What causes pain in the lower side of rib cage?

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Posted on Mon, 8 Jun 2015 in Pain Management
Question: hi! I am a 56 year old female experiencing pain in the lower left back side of the rib cage.The pain seems like a burning sensation sometimes and stomach feels bloated.I cannot wear clothes with fitted waistbands and cannot walk for long periods when the pain persists.There is no other symptoms of illness otherwise.please help
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Answered by Dr. Vasudha Jayant Athavale 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
consult Gastroenterologist/ Orthopedic ( spinal) surgeon.

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX,
Thanks for the query under HCM forum.
I understand your concern.
* Pain in the lower left back side of rib cage can be due to various causes.
- gastric ulcer/ GERD/ can present as a burning pain in back.
- Spondylosis / spinal disc problem in thoraco lumber region ,
- kidney infection,
But looking at your symptom of having bloating along with the burning pain, disability to fit on tight waistbands/ disability to walk long when pain is present point towards either spinal problem or digestive problem ( gastritis/ acid peptic disease/ Gerd)
* Investigations- you will need-
- Xray/MRI/CTscan of thoracolumber spine Lateral/ P/A view.
-Blood for CBC/ serum calcium & vitamin D ( to find signs of boney weakness)
- Barium meal Xray/ gastroscopy .
*In this context I would advise you to consult your family physician to start with. He will examine you after getting detailed history of the problem & advise you few investigations to pin point the cause & the will direct you to a
Gastroenterologist / Orthopedic(spinal) surgeon for specific treatment.
*Treatment
Gastritis- It will consist of restriction on certain food ( spicy,oily,food)/ irregular eating habit/ drinking lot of water & bland nourishing food.along with medications to control your symptoms
Spinal problem - physiotherapy, medicines,spinal surgery will be the options.
Please don't worry, consultation of a suitable specialist , proper management & self care would help you out of the present problem.
*self care-Till then
- Have non irritant food , plenty of water/ cold milk when pain is ++/ have regular eating habit/ avoid alcohol/
- avoid lifting weight, forward bending/ turning that instigates the pain. try to sooth the pain with hot/cold compress/ apply local muscle relaxants ( Relaxil ointment for pain, Avoid massage).

I hope, the query has been answered to provide you information as well as guidance Any follow up query is welcome.
Thanks.




Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Pradeep Vitta
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Answered by
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Dr. Vasudha Jayant Athavale

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1970

Answered : 7536 Questions

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