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For about a year now, I get this muscle cramp

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Posted on Sat, 9 Mar 2019
Question: For about a year now, I get this muscle cramp right under my left rib cage. It tightens up so painfully I punch my rib area to get it to feel better. It feels like the muscle is sliding up under the ribs.
I’ve had the flu this last week, and my rib is extremely sore all day long. It’s starting to concern me. Any thoughts on what is causing this?
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (44 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Thoughts on this

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

From your description, possibilities include costochondritis which is an inflammation of the connective tissue of the ribcage which typically happens from overuse of certain muscles. It can also be a fractured rib if you have been coughing a lot from influenza (by flu do you mean influenza - a respiratory infection with high fever and cough, or did you mean "stomach flu" with diarrhea and vomiting?)

For both problems the treatment is primarily rest of those muscles and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen to decrease inflammation and pain (taken after eating as they can irritate the stomach).

I am not sure how punching your rib makes the pain better. If you have had "stomach flu" (viral gastroenteritis), it's possible that the cramp is actually a large intestinal cramp/spasm.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3138 Questions

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For about a year now, I get this muscle cramp

Brief Answer: Thoughts on this Detailed Answer: Hello and welcome, From your description, possibilities include costochondritis which is an inflammation of the connective tissue of the ribcage which typically happens from overuse of certain muscles. It can also be a fractured rib if you have been coughing a lot from influenza (by flu do you mean influenza - a respiratory infection with high fever and cough, or did you mean "stomach flu" with diarrhea and vomiting?) For both problems the treatment is primarily rest of those muscles and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen to decrease inflammation and pain (taken after eating as they can irritate the stomach). I am not sure how punching your rib makes the pain better. If you have had "stomach flu" (viral gastroenteritis), it's possible that the cramp is actually a large intestinal cramp/spasm.