Spontaneous Rib Pain Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand spontaneous rib pain symptoms, including 7 causes & common questions.

This symptom can also be referred to as: chest wall hurts for no reason

Spontaneous Rib Pain Symptom Checker

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

Contents

  1. 7 Possible Spontaneous Rib Pain Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

7 Possible Spontaneous Rib Pain Causes

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

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

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

Spontaneous Rib Pain Symptom Checker

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Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)

A pneumothorax occurs when air or gas leaks into the space (called the pleural space), separating the lung from the chest wall. It puts pressure on the lung, causing the lung to collapse.

Symptoms include sudden, sharp chest pain that worsens with de...

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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

Chest bruise

A bruise is the damage of the blood vessels that return blood to the heart (the capillaries and veins), which causes pooling of the blood. This explains the blue/purple color of most bruises. Bruises of the chest are common, given how exposed this area of the body is.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: rib pain, constant rib pain, rib pain from an injury, recent chest injury, bruised chest area

Symptoms that always occur with chest bruise: rib pain from an injury, recent chest injury, constant rib pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Tension pneumothorax

A tension pneumothorax is when the lung collapses due to air entering into the pleural space, the area between the lung and the chest wall. Tension pneumothorax is a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention to decompress the lung.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, shortness of breath, being severely ill, chest pain, anxiety

Symptoms that always occur with tension pneumothorax: being severely ill

Urgency: Emergency medical service

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Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Spontaneous Rib Pain

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

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

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

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Spontaneous Rib Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced spontaneous rib pain have also experienced:

  • 29% Spontaneous Chest Pain
  • 6% Rib Pain On One Side
  • 5% Shortness Of Breath

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

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

People who have experienced spontaneous 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).

Spontaneous Rib Pain Symptom Checker

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