The rib cage gives support and protection to various important tissues and organs in your chest, thoracic cavity, and abdominal area. Rib cage region is an area that one could experience pain for different reasons. In case of accidents, this region is more prone and an individual could sustain serious injuries that could lead to discomfort.
Pain experienced under the left rib cage could be arising from any organ or body part in the region such as spine, left ribs, and chest. In healthy persons, the pain could result from gas built-up and irritation of the spleen. At times, an individual can experience psychological pain such as pain from cardiac neurosis or irritable heart. However, doctors should first exclude physical causes and try to determine if there are other complications that could be causing the discomfort.
Symptoms of left rib cage pain
Patients experience a sharp, radiating, stabbing, shooting pain below the left rib cage. The pain is more pronounced when individuals engage in daily activities such typing, lifting objects and running among others. One could confuse the pain to cardiac attack as they mimic each other. The pain often results in breathing difficulties.
The procedure that follows depends on the disorder suspected. Some of the investigations that could follow include gastric studies to determine gastrointestinal problems, laboratory tests to investigate if there is any infection or other related parameters. Image studies such as CT scan and X-rays could also be carried out to determine any fractures, abnormality, and injuries.
Pain on left side under rib cage – causes
There are many reasons that could make an individual experience the pain. Some are mild while others are exceedingly serious and it is vital a remedy is taken immediately. Some of these causes include:
Aggressive activities that exert pressure on the muscles, especially before preparing the body for such strenuous activities could result to a stitch. Stitches are sharp pains that occur in the rib cage due to pulling of muscles. To avoid such pains, it is advisable that an individual does warm ups to prepare the body physically for exercises.
Stomach acids can seep through your food pipe leading to pain and heartburn. Such pain is more pronounced below the rib cage on the left. This situation is more common when someone takes a lot of acidic drinks and food.
Pain on the left rib cage is a major symptom of stomach ulcers. The intensity of this pain will vary from one person to another. It also takes different periods for the pain to reduce depending on the extent of the stomach ulcers. Individuals who suffer from the ulcers often complain that the pain sometimes spreads even to the shoulders.
Traumas can lead to injury on one of your ribs below the left rib cage. Damage of the ribs causes a severe sharp pain especially during deep breaths. Such injuries often go unnoticed as they can only be determined through chest X-rays.
This refers to an infection on the stomach lining due to bacteria and is associated with acute pain. Such gastrointestinal diseases affect digestion and can even lead to severe pain, inflammation and vomiting in some instances.
It is an infection on the cartilage that joins the ribs and breastbone. Costochondritis often results in sharp pains when one takes a deep breath. It is caused by traumas on the shoulder and rib cage. It can also arise due to viral infections. People mistake this condition for heart attacks because of the area where the pain is located.
A rupture or injury on the spleen can lead to serious irritations and discomforts below the rib cage. Progressive irritation also causes the top part of the patient’s shoulder to ache. If medical attention is not sort in good time, the condition could get worse.
Lungs can collapse due to damage of the membrane cover of the lungs. This causes air to leak to the region between lungs and rib cage resulting in a sharp pain around the ribs damaged. The pain could occur at the two sides of a patient’s rib cage leading to a condition known as pneumothorax. This is a serious condition and medical care should be sought immediately to avoid further complications.
There are different types of treatment depending on the cause of the illness. Anti- inflammatory medicine is administered to reduce cartilage inflammation and ease the pain. Nerve stimulation and physical therapy can help reduce pain. Spleens that have ruptured require immediate surgery before the condition becomes fatal. Surgery may also be recommended if a patient has a broken rib.
Disorders of gastroesophageal reflux are treated using proton-pump inhibitors, H2 receptor blockers, and antacids. The best kind of treatment is a change of lifestyle, which includes a proper diet that will maintain long term treatment. A similar type of treatment is recommended for patients with stomach ulcers. Splenic flexure disorder is treated using anticholinergic and antispasmodic agents, which decrease the level of muscle spasms present in the patient’s colon.