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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes persistent cough with severe pain in the ribs?

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Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein

General Surgeon

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 10308 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 9 Jun 2018 in General Health
Question: I had a upper respiratory infection about 10 days ago, and was coughing quite a bit. As a result my stomach was sore from coughing. I saw Dr 2 separate times, first got medication for cold, but I was kept up coughing at night on more tahn one occasion. I went back to Dr for the excessive continuous coughing, I just couldn't shake it. she gave me medication for it the last time,. the next day at work, I was coughing again, and I felt a kind of "crack" under my right ribs, kind of like I hear when I go to the chiropractor and he adjusts me. I immediately stopped coughing, in fact I dont think I coughed the rest of the day, but ever since then, it has been sore, and when I do cough, there is a sharp stabbing pain there. No pain sitting, walking etc, but when I do cough, right where my ribs end on my right side there is s sharp stabbing pain. ( thought initially may be a pulled muscle,)
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Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 59 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Intercostal muscle pulled

Detailed Answer:
HI and welcome.
Yes this sounds like pulled intercostal muscle or pinched intercostal nerve and this is not serious issues which should be treated with rest, painkillers and warm compresses. It should resolve in several days This may be result of excessive cough, injury or may occur spontaneously. Only if there are breathing difficulties with pain progression then you should do lung x-rays to rule out possible pneumothorax or pneumonia. Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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