Pain Under Rib Cage

Most of the time, pain under rib cage is not serious and could be related to a mild health issue such as indigestion or a minor muscle strain. However, if pain is continuous and chronic, or it includes severe stabbing sensations or other symptoms, it can be an indication of a serious medical issue, including liver infection. So it is best to visit your doctor for sure.

Causes of Pain under Rib Cage




Indigestion typically triggers pain under the left side of the rib cage. If there is a sudden onset of pain or the pain follows an unusually large meal, it can indicate a digestive problem. Pain typically passes within a short time and is relieved by burping.

Strained Muscle

Straining a muscle anywhere in the torso can cause rib cage pain. If you exercise without warming up or cooling down, you increase your risk of pulling muscles. Some people call this type of pain a stitch.


Appendicitis is a fairly common condition that requires immediate medical attention. Many people experience appendicitis are struck by a severe pain under the right side of the rib cage. In most cases, an appendectomy is performed and the appendix is removed before it bursts.


Gastritis is a gastrointestinal disorder that causes pain under the left side of the rib cage. It is caused by a bacterial infection in the lining of the stomach. It triggers inflammation and affects digestive function. Usually, the rib cage pain is accompanied by vomiting.

Gallbladder Problems

Gallbladder issues cause pain below the rib cage. They are usually triggered by gall stones. A large meal can also overburden your gallbladder, especially if it is high in fat.

Intestinal Tract Problems

If there is too much gas in the system it can cause rib cage pain. Pain can also be triggered when there is an infection in the intestinal tract or if a person has ulcerative colitis, IBS, or IBD.


Usually, pain radiates to the mid-torso when pain is related to the pancreas.

Liver Problems

Rib cage pain can also indicate a problem with your liver function or an infection in your liver.


The cartridges in the rib cage connect the ribs and the breastbone. Costochondritis occurs in the left side of the rib cage and is caused when the cartridges become infected, which results in an acute pain, especially during deep inhalations.

Backbone Sickness

If you injury your backbone or get an infection in the spine it can trigger rib cage pain. The pain can radiate around the entire body.

Heart Attack

Though symptoms of a heart attack typically occur in the chest, back, and upper body, the pain can radiate into the rib cage. If you feel a sharp pain that does not subside, you should seek immediate medical attention, just in case it involves your heart.

Treatment Suggestions for Pain under Rib Cage

image001Treatment for pain under the rib cage varies depending on the cause. To choose the correct treatment, your doctor must perform an exam and diagnose the cause of the problem.

  • Often, pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. In instances when pain is related to gastrointestinal disorders, dietary changes might be recommended. If a serious issue is suspected, your doctor will order additional testing to determine the problem.
  • People often take pain in the left side of their rib cage more seriously than that in their right because the left side is associated with heart health. Though left side pain can be an indication of a serious problem, you should not rule out severe medical issues just because the pain occurs on the right side of your body. In rare instances, pain in the right side of the rib cage is caused by a tumor or other serious health issue.
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