What are the Most Common Causes of Chest and Rib Pain?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2018
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Chest pain is a common discomfort for many individuals that can be related to multiple diseases, illnesses, and disorders. Due to the concerns of heart diseases and serious illnesses, any chest discomfort should be reviewed by a medical professional. Most chest and rib pain is due to less serious problems including heartburn and indigestion.

A bruised rib can be an extremely painful experience. This can occur easily through accidental falls or sports injuries. Most individuals who suffer from this type of injury complain of chest and rib pain. An x-ray exam is typically required to determine the level of injury. Most rib injuries can take between four to six weeks to completely heal.

Indigestion and heart burn is a condition that plagues many people. This is typically related to poor eating habits and spicy foods. Indigestion is a common cause of pain in the chest, primarily because of acid and gasses that come from the stomach area. This pain can be worse if the individual suffers from ulcers in the esophagus.

The flu can cause symptoms of chest pain and discomfort. This is typically caused by excessive coughing and overall body aches experienced with the flu. Chest and rib pain can occur with small muscle spasms that are accompanied with coughing. Continued coughing for several weeks could be a sign of more serious ailments including bronchitis and pneumonia. This type of illness typically requires medical treatment and antibiotics to resolve the infection.


Many heart diseases are common contributors to chest and rib pain. The symptoms of heart failure include tightness of the chest, pain in the chest or rib area, and shooting pain throughout the arm. If an individual has any of theses symptoms he should seek immediate medical attention.

Smoking can cause also cause chest pain in an individual. This is primarily due to the toxic effects that smoking has on the lungs and body. Smoking for extended periods of time can lead to a smoker's cough. This is a daily cough that can last for several minutes or long periods throughout the day. Continued coughing puts stress on the chest muscles and rib cage that, in turn, creates soreness and pain.

Asthma is a chronic condition that plagues many people. An asthma sufferer experiences tightness in his chest area and has difficulty breathing. If not properly treated, this can lead to chest and rib pain. Most asthma sufferers use special inhalers to prevent breathing discomfort during an attack.


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Post 3

I have had some odd pain in my ribs every now and then. They don't feel like they are coming from inside the chest, so I don't worry about it being a heart attack.

It feels more like a cramp. I have a rather large chest and I suspect that the pains are caused by the muscles underneath the breast tissue when they get tired or if I'm wearing an ill fitting bra.

I find them very difficult to relax, but I find that if they are cramping up a fair amount that a tab of ibuprofen can help and a hot shower can do wonders also.

Post 2

While I was still a smoker I would get that chest pain. Sometimes it would be after coughing a lot, but often it would just happen for seemingly no reason.

A couple of times I was convinced I was having a heart attack, only for it to pass a few moments later.

It took a few months after I stopped smoking for that to pass, but I'm glad to say that it never happens anymore.

If you are in constant chest pain because of your smoking habit, you should take the hint and stop smoking.

Your body is trying to tell you something, and you will feel much better for it if you would listen!

Post 1

My mother was once in a very stressful job which had her working for long hours, with very little time to herself.

After months of stress, in the middle of a meeting she started having chest pains and collapsed. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital and kept there for a couple of day, and run through lots of tests.

Everyone was expecting that she had had a small heart attack, because the symptoms seemed clear enough and she was overweight and in her fifties.

But, in the end they determined that there was nothing wrong with her. Her rib and chest pains were from stress and nothing more. Her cholesterol wasn't even that high.

So I guess stress is another cause for chest pain, although if you feel it you should immediately call an ambulance and let them sort it out.

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