Dull Rib Pain Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your dull rib pain symptoms, including 8 causes & common questions.

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Contents

  1. 8 Possible Dull Rib Pain Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics
  4. Related Articles

8 Possible Dull Rib Pain Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced dull rib pain. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Normal occurence of chest pain

Sometimes chest pain is not a sign of a heart attack. The following symptoms are usually typical of more benign conditions:

If the pain is brief, like a short shock, and subsides right away, it is most likely from an injury such as a broken rib or pulled muscle in the chest.

Sharp pain in the chest that improves with exercise is probably from acid reflux or a similar condition, and will be eased with antacids.

A small, sharp pain anywhere in the chest that actually feels worse on breathing is probably from a lung inflammation such as pneumonia or asthma.

An actual heart attack involves intense, radiating chest pain that lasts for several minutes; worsens with activity; and is accompanied by nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, and pain in the arms, back, or jaw. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

If there is any question as to whether the symptoms are serious or not, a medical provider should be seen as soon as possible.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: chest pain, rib pain

Symptoms that always occur with normal occurrence of chest pain: chest pain

Symptoms that never occur with normal occurrence of chest pain: being severely ill, shortness of breath, fainting, severe chest pain, crushing chest pain, excessive sweating, nausea or vomiting

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

Acute costochondritis (chest wall syndrome)

Acute costochondritis is the inflammation of the flexible cartilage that connects each rib to the breastbone. Costochondritis is caused by excessive coughing or by straining the upper body, as with weightlifti...

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Chronic costochondritis (chest wall syndrome)

Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: rib pain, chest pain, chest pain that is worse when breathing, rib pain when moving, pain when pressing on the chest

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

Atypical chest pain

Atypical chest pain describes the situation when someone's chest pain is unlikely to be related to heart or lung disease. There are many other possible causes that could explain chest pain, like sore chest wall muscles or psychological factors like stress and anxiety.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath

Symptoms that always occur with atypical chest pain: chest pain

Symptoms that never occur with atypical chest pain: fever

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Dull Rib Pain Symptom Checker

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Mitral valve prolapse

Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) occurs when the valve between the heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) and the left lower chamber (left ventricle) doesn't close properly because the flaps of the valve are "floppy." Most people who have the condition are born with it.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fatigue, anxiety, rib pain, shortness of breath, racing heart beat

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is an inflammatory reaction to an infection in the airways. Most cases of acute bronchitis are caused by a viral infection, although some cases may be due to a bacterial infection.

Symptoms include an acute-onset cough with or without sputum production, low-grade fever, shortness of breat...

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Hypertensive crisis

Hypertensive crisis occurs when your blood pressure becomes dangerously high (180/120 mm Hg), to a level that can damage your organs. Hypertensive crisis is categorized as "hypertensive urgency" if the blood pressure is high without damage to organs, and as "hypertensive emergen...

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Pleurisy

Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the protective membranes which surround the lungs and line the inner chest cavity.

The inflammation is most often caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection, such as influenza or pneumonia; by some medications; or by a rib fracture.

Symptoms include sharp, "pleuritic" pain in the chest, back or shoulders that gets worse with deep breathing, sneezing, or coughing; shortness of breath due to shallow breathing in an effort to ease the pain; and sometimes fever and/or cough.

Sudden, intense chest pain during breathing is a medical emergency. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through patient history; physical examination; and imaging such as x-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound. In some cases, a needle is used to withdraw fluid from the pleura for testing.

Treatment involves addressing the underlying cause, such as prescribing antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used, along with supportive care in the form of rest, fluids, and good diet.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: shortness of breath, muscle aches, fever, cough with dry or watery sputum, rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Dull Rib Pain

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • What makes your chest pain hurt more?
  • Do you have a cough?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • How would you explain why your chest hurts?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your dull rib pain. These questions are also covered.

Dull Rib Pain Quiz

Dull Rib Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced dull rib pain have also experienced:

  • 8% Rib Pain On One Side
  • 8% Dull, Aching Chest Pain
  • 4% Shortness Of Breath

People who have experienced dull rib pain were most often matched with:

  • 33% Normal Occurence Of Chest Pain
  • 33% Acute Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)
  • 33% Chronic Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)

People who have experienced dull rib pain had symptoms persist for:

  • 48% Less than a day
  • 23% Less than a week
  • 14% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Dull Rib Pain Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your dull rib pain