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What causes pain in the left lower ribs?

Feb 2018
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Answered by

General Surgeon
Practicing since : 1984
Answered : 16106 Questions
Hi. I have a pain in my left lower rib. It started 3 months ago comes and goes and on a range of 1-10 it's probably a 3..more uncomfortable than painful. I saw my gp back in September as I thought i was getting a heart attack. They checked me out heart was beating normal and bp normal and put it down to muscular problems. Now I'm getting anxious as it's back again. I don't feel sick I have no temperature no nausea nothing just this dull ache every now and then and the odd time it can b sharp. Don't have a problem breathing either. I'm kinda at a loss what to it is and I'm full of negative thoughts that it may be pancreatic cancer. The area itself is not tender to touch. I did years ago tear my trapizius and have had trouble with my neck since. Could it be coming from my neck. The pain can move and does move to the shoulder area. Would love to hear your thoughts more for peace of mind. Thank you
Thu, 10 May 2018 in Lump
Answered by Dr. T Chandrakant 20 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Most probably costochondritis or muscle pain.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your query and an elucidate history.
Noted the history and understood your concerns well.
As per the history you have given this looks to be a case of costochondritis.
This may be aggravated by stress and anxiety; flu, exertion and so on.
Pancreatic cancer does not cause such a pain in the left lower rib.
The thought of cancer or so increases the anxiety level.
In milder form there may not be much tenderness to elicitate.
It is better to get an X-ray of the chest and Ultrasound of abdomen to rule out any underlying other pathology.

I hope this answer helps you.
Please feel free to ask for further relevant queries if you feel that there is a gap of communication.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes pain in the left lower ribs? 7 minutes later
Thank you for your reply. Yes I am definitely stressed the last while. A close relative has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and I'm struggling to come to terms with this and it has been playing on my mind. I also suffer with palpations a lot and have discussed this with my gp who has put it down to anxiety. Is there anything that I could take to ease the dull ache would over the counter medicines be ok. I full intend getting bloodwork done in the new year to check for thyroid issues
Answered by Dr. T Chandrakant 19 minutes later
Brief Answer:
As detailed below.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your feedback.
Since there are palpitations, please get your Thyroid function tests asap- as soon as possible; it is good to get a cardiac check up too.
As there is a lot of anxiety, costochondritis is the most probable diagnosis.
Hence part of the management is as follows:
Relief from anxiety
Discuss with your Doctor about costochondritis and its management.
Local warmth by heat pads or by rubefacient liniment.
Anti-inflammatory with painkiller properties like Ibuprofen.
Oral steroids in tapering dosages help a lot.
Alleviate anxiety by self-control or prescription based medications.

I hope this answer helps you further.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes pain in the left lower ribs? 5 minutes later
Thanks so much. I must say my palpations have eased the last while. When u say get them checked asap would you think it's dangerous? Only reason why I'm questioning thyroid is I'm struggling to lose weight and had the palpations regularly a few months back but they have improved. I will for sure get my bloodwork done n the new year
Answered by Dr. T Chandrakant 9 minutes later
Brief Answer:
As explained.

Detailed Answer:
Palpitations can have many reasons and it is better to get it properly diagnosed or ruling out by the tests and evaluations.
If all the relevant tests are normal then the obvious cause can be only anxiety needing medications for anxiety that will help all your problems.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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