Read below about mild rib pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your mild rib pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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9 Potential Mild Rib Pain Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Acute 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.

    Costochondritis is generally self-limiting but may take several weeks to go away.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, chest pain that is worse when breathing, chest pain, rib pain when moving, pain when pressing on the chest
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  2. 2.Lung Cancer (Non - Small Cell)

    Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, which usually grows and spreads more slowly than small cell lung cancer. People with NSCLC have tumors in their lungs and may suffer from cough, chest pain, spitting up blood, and difficulty breathing.

    Non-small cell lung cancer is a serious disease, and to assess prognosis a consultation with an oncologist is needed.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    cardinal symptoms of lung cancer like chest pain or changes in breathing, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Uterine Fibroids

    Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors in the uterus. They are common in women of childbearing age.

    Treatment ranges from medication to surgical removal of the fibroid.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), painful periods, irregular period
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Normal Occurence of Chest Pain

    Many people experience chest pain and it's not always indicative of a serious issue.

    1 day

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    chest pain, rib pain
    Symptoms that always occur with normal occurence of chest pain:
    chest pain
    Symptoms that never occur with normal occurence of chest pain:
    being severely ill, shortness of breath, fainting, severe chest pain, crushing chest pain, excessive sweating, nausea or vomiting, fast heart rate in adults, slow heart rate
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit

    Mild Rib Pain Checker

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  5. 5.Enlarged Breasts (Gynecomastia)

    Gynecomastia is the swelling of breast tissue in boys in men, which may be caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. It is generally not a serious problem and is normal during puberty.

    Will usually resolve within 1 year.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, decreased sex drive, painful chest wall lump, hard chest wall lump, movable chest- wall lump
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Bronchitis

    Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. It causes a cough that often brings up mucus, as well as shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. It is typically caused by a virus.

    Symptoms resolve within 1-2 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    cough, productive cough, sore throat, wheezing, coughing up green or yellow phlegm
    Symptoms that always occur with bronchitis:
    cough
    Symptoms that never occur with bronchitis:
    nausea or vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Pleurisy

    Pleurisy is inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest (the pleura) that leads to chest pain when taking a breath or cough.

    Indefinite

    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
  8. 8.Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax)

    A collapsed lung happens when air enters the pleural space, the area between the lung and the chest wall. If it is a total collapse, it is called pneumothorax.

    2-3 days

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, rib pain on one side, shortness of breath, rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, chest pain that gets worse when breathing or coughing
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Small Cell Lung Cancer

    Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a fast-growing type of lung cancer. It spreads much more quickly than non-small cell lung cancer and is typically found in adult smokers.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, new headache
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Mild Rib Pain

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you have a cough?
  • Q.Did you have any cold-like symptoms in the past week or two?
  • Q.If you presses on the area where you are in pain, does this make it hurt worse?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our mild rib pain symptom checker to find out more.

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Mild Rib Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced mild rib pain have also experienced:

    • 6% Shortness of Breath
    • 4% Fatigue
    • 3% Pain in One Arm
  • People who have experienced mild rib pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 48% Less Than a Day
    • 23% Less Than a Week
    • 14% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced mild rib pain were most often matched with:

    • 45% Acute Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)
    • 5% Lung Cancer (Non - Small Cell)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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