Read below about spontaneous rib pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your spontaneous 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.

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

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9 Potential Spontaneous 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.Panic Disorder

    Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror without true danger. One may feel as if they are losing control or have physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart.

    Chronic with relapses

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    anxiety, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, depressed mood
    Symptoms that always occur with panic disorder:
    anxiety
    Symptoms that never occur with panic disorder:
    agoraphobia
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.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
  4. 4.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

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  5. 5.Bacterial Pneumonia

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

    1-3 weeks

    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
  6. 6.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.

    Without surgery, this is a lifelong condition.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, anxiety, rib pain, shortness of breath, racing heart beat
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.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.

    Symptoms begin to improve within a few days.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.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
  9. 9.Lung Cancer (Non - Small Cell)

    Duplicate: 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.

    Duplicate: 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

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Spontaneous 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 spontaneous rib pain symptom checker to find out more.

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Spontaneous Rib Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

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

    • 28% Spontaneous Chest Pain
    • 6% Rib Pain on One Side
    • 5% Shortness of Breath
  • 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
  • People who have experienced spontaneous rib pain were most often matched with:

    • 40% Acute Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)
    • 21% Normal Occurence of Chest Pain
    • 7% Panic Disorder
  • 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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