The bones of the upper ribs and the sternum are connected together with the help of a cartilage. The inflammation of this cartilage is called costochondritis.
This condition causes localized tenderness and pain in the chest wall. It can be felt as a stabbing pain beneath the rib cage and is strongly associated with breathing difficulties. The pain and tenderness associated with costochondritis usually worsen when you a cough, breathe deeply, or if the trunk moves. Patients usually begin to take quick short breaths to compensate for the pain.
This condition can develop as a result of trauma, injury, physical strain (lifting heavy objects), arthritis, infections or joint. People between the ages of 20 and 40 are more likely to develop costochondritis. It is considered the most common cause of musculoskeletal chest pain.
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There are some other conditions that have similar symptoms. The pain under the ribs on the right side could be due to a muscle pull or a back injury. If you take a look at the human anatomy, organs located on the right side below the rib cage are the liver, gallbladder, and a portion of the large intestine.
Pain under the rib cage on the right side is called upper quadrant (CSD) pain as a right in medical terminology. Any type of damage to the liver, inflammation of the liver, or infection can result in pain under the right rib cage. Liver diseases such as hepatitis, fatty liver, and liver cirrhosis, tend to cause pain in this region.
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Gallbladder diseases can also cause pain in the upper right quadrant that can be experienced as a pain under the ribs. These diseases occur mainly due to gallstones, and more rarely due to inflammation of the gallbladder. In addition to that, people with Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowel disease), irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcers may experience severe pain in the upper right abdomen. This is also true for those who overeat.
Given the given symptoms, the most likely cause of pain below the right ribcage is costochondritis. This is because none of the diseases listed above, except costochondritis, have any association with difficulty breathing or increased pain with movement.
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The pain that occurs due to costochondritis usually resolves spontaneously and does not require any medical intervention. However, if you are experiencing this pain frequently, you should consult your doctor.
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The following lab tests will help you rule out other medical conditions:
Complete blood count (CSC)
Liver Function Tests (PFH)
Kidney Function Tests (RFTS)
If these tests are normal, the pain is most likely due to costochondritis. The treatment of costochondritis is symptomatic. Anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed to reduce pain.