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Why Do My Ribs Hurt After Working Out? Reasons And Remedies!

You might feel pain in your muscles and ribs after some strenuous exercises. It is more prominent when you are a beginner. You are in wonder, why do my ribs hurt after working hard? Weightlifting and bodybuilding enthusiasts often get this. 

So why do my ribs hurt after working out?

Small muscles around your rib cage may expand and contract during your workout, causing cramping and side stitches. When you exercise, the smaller ancillary muscles in that region are prone to cramping. This includes exercises after which you may feel hurt in your ribs or muscles. 

Let’s have a detailed view of the exercise and whether these convulsions are dangerous or not!

Table of Content

Why Is My Rib Cage Sore?

why do my upper ribs hurt after working out

Many factors can cause rib cage soreness. You may get sore ribs after some injury or impact blow from sports. 

Pneumonia and COVID-19 feature a large amount of coughing, which leads to rib joint disjunction and persistent pain. 

You may also face it due to muscular strain, joint inflammation, or pain syndrome of some causes. Also, muscle convulsion by taking heavy exercises like running and weightlifting can contribute too.

What Are The Causes of Rib Pain?

why do my ribs hurt after working out

Certain things contribute to rib pain when you do exercises. Here are some common causes of rib pain:

Lack of Core Stability:

When your core is not powerful as it’s supposed to be, your whole body suffers. This is because the other body areas aren’t getting the support they need. Then the different areas of your body try to compensate, which leads in pain. 

Poor posture, back pain, overall weakness, and fatigue are indications of a lack of core stability.

Fractured Or Bruised Rib:

A fracture or injury can also cause pain in the rib cage

Nevertheless, it can also mean that they bear the brunt of the damage in trauma cases, such as car accidents, steep falls, physical assaults, or even intense coughing. 

When a rib is bruised, the bone is not cracked, but it has been damaged. Both bruised and broken ribs cause pain, particularly when breathing or coughing.

Eating Fatty Foods:

After eating, you may feel pain in the left side under the rib cage if you have indigestion. Foods high in fat can form gallbladder stones, which cause pain in your abdomen, under your ribs, and on your left or right side. 

Strained Intercostal Muscles:

Intercostal muscle strain can occur as a result of various types and intensities of injury. 

It may occur due to a direct blow to the rib cage, a sudden increase in physical activity, or twisting of the torso. The result is severe back and rib pain.

Poor Running Posture:

During running, especially on a hard path, poor posture can cause muscular strains. 

Along with upper back pain, this strain can also impair the mobility of your ribs and spinal column and reduce your lung capacity.

High Carbohydrate Concentration:

Too high carbohydrate concentration may cause hyperglycemia, a technical term for high blood glucose. This condition results in uncontrolled diabetes and can cause joint pain, nerve damage, and other symptoms in the muscles and skeleton.

Sharp Or Rapid Movements During A Run:

Sharp or sudden movements may result in strains, pulled muscles, or bruised ribs. 

Broken ribs may also result in pain in the rib cage. When inhaling or moving into a certain position, you may also experience this sharp pain.

Is It Normal For Ribs To Hurt After A Workout?

my rib cage hurts after working out

According to Josh Laudig, they are just muscle cramps. Your rib muscles constrict and expand during workouts, causing cramps and side stitches. 

If it is not too intense and continuous, then it is not a reason for concern.

Intercostal muscle strain is considered the most common cause of musculoskeletal chest pain

However, advanced age or a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk.

Signs of Intercostal Muscle Strain:

Generally, your ribs hurt after working out because of muscle strains and rib inflammation. But it also could be a gesture of an injury you’re not aware of. 

There may be different signs of stress depending upon the cause:

  • Sharp rib and upper back pain
  • Stiffness and tension in the muscles.
  • The upper body cannot bend or twist.
  • Increased pain after repetitive movements, such as swimming, rowing, or other exercises.
  • Inflammation between the ribs
  • Muscle spasms in the intercostals
  • Pain worsens when you cough, sneeze or breathe deeply

What Does It Mean When Your Ribs Hurt After Running?

You feel hurt or have sore ribs after running, and it is not a pleasant feeling. There are several reasons why you have sore ribs after running, including stitches, lack of fitness, weak core strength, and strained intercostal muscles.

When running at speed causes your breathing rate to increase rapidly. This puts more strain on rarely-used muscles. One intercostal muscle between the ribs is likely the cause of the pain. 

Why Do Planks Hurt My Ribs?

Planking is considered to be a very difficult exercise. Its position is regarded as the toughest. You can feel the pain if you do wrong postures and high numbers. 

Planks can strain the muscles around the costochondral joint by pulling on the intercostal space between the ribs and the pectoral muscles. 

In addition, it can cause Costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the rib to the breastbone. 

Why Do Your Ribs Hurt After Doing Sit-ups

what to do when your ribs hurt after exercising

When you start with so many sit-ups and overstress them, your intercostal muscles create problems. 

These muscles build layers to attach your ribs, and over-exercise can strain them. 

In this condition, deep breathing may hurt and chest pain may occur.

After hardcore exercises, the abdominal muscles pull on the ribs at the attachment point. This might lead to pain in the ribs after intense exercise.

The pain should go away within a few days. 

What Should I Do If My Rib Cage Is Sore After Exercise?

First, you have to avoid the things which are chiefly responsible for the concern:

  • Avoid jerking motions or going hard and fast.
  • Limit or avoid high-fiber and gas-producing foods

You should follow the given steps to get relief from rib pain after exercise:

  • Heat therapy followed by an ice pack or cold pack.
  • Rest and avoid physical activities during muscle strain.
  • Reducing swelling and pain with pain medications
  • If breathing is unpleasant, splint the area by pressing a cushion against the affected muscle.

If rest and home remedies do not work, you may need to see a doctor. The doctor might suggest the following:

  • Apply ointments and emollients
  • Wearable devices that can help you heal by using ultrasound energy.
  • A physical therapist can help with tools such as safe stretching exercises and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units.

How Can I Heal My Ribs Faster?

If the rib cage pain is caused by a small injury, such as a bruise or a strained muscle, apply a cold compress to the affected area to minimize swelling. 

When you’re in pain, you can use over-the-counter pain medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol), paracetamol, or ibuprofen.

When Should I Be Concerned About Rib Pain?

Consult your doctor if you have rib pain that gets worse with exercise or does not improve within a few days. This could indicate an injury or a more serious problem. Stop running if you get excruciating pain.

If you get a runner’s trot or runner’s diarrhea while running long distances, consult your doctor and get tested for an underlying condition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a runner’s body?

Every runner has a physique, but the ideal runner’s body is endowed with slow-twitch and intermediate muscle fibers. There’s this stereotype of a runner’s body: long, slender, and seemingly built from miles upon miles of running.

Does sitting too much cause rib pain?

Most people who sit for long periods with bad posture have irritated the rib joints of the upper thoracic spine. After these joints have been subjected to this stress for an extended time, a seemingly tiny extra aggravation might induce severe acute pain.

Can sleeping wrong cause rib pain?

Yes, your sleeping position can cause pain in the ribs and other body parts. Try to sleep in an upright position rather than curling up. Also, avoid sleeping on the same side at all times.


So, if you’re wondering why my ribs hurt after working out, look at the reasons for rib pain after different workouts. 

It is usually not harmful, but if the pain persists, there is a chance of injury or some major problem. If you have difficulty managing the pain, contact your physician. 

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