Why Do My Ribs Hurt When I Sit Too Long? Probable Causes and Treatments!

You might sometimes experience excruciating rib pain, ranging from sharp stabbing pain to dull achy pain, which is usually felt above the navel region or below the chest. However, this rib cage pain might be due to several reasons, such as pulled or bruised ribs or other apparent injuries.

But why do my ribs hurt when I sit too long?

Rib pain while sitting can be due to several underlying conditions, such as bruised or strained ribs. These musculoskeletal issues can lead to severe discomfort in the rib region while sitting. However, other issues such as GERD, constipation, or pneumonia can also be probable causes. However, sometimes there might not be any evident reasons behind the pain, just a faulty sit-back or lousy position.

Let’s explore!

Symptoms of a Rib Pain

Rib pain can be frustrating and exhausting most of the time. You might experience severe and unbearable pain while touching them. Furthermore, the pain might radiate from the top of the rib cage in the front to the bottom and further to the back and groin region.

However, rib cage pain can be due to several underlying disorders or traumatic injuries, but it is necessary to know the actual cause!

rib-pain

Before leading towards the causes of rib pain, let’s discover some eminent signs and symptoms of rib cage pain. Symptoms of pain around the ribs and back are as under;

  • Sharp stabbing or dull-achy pain above the navel region
  • Burning sensation in the ribs region
  • Chest deformity
  • Ribs bruising
  • Feeling of a pulled muscle near the rib region
  • Difficult breathing
  • Painful deep breaths
  • Costochondral subluxation
  • Rib cage joints pain
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Mild to moderate fever
  • Difficult sleeping
  • Difficulty in sitting for too long
  • Fast heart rate in case of cardiac pain

Causes of Ribs Pain: Why Do My Ribs Hurt When I Sit Too Long?

Rib pain occurs more often than your expectations, which can be annoying sometimes. It might cause trouble sleeping, sitting, or even standing, thus creating issues in your everyday chores.

However, experiencing rib pain while sitting or resting might lead you to the query, “can your ribs hurt from sitting too long?”

Nevertheless, there are several causes associated with rib pain while sitting. However, it entirely depends upon whether due to injury or not.

Rib pain after a traumatic injury can be due to fractures such as clavicles, ribs, or sternum. In contrast, rib pain without any injury might be due to muscle strains in the chest region or joint inflammation.

human-rib-cage-anatomy

Some common causes of rib pain are as follows;

  • Pulled ribs
  • Bruised ribs
  • Strained ribs
  • Cardiac pain
  • Rib fractures due to any trauma or chest injury
  • The clavicle or sternal fractures lead to excruciating pain under the shoulder blades
  • Internal injuries, such as trauma to the chest wall, can contribute widely to intensifying rib pain
  • Lung bruising also causes severe pain
  • Costochondral inflammation
  • Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis
  • Chronic pain syndrome, i.e., fibromyalgia
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Sternalis and Tietze syndromes

However, let’s look into the prominent causes of rib pain on either side.

Left Rib Pain While Sitting

When you feel a sharp pain under your left rib cage, it could indicate an infection or inflammation in the stomach. Some people also experience this type of discomfort when they have an injury to other organs on the left side of the body, such as the heart, left lung, left kidney, spleen, and pancreas.

left-rib-pain

However, the leading causes associated with left rib pain are as under;

  • It can be due to any respiratory issue.
  • Costochondritis (inflammation of the ribs cartilage)
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium- the layer surrounding the heart)
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation or burning of the pancreas)
  • Pleurisy or pleuritis (burning or inflammation of the pleural membrane, which covers the lungs)
  • Kidney stones in the left kidney (calcium and salt deposition in the ducts of the kidney)
  • Gastritis (inflammation of the gut mucosal lining)

Right Rib Pain While Sitting

The pain under your ribs on the right side can come from various causes, including poor posture and sitting for too long. Moreover, an injury during a sports event can also lead to bruised ribs.

right-rib-pain

However, some significant causes of pain under the right rib cage involve the following;

  • Muscle strains, bruises, or pulls
  • Costochondral subluxation
  • Joint inflammation
  • Kidney stones in the right kidney
  • Gas issues such as acid reflux or gastritis
  • Gallstones in the gallbladder
  • Right lung pleurisy or pleuritis
  • Liver issues or hepatic inflammation
  • Popped rib
  • Dull pain under the right rib cage-female can be due to several other reasons, such as a urinary tract infection, kidney infection or kidney stones, or kidney cancer which can lead to RUQ pain (right upper quadrant) later.

However, if a dull pain under the right rib cage comes and goes often, consult your doctor immediately as it could be due to a serious underlying health issue!

Rib Pain When Sitting or Lying Down

Remember that you don’t always need a valid reason for rib pain to occur. Sitting for too long or having a lousy posture can also do the task.

my-ribs-hurt-when-i-sit-too-long

However, if you feel a racking rib pain while sitting or lying down, it might be a probable indication of a bruised or pulled rib. Moreover, rib pain while lying down signifies massive chances of Costochondritis.

