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Getting constant sharp pain under ribs. What treatment should be done?

Dec 2012
User rating for this question
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Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2012
Answered : 1704 Questions
My 56 yr old wife, in very good health and shape has had a sharp pain under her rib on the left side for 2 days. Its right about the bottom of her breast, sharp, and has kept her awake at night, and is constant.
Posted Sat, 23 Feb 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Nsah Bernard 3 hours later
Hi there,

Thank you for posting on HCM

From your description your wife might be suffering from any of the below conditions of left sided chest pain. Left chest pain, in general can be caused due to problems associated with chest wall, lungs, esophagus, muscles, ribs, tendons, or nerves. I will start from the most probable to the least.
She might be having:
- Unstable angina pectoris: which is a coronary artery diseases due to either spasms or obstruction of the coronary artery. The pain usually last for more than 15 mins and can continue even at rest. Requires urgent medical attention as it is a condition that can predispose to heart attack (myocardial infarction)

- Costochondritis: often described as a sharp pain in left side of chest associated with Fibromyalgia. It is characterized by inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone. It causes severe chest pain on either side of the sternum (costochondral joints), near the third to fifth ribs. The pain tends to increase on taking a XXXXXXX breath or on coughing. At times, it may also cause dull pain in left side of chest. Tietze’s syndrome is another similar condition causing superficial rather XXXXXXX chest pain on the left side. Your wife will require antiinflammatory medication (steroidal or non-steroidal)

- Abdominal Problems: Issues like Gallbladder Disorders, Peptic Ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, pancreatitis and other such gastrointestinal problems. Acute Gallbladder Attack, for instance are associated with lower left chest pain. You will need urgent consultation with an internist/gastroenterologist

- Problems related with oesophagus such as oesophagistis, GERD etc, lung affections, other heart problems such as pericarditis.

In any case, i feel your wife will need to see an internist right away so as to be evaluated physical, some laboratory investigations conducted and cause identified followed by appropriate treatment.

Hope this helps
Dr Nsah
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