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Pain in side of ribcage, breathing difficulty. Could this be muscle tightness or bruise on rib?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
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Hi, my husband went to the driving range for the first time two weeks ago. Ever since, his left side has been hurting. Now it hurts for him to breathe and he has difficulty laying down. Is this a muscle tightness or did he bruise ribs?
Posted Sat, 11 May 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 15 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
The pain in the left side rib cage is likely to be due to a muscle spasm. A bruise of the ribs is not likely without any history of injury.
If there is no local swelling or extreme pain on touch (indicative of XXXXXXX bruise) then there is nothing worrisome as of now.
Any muscle strain will require time to heal and till then he can take any antiinflammatory analgesic containing acetaminophen and ibuprofen for pain relief. Physiotherapy and hot fomentation may provide early relief.
If the pain persists or he develops any new symptom like fever, restriction of movement etc. then seek prompt medical consultation . Otherwise just take adequate rest, a healthy diet and plenty of fluids for better healing.

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: Pain in side of ribcage, breathing difficulty. Could this be muscle tightness or bruise on rib? 5 minutes later
Well as of right now there is an intense pain associated with breathing and the pain is spreading to the right side of his chest. And I apologize but the original location of pain is his right side,not left. He was woken up during his sleep tonight with this pain and just took a shower to relieve pain. His movement is restricted because of his side pain and it hurts to breathe deeply. I just gave him two Tylenol. Is there anything I can do right now until our doctor is available in the morning?
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 41 minutes later
Thanks for writing again.
Apart from hot fomentation, rest and mild pain killers, you can't do much right now. Oral muscle relaxants need to be prescribed. Using a chest belt of appropriate size will help in pain relief.
A acute sharp pain may be associated with a rib injury and an X-ray or MRI scan will help in determining the exact cause.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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