest coupled with the medications i suggested in my earlier answer. I dont even envisage a visit to a doctor!!
Take care & hope this has laid all those 'ghosts' to rest & am sure you will be fighting fit in no time at all. Cheers! Please do find time to close the query if truly convinced & do give us a pain-free shout when all well!
Regds. Dr Praveen Rodrigues MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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