Rib Pain Right Side Tender to Touch and Its 3 Simple Causes

We commonly associate rib pain right side tender to touch as a sensation with trauma or injury. Pain may or may not disrupt your daily activities as people have a diverse pain tolerance range.

Or, sometimes, pain on right side under ribs towards back points to something specific from within or outside our body that triggers it. Before rummaging through search engines for the clinical signs and symptoms and what they mean, we have to know what that pain indicates.

So, you have a tender spot under the right rib cage? Pain on the right side under ribs towards the back? Or is your lower right rib sore to the touch?

Let’s discuss what triggers your rib pain right side tender to touch? And what is the rib pain right side tender to touch treatment?

Clinical significance of rib pain right side tender to touch

We jump on the internet for the answers to any health issues. But sometimes, they can be severely misleading. As a medical practitioner, let me tell you what rib pain right side tender to touch means.

rib pain right side tender to touch

Biliary colic

It’s the term used for abdominal pain due to gallstones. Having gallstones will trigger a shooting abdominal pain which may last from an hour to roughly five hours. However, in some instances, the pain will only last momentarily.

Biliary colic or gallbladder pain is a sensation or distinguished pain in the core of your stomach or merely a rib pain right side tender to touch, and it may disperse from there to your rear or shoulders.

The pain typically succeeds after consuming fatty foods. It remains consistent even with attempts to relieve the air in your belly. The sensation may hit you at any point in time, and the level of rib pain at night may wake you up or keep you awake.

Although the attack once it occurs happens constantly, the preceding episode might occur again after a few weeks or months. The pain might cause profuse sweating and may come with nausea and vomiting.

If gallstones are the primary etiology of your rib pain right side tender to touch, this is uncomplicated gallstone disease. Your doctor will do an ultrasound and laboratory investigations to confirm this diagnosis and offer you treatments ranging from oral medications to possible surgery.

Renal stones

A renal stone can also produce rib pain right side tender to touch. Renal stones are hard lumps formed in the right kidney by minerals in your urine. Nephrolithiasis is the medical name for this.

Renal calculi are frequent, with 1 out of 11 persons experiencing symptoms. They are somewhat more prevalent in men than in women.

Kidney stones, like gallstones, do not necessarily cause discomfort. Nevertheless, if a kidney stone becomes stuck in your urinary tract or creates an infection, it can cause pain in your right upper quadrant, crotch, or lower back.

rib pain right side tender to touch

You may also need to urinate more frequently or suffer pain when urinating, and your urine may include blood.

Renal calculi generally travel through your body in your urine, so if you have discomfort, it should subside after the stone is gone from your body.

Nonetheless, if the symptoms are severe, consult a doctor immediately, who may transfer you to a hospital.

Accumulation of gas

Gas accumulation in your stomach is a common occurrence. When you feel a rib pain right side tender to touch as if there is trapped air, the following might be the reasons.

Trapped wind happens when gas accumulates in your gastrointestinal tract when you ingest air or as a result of your stomach breaking meals. So, this triggers abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence while your stomach is making gurgling sounds.

The other possible answers as to why you may remain to struggle with trapped wind sensation are as follows:

You eat in a manner and way that is a little too eagerly, which makes you swallow extra air—leading to pain or trapped air in the upper abdomen.

Meanwhile, if you have a food intolerance, your lower belly will suffer more. And you will feel pain under right rib when breathing.

Or, the sensation is due to diseases like Coeliac, inflammatory bowel diseases (i.e., Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis), Diverticulitis, overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestines, giardiasis, or malignancy of the ovaries.

Does my chest pain a sign of a heart attack?

There are various sensations of pain referring to the chest that might only be mimicking the symptoms of a heart attack. So, what if you do have pain under right rib when breathing or rib pain left side? What does it mean?

The sensation might be due to Costochondritis. Costochondritis is the soreness of cartilage that links the rib to the sternum. The symptoms are the same as having chest pain. So, when you try to do deep breathing or cough it out, it will become more painful.

Costochondritis

Costochondritis is also known as the pain of the chest wall. While the condition has an unknown cause, the management only focuses on controlling the sensation of pain and wait until it becomes okay. It resolves on its own however the condition usually lasts long.

Since costochondritis resembles the chest pain leading to a heart attack, it is best not to ignore it. If the pain persists for an extended period and does not go away, consult your doctor.

If you believe you are suffering a cardiac arrest, you must obtain emergency medical attention right once. A heart attack can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Chest discomfort on the left and center sides of your chest
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Pain felt in your jaw, extremities such as your arms and shoulders
  • Dizziness and queasiness
  • Cardiac attacks are more extensive in those over 40, especially if they have underlying heart problems

What could be the other reasons for pain under right rib when breathing?

It might be due to a condition known as, Pleurisy. The condition is an inflammation that occurs within the linings of your lungs, causing friction, thereby leading to pain. It usually lasts from a couple of days to two weeks, and with the aid of antibiotics or naturally, the condition may resolve.

Bronchitis is also a lung condition that causes soreness in the chest or rib area along with cough, colds, and difficulty breathing.

I have right ribs tender to touch, is this due to an injury or my muscles and bones?

Do you have rib pain right side tender to touch or right rib cage tender to touch? The sensation might be due to your muscles or bones or an injury.

