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Question about rib pain


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Hi! I have a question about rib pain....it's been years now for me, but I have debilitating pain in my ribs. The first time it happened was in 1999. I'll never forget it because I also got shingles, after an extreme version of flu. The "flu" I got was so bad that I would grab onto the coffee table, while coughing and cough so hard I held onto the table with all my might. I've been an asthmatic my whole life, but this was so much more. As a result of this, I had horrible spasms in my rib cage, and my doctor sent me to pulmonary rehabilitation in the hopes that I'd quit smoking.

I did quit smoking. The Pulmonary Rehab opened my eyes in a big way. Here I was, in a room of people on oxygen, and I was shocked at how their lives were changed due to their diminished lung capacity!

But ever since then, I've struggled with pain in my ribs. it feels like I'm getting a charley horse between my ribs. It hurts horribly, and my doctors can not find a reason for it.

My Oncologist told me that this could be kidney damage due to the chemo, and if my magnesium was low to let him know. I told this to my regular doctor, and he said my magnesium was low, but that my kidney function was fine according to the blood tests. So what?

If I stand for more than 30 minutes, I get these horrific cramps in my ribs. If I sit for more than 30 minutes, I get the same. If I walk for more than 30 minutes, the same.....I am so upset about this. My body wants to sleep until noon because of the pain that I have to face if I'm up for long periods of time.

I have an active lifestyle, and this is having a big impact on that. My doctor suggested an anti-depressant, and I totally do not want to go there. I am not depressed. I do feel sad that my body is not happy, but don't think an anti-depressant is the solution. There must be a reason for my muscle spasms....there has to be.....

So I ask here, has anybody experienced this? My Mom also had horrible rib pain after her surgery...could this be a result of the lung removal???? I'd love some feedback on this. It is totally ruining my quality of life.


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You said it started in 1999 but your surgery wasn't until a few years ago. I would lightly conclude that they are not related, though surgery may have increased the severity?

My rib pain faded away within a year of surgery, thankfully. I have enough other side effects and reminders.

Are you taking pain meds or trying ibuprofen (my favorite)? It might also be worth trying acupuncture - it may be difficult to prove it cures everything, but there is plenty of evidence that it can relieve pain and nausea.

Just a couple of thoughts.

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I have had rib pain since my surgery in 07, but not as frequently as you. I had Vat's surgery and the pain is just on that side. My Oncologist told me that it could be a permanent side effect. If you are having it in other area's then there must be a cause for it. Just based on my minimum rib pain, I can understand how it would affect your activities.

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Once in a while if I twist or bend the wrong way, I will get a charley horse type spasm under my ribs on my left side that can take my breath away and remain sore for several days.

I asked my surgeon about it last year when I saw him, and his comment was that the structures inside in that area had changed and shifted with the removal of that upper left lobe, and, along with ribs being spread for surgery, etc, that was a consequence of surgery. So, I try to be careful and when it happens, just wait it out.


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Thank you all. It seems there is a pattern here. I am taking your input to my doctor. I remember my Mom had the same rib pain, but hers was only on the right side. Mine is the whole rib cage, and moves back and forth, front and back. But I so appreciate your feedback and support. I hope to find answers because of this.

Hugs and thank you.


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