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Learn about your rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing 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.

Rib Pain That Gets Worse When Breathing, Coughing, Sneezing, or Laughing Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing.

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Your Rib Pain That Gets Worse When Breathing, Coughing, Sneezing, or Laughing May Also be Known as:
Chest pain when breathing
Chest pain when coughing
Hurts to breathe
Hurts when breathing
Hurts while breathing
Pain when breathing
Pain while breathing
Painful breathing

Top 10 Rib Pain That Gets Worse When Breathing, Coughing, Sneezing, or Laughing Causes

  1. 1.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.

    You can safely treat this condition on your own by resting, drinking fluids and taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to alleviate fever and discomfort. If the condition lasts longer than a few weeks, or if your symptoms are worsening, you may want to see a doctor who may prescribe an inhaler or pursue other treatment options.

    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
  2. 2.Bacterial Pneumonia

    Bacterial pneumonia is the infection of the lungs with bacteria (as opposed to a fungus or a virus).

    You should go see a doctor within the next day since this diagnosis requires a chest X-ray in addition to a doctor's assessment. Treatment with antibiotics is important to keeping the infection under control, which can become dangerous if it spreads or worsens within the lungs.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, cough, headache, loss of appetite, shortness of breath
    Symptoms that always occur with bacterial pneumonia:
    cough
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  3. 3.Coxsackie b Virus Infection

    Coxsackie B Virus usually doesn't cause any symptoms but can be the cause of nonspecific fever and, in rare cases, lung or heart infections. The disease is most common in children but adults are susceptible too.

    Coxsackie B Virus infection ends on its own and does not even need a true diagnostic test. Treatment is not necessary, but over the counter medication to symptomatically treat pain and fever might be helpful.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, nausea
    Symptoms that always occur with coxsackie b virus infection:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Rib Bruise or Fracture

    Broken or bruised ribs are usually caused by a fall or a blow to the chest, although occasionally this can happen due to severe coughing. With a broken rib, the pain is worse when bending and twisting the body.

    You can safely treat this condition on your own. Breathing will be painful, but it is important to avoid taking shallow breaths or not coughing to avoid the pain as this can raise your risk of developing a chest infection. You can look after yourself by taking over-the-counter pain medication, applying an ice pack to the chest, resting periodically (especially if your work involves a lot of physical labor), and holding a pillow against the chest if you needs to cough.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, rib pain from an injury, sports injury, rib pain on one side, injury from a common fall
    Symptoms that always occur with rib bruise or fracture:
    rib pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Viral Pneumonia

    Viral pneumonia is inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the lungs due to infection with a virus. Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type, which is usually acquired in public areas such as at work, school, or grocery store.

    You should see a care provider to be treated and for evaluation of severity of your symptoms. Viral pneumonia is NOT treated with antibiotics, and you may find over-the-counter medications for pain and fever to be helpful.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite
    Symptoms that never occur with viral pneumonia:
    unexplained bruising
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Rib Pain That Gets Worse When Breathing, Coughing, Sneezing, or Laughing Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing.

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  6. 6.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.

    You should visit your primary care physician within the next 24 hours for a sick visit. It seems that you have rib pain that doesn't have a specific cause, likely just a viral infection. Your doctor needs to still rule out other possible causes of your pain.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, muscle aches, fever, cough with dry or watery sputum, congestion
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Pulmonary Embolism

    A pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in an artery in the lungs. It is a serious condition that can cause permanent damage to the affected lung, low oxygen levels in your blood, or damage to other organs in your body from not getting enough oxygen.

    Call 911 immediately. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate diagnosis and treatment.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, cough, fever, being severely ill, wheezing
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  8. 8.Lung Abscess

    An abscess is a collection of pus which results from an infection. A lung abscess may form following an infection such as pneumonia.

    You should visit your primary care physician within the next 24 hours. Your doctor will confirm the diagnosis with an X-Ray. Treatment for a lung abscess involves prescription antibiotics.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    coughing up green or yellow phlegm, rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, night sweats, unintentional weight loss, severe fever
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  9. 9.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.

    You should go to the ER immediately as a pneumothorax can de-stabilize your ability to breathe and your blood flow from the heart. Diagnosis involves an immediate chest x-ray. Confirmation leads to different decisions on whether to treat the pneumothorax or let it heal naturally under doctor supervision.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, shortness of breath, rib pain on one side, rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, racing heart beat
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  10. 10.Parapneumonic Effusion and Empyema

    The lungs are separated from the rest of the body by two layers of membrane called pleura. In between these two layers, there is a space called the pleural space. If an abnormal amount of fluid accumulates in this space (which could happen as a result of infection), the lungs cannot function as well as they should, causing symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, and chest pain.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an urgent care clinic or ER, because immediate intervention may be needed to make sure the body is receiving enough oxygen. Prescription medication will likely be used to treat the underlying infection, if present.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    being severely ill, shortness of breath, fever, rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, coughing up green or yellow phlegm
    Symptoms that always occur with parapneumonic effusion and empyema:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Rib Pain That Gets Worse When Breathing, Coughing, Sneezing, or Laughing

  • Q.Is your chest wall pain getting better or worse?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you have a cough?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing symptom checker.

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Rib Pain That Gets Worse When Breathing, Coughing, Sneezing, or Laughing Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing have also experienced:

    • 12% Chest Pain That Gets Worse When Breathing or Coughing
    • 8% Rib Pain on One Side
    • 7% Rib Pain
  • People who have experienced rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing had symptoms persist for:

    • 48% Less Than a Day
    • 23% Less Than a Week
    • 14% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing were most often matched with:

    • 16% Bacterial Pneumonia
    • 11% Bronchitis
    • 3% Coxsackie b Virus Infection

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    Rib Pain That Gets Worse When Breathing, Coughing, Sneezing, or Laughing Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing.

    Take a quiz