Does it pain under your rib cage, especially on the left side? Does it feel like something is stabbing you there? Don’t worry; in most cases such pain could simply be problems with digestion or a muscle pull. Though in some cases, when the pain persists for long periods of time, it could indicate a dangerous condition such as a liver infection or a heart attack and it would be prudent to get a medical opinion from a professional.
Pain Under Left Rib Cage
There can be many causes for such pain. While not all of them are exceedingly serious, it is important to understand the cause and take suitable remedial measures.
1. Strained Muscle
Exerting muscles without preparing the body for physically strenuous activity can lead to a stitch. A stitch is a sharp pain in the rib cage that is caused by the pulling of muscles. This can be avoided if you do proper warm up before starting your exercise.
2. Acid Reflux
The seeping of stomach acids up through the food pipe can cause a heartburn and pain under the left rib cage. This is usually caused with excessive intake of acid food or drinks.
3. Stomach Ulcers
Great distress under the left rib cage could also be a symptom of a stomach ulcer. The time taken for the pain to subside and its frequency will vary based on the condition of the ulcer. It gives you pain under left rib cage, which can spread up to the shoulders.
An infection in the lining of the stomach caused by bacteria can lead to acute pain. This gastrointestinal disease can hamper digestion and will cause inflammation and pain accompanied by vomiting typically.
5. Damage to a rib
Trauma can damage one of the ribs causing pain under left rib cage. This will cause a sharp pain when taking deep breaths but the cause can only be ascertained with a chest X-ray.
Infection of the connective tissue (cartilage) joining the breastbone and the ribs can cause a sharp pain when taking deep breaths. This can be caused by a viral infection, or trauma to the rib cage and shoulder. Sometimes, it is mistaken for a heart attack because of the pain’s location. A doctor can diagnose it following a physical exam.
7. Splenic-Flexure Syndrome
This condition refers to the accumulation of large quantities of gas in the colon, which will cause pain under the left rib cage. This could be a result of indigestion and it will help if the victim facilitates the escape of the trapped air by sitting in a chair.
8. Spleen Damage
A rupture of the spleen can cause irritation beneath the rib cage and it will also cause the top portion of the left shoulder to ache.
9. Collapse of the Lungs
Damage to the membranous covering of a lung can cause it to collapse, leaking air to the space between rib cage and lungs, which will cause pain in the rib areas. The chances of it occurring are even on both sides of the rib cage. This condition is called pneumothorax and is a very serious condition that needs urgent medical care.
10. Irritable-Bowel Syndrome
This syndrome can cause pain, cramps or swelling on upper stomach and cramps in the intestines could cause acute pain under left rib cage. In some cases, diarrhoea and constipation can also occur.
11. Heart Attack
The effect of a heart attack is generally experienced in the back, upper body and chest; however, it is also possible to experience pain under the left rib cage. If the pain does not diminish quickly, it just could indicate a heart attack and require urgent attention.
How to Deal With Pain Under Left Rib Cage
Some cases of pain subside quickly without much ado, which are best prevented rather than expeditiously treated. Nonetheless some incidents require immediate medical intervention to prevent complications. The treatment will depend on the cause and only a doctor can give conclusive information about what is causing the pain under your left rib cage.
1. See a Doctor
Visiting an experienced professional is always a good idea. While most cases are minor and can be treated easily by over the counter medication, sometimes the pain could persist and create further complications. In such cases, it is important to get a medical opinion about the cause and to find a lasting solution.
2. Change Diet
If indigestion or heartburns cause pain, changing food habits can give you great relief. Avoiding food and drink rich in acidic content and difficult to digest will aid digestive process. It is useful to consider this as a first step before being alarmed by any pain under left rib cage.
3. Take Medicines
Some problems require a course of medicines for improvement. Pain caused by muscle cramps or indigestion can be controlled with the help of appropriate medicines.
4. Turn to Surgery
In the most serious cases where pain is due to spleen damage, lung rupture or damage to ribs, surgery is needed to remedy the situation, or complications can arise with delays in treatment.