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What causes severe cramps under the rib cage and pain in arms?

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Posted on Tue, 26 Jul 2016
Question: On occasion, I get a very bad spasm or cramp just under my ribcage just left of center. This would typically occur when I'm bending over but sometimes even when I'm just exerting myself or even crying. It is a stabbing pain that will subside in a few minutes or when I raise my arms over my head. This has been going on probably since last October/November. I get the pain at least once a week if not more. Any suggestions or advice?
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Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko (43 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Rib nerve irritation can be the reason.

Detailed Answer:
Hello!

Thank you for the query.

If you do not have any nausea, vomiting, and the pain is not associated with foods intake, most probable reason of it, is rib nerve irritation.
This type of pain is usually sharp and well localized. It gets more intense when the chest is moving (when you are breathing), and less when it is not. Movement, can suddenly release the pressure on this nerve so the pain disappears.

Painkillers, physical therapy (pool swimming, massage, any other physical activity) can help. Usually there is no need to diagnose it unless the pain does not impede normal life.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask further questions.
Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Grzegorz Stanko

General Surgeon

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 5769 Questions

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What causes severe cramps under the rib cage and pain in arms?

Brief Answer: Rib nerve irritation can be the reason. Detailed Answer: Hello! Thank you for the query. If you do not have any nausea, vomiting, and the pain is not associated with foods intake, most probable reason of it, is rib nerve irritation. This type of pain is usually sharp and well localized. It gets more intense when the chest is moving (when you are breathing), and less when it is not. Movement, can suddenly release the pressure on this nerve so the pain disappears. Painkillers, physical therapy (pool swimming, massage, any other physical activity) can help. Usually there is no need to diagnose it unless the pain does not impede normal life. Hope this helps. Feel free to ask further questions. Regards.