Muscle strains can develop because of an accident, coughing, or bending. Rib fractures are pretty frequent and can cause excruciating agony. You can also crush ribs or bone damaged but without breaking.

Although the sternum is seldom broken, chest injury can cause various anomalies spanning from simple fractures to flailing chest. Rib fractures can develop with osteoporosis with relatively little stress.

If you feel that your right side ribs tender to touch, you might have a case of RA or rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis – both are autoimmune disorders.

Or the tender to touch right side under ribs might be a case of intercostal neuralgia, which arises from:

  • Trauma
  • Viral infections of the chest
  • Neuritis
  • Malignancy
  • A complication of surgery

I’m pregnant and I have rib pain right side tender to touch

Rib cage discomfort, particularly upper rib cage pain, is also very prevalent during pregnancy. In most cases, the discomfort felt can be caused by the baby’s placement or the round ligament.

If you experience have tender to touch right side under ribs, which occurs much less frequently after the 20th week of pregnancy, it might be a symptom of preeclampsia or Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelets syndrome which is a medical emergency.

FAQ

Why is my rib sore to the touch?

If you experience rib pain right side tender to touch, this might be due to many reasons ranging from an injury or trauma. Or, it can be from a referred pain from a liver, kidney, pancreas, gallbladder issue, or even a form of malignancy. If you are unsure of what triggers this sensation, consult your doctor right away for the appropriate measures, treatment approach, and modalities.

What is hurting under my right rib cage?

It pays to know the location and structure of your abdomen and what it points you to. Your stomach is divided into four lobes. The right upper region is the part of your body beneath your right ribs, and abrupt acute pain in this location can affect neighboring systems such as the renal, liver, and gallbladder.

Having pain under the right rib cage may be due to gallstones, renal stones, and liver conditions.

How do you know if rib pain is muscular?

To determine if your rib pain right side tender to touch complaint is due to a muscular issue, the following might help you identify the matter:

Upon sustaining an injury, strain, or trauma to your chest area, you will get shooting pain, and it will increase more slowly. When you move around, twist your torso, do stretching, or even breathe, sneeze, or cough, the pain triggers and becomes worse.

The area affected by the injury or straining will be tender upon contact or touch.

Due to the pain caused by the injury, you may have trouble breathing. Shortness of breathing occurs as a compensatory mechanism for the occurrence of discomfort.

Upon sustaining the injury, you will feel that your muscles are more stiff and tight when you breathe or even with slight movements.

As part of the body’s response to trauma, inflammation will occur, too. The area affected or strained will become inflamed and may create a tender sensation when touched.

Does Covid make your rib cage hurt?

COVID – 19 stemmed from the SARS-COV2 virus. The virus targets everyone differently from all sorts of ages, races, and gender. COVID-19 can typically spread through droplet transmission with vaporizers from someone afflicted who sneezes, coughs, talks, or respires in adjacent closeness to others. Droplets with aerosols can be inspired or placed in the nasal area and oral region or on the eyes.

More seldom, contamination may be due to surface contact that is polluted with droplets.

The usual manifestations of pain around ribs and back symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue

Lesser typical manifestations are:

  • Body aches
  • Soreness of throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • A rash on the skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes

Given the symptoms mentioned above, the person afflicted with COVID-19 suffers from the depletion of ample oxygen supply in the body, making it difficult to breathe and a tendency to cough more.

Coughing episodes are often accompanied by rib discomfort. Patients with COVID-19 cough so much that some people experience and cause rib joint dysfunction and long-term discomfort.

Conclusion

Rib cage discomfort can indicate a variety of musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal disorders within or outside of the chest. Some of these disorders might be difficult to identify unless with the help of your physician or a healthcare provider.

Taking a comprehensive history is frequently the most critical single factor in determining an explanation so that you may treat the underlying reason.

Remember that your rib cage covers most of the body’s vital organs, so it pays to stay alert and remain observant of your manifestations as to where they might lead you to.

Some rib pain right side tender to touch sensations are referred pain, a condition that stems from other parts of your body apart from your chest.

Common medical emergencies like chest pain that may lead to cardiac arrest or HELLP syndrome for pregnant women require urgent attention. It is best not to ignore your symptoms of rib pain that persists.

If you sustained an injury or trauma, and have rib pain that is tender to touch, do not move abruptly as it will cause more discomfort. Specific investigations like X-ray, Ultrasound, MRI, or CT scans will help diagnose the severity of the trauma and determine the type of management you will need.

Consult the advice of a physician when you are unsure of what triggers your rib pain and if it persists despite initial treatment measures received.

Dr. Omair Ansar, MBBS, MSc

Dr. Omair is a skilled medical doctor with a degree in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Baqai Medical University. In 2018, he completed a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Management with distinction from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK. With 9 years of clinical and non-clinical experience, Dr. Omair has gained hands-on experience and extensive knowledge in the medical field. He is currently working in a multinational healthcare organization in Saudi Arabia where his primary responsibility is to train doctors, pharmacists, and nurses about the most updated clinical guidelines as well as conduct case discussions with various specialties to ensure patient safety and satisfaction. Dr. Omair is also an exceptional medical reviewer with expertise in the field of healthcare, pharmaceutical, food and nutrition as well as medical insurance. He has years of experience in writing and reviewing medical articles.

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