Why Do My Ribs Hurt When I Wake Up?

Have you ever felt pain under your ribs while getting up from sleep or lying down?

However, if you’re experiencing pain in your ribcage, arm, and shoulder after sleeping, it could be due to poor-lousy posture or sleeping position.

Side sleepers are at a considerable risk of exerting excessive pressure and strain on their rib cages, thus harrowing pain because their bodies aren’t correctly aligned.

Therefore, you will likely develop rib pain after waking up from sleep or while lying down, usually because of improper alignment and extra pressure on the ribcage!

Why Do My Ribs Hurt When I Sit Down?

A slouched posture and forward rolled shoulders contribute to rib pain while sitting.

Furthermore, other common reasons behind rib pain when sitting down are as follows;

  • Hunching posture stretching the upper ribs and upper thoracic spine
  • A minor spine curve can put extra pressure on the rib cage while sitting
  • Scoliosis
  • Musculoskeletal issues include popped ribs, bruised ribs, pulled or strained ribs, etc.

Why Do My Ribs Hurt When I Stand Too Long?

Rib pain while standing is only concerned with posture maintenance. An appalling or lousy posture is the leading cause of rib pain when you stand for too long.

However, several underlying issues can also be the main reason behind persisting rib pain, already described earlier!

How to Treat a Painful Rib?

Following are some treatment options for rib pain;

  • OTC therapeutics such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc., reduce pain.
  • You can use cold or heat therapy if you suffer from swelling in the affected area.
  • Cold therapy is also effective in relieving joint inflammation.
  • Compression wrap is efficacious when OTC medicines don’t ease the discomfort.
  • Analgesic ointments have a profound effect on reducing rib pain.
  • A biopsy or surgery usually treats chronic rib pain if bone cancer is the underlying condition.
  • When a surgical operation isn’t possible, chemotherapy or radiotherapy comes into action.

When to See a Doctor?

Consult your doctor when;

  • You experience shortness of breath.
  • Persistent fever, which might get high at times.
  • Fast or irregular pulse/ heart rate.
  • Extreme nausea or vomiting.
  • Persistent chronic chest pain.

Final Verdict

So, your query, “why do my ribs hurt when I sit too long?” is quite clear now with its primary concerns!

Rib pain is a common occurrence that most people deal with these days. It might be due to a poor posture or a faulty sit-back.

However, the radiating pain can sometimes be due to underlying medical issues such as Costochondritis, fibromyalgia, kidney and lung issues, GI tract infections, or even cardiac issues.  

Moreover, the pain is horrifying and aggravating most of the time and should be treated immediately. Some home remedies to treat rib pain involve OTC drugs, Analgesia, compression wrap, heat therapy, and ice therapy.

However, if the pain persists and doesn’t improve through home remedies, consult your doctor immediately, as he might advise you on some surgical operation or biopsy, depending upon the severity and cause of the pain!

FAQs

Why does under my ribs hurt when I sit?

You must see a doctor when you feel pain below your ribs while sitting.

Pain that radiates from the stomach or goes up into your shoulder region (expanding throughout the ribcage) may be caused by problems with your organs such as GI tract (gastrointestinal), liver, kidney, or gallbladder and lung issues like pneumonia, bronchitis, etc.

Why do my ribs hurt when I sit up?

Pain in the ribs after physical exercises like sit-ups might indicate muscle soreness or tenderness.

Soreness in your ribs after physical activity is a telltale sign that you’ve been pushing yourself hard. It might be due to physical exertion and stress on the abdominal muscles, typically leading to a pulled or strained muscle.

What does it mean when your ribs constantly hurt?

Rib cage pain is one of the most common medical issues that many people deal with. It can be caused by various things, ranging from pulled muscles to rib fractures.

However, if your ribs are constantly hurting, it might be due to a severe underlying issue like pneumonia, pleuritis, kidney stones, cardiac pain, etc., which needs to be treated immediately!

How can I stop my rib cage from hurting?

You can stop your rib cage from hurting through various home remedies such as cold compression, ice therapy, heat therapy, OTC medications like acetaminophen, or analgesic ointments.

However, if the pain is chronic, your doctor might advise you to have surgery, biopsy, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy!

Minahil Laraib Asif

Minahil Laraib Asif

Hi, This is Minahil Laraib Asif, an MBBS student from Karachi Medical and Dental College (KMDC) in Pakistan. Studying medicine is my passion, and the desire to live my life in service to humanity has led me to pursue my career in medicine. As a medical student, it's essential to know how to balance projects and work while maintaining a healthy social life. Investigating and exploring newer disclosures has always been a source of gratification for me. For this reason, I have developed my career in writing articles as well, since it brings me great delight while researching various projects, and presenting such information to people, that they may otherwise never come across.

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