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    Lower Rib Tip Pain
    blotto posted:

    I woke up one morning with pain in my lower right side/back. It was in a strange place, but I figured it was just a pulled muscle and I didn't really think much of it. About a week later there was no change and it was still there. So I decided to go see my doctor. Depending on which position I'm in it seems to radiate from the rear to the front. So the doctor said it sounded like it might have something to do with my stomach since I have a history of gastritis and hiatal hernia. He put my on Omeprazole and sent me on my way. Well after about two weeks, there was still no change. So I went back to him and this time he decided to run a battery of tests. Urinalysis, several blood tests, and an ultrasound. Everything came back normal. No stones, no abnormalities, and perfect blood work. At this point he said that he didn't really know what was going on and decided to send me to a gastrologist. The gastrologist looked me over and said that the pain seemed to be too localized to be something with the stomach. So he decided to send me to get an x-ray. The x-ray came back normal as well, so they both said just wait. So I waited again for a couple of weeks and still no change. This time my doctor sent me to see a back and spine doctor. This doctor also looked over the x-ray and felt around. After explaining all of this his conclusion was that he really didn't have any idea what it was and that it sounded like some sort of inflammation in my rib or a muscle spasm. He gave me gave me muscle relaxers and told me I should consider physical therapy.

    I'm not convinced this is the problem. I'm more of a cause and effect person, and something is causing this. I don't know that physical therapy is the answer. So here I am, three months and three doctors later and I still don't have an answer. It is as painful today as it has been since it started with no signs of relief. So here is a rundown of what actually hurts and what tests I've had. Hopefully someone out there has had something like this too and actually got an answer and a cure. And if so…please share!


    I have pain in my lower right side upper floating rib. Which seems to be right at or around the very tip of the rib. I can put my figure on it and when I do it's very painful. It's less painful when I stand up and walk around and seems to shift around when I sit down. When I'm sitting it sometimes feels like it's in the front just under my front rib cage (stomach area). Also sometimes feels like pressure up front. But even when I'm sitting, if I press on the spot on the rib it still hurts. The pain in the rib never subsides. So I can't tell if it's actually the rib itself or something in the stomach/colon area radiating out and causing pain in the rib…if that is even possible? Or, it might just be the rib radiating pain into the stomach area. Recently (within the last couple of weeks) I've started getting this pain on the left side as well. Exact same spot but on the left rib.

    So what causes right and left side floating rib "tip" pain that come out of the blue…no injuries.. and lasts for months with no other symptoms. To describe the pain best, it feel a lot like a pinched nerve or a dislocated joint….always hurts, never gets worse, never gets better. Pain is on a scale of 3-5 out of 10 depending on which position I'm in.

    Tests I've had: Urinalysis, several blood tests, chest/side x-ray, ultrasound. NO CT or MRI yet…doctor talked me out of it. Felt it wasn't worth it. But also mentioned money and insurance several times, which makes me think he was getting cheap.

    Anyway, if anyone out there can help I would really appreciate it.

    Thank you,

    davedsel57 responded:
    Hello and welcome.

    I am sorry to read of your pain but fully understand.

    An MRI would be the next logical step since you continue to have symptoms. Talk to your doctor about having this diagnostic test done and be assertive. You are the patient/customer and he needs to listen to your concerns and do what he can to help you. If he will not order an MRI or refer you to a doctor who can, it may be time to find another primary doctor.

    We are lay people in this WebMD Back Pain Community. It is against the rules to diagnose or give medical advice. However, we can offer advice based on our own experiences which is what you are looking for. My advice is for you to push for an MRI as x-rays and the other tests you have are not telling the whole story.

    Please keep us updated. I hope you can get answers and relief soon.
    Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.


    An_254022 responded:
    I have the very same symptoms and had all the same tests and results. My doctor believes it to be costochondritis. Treatment advised-slow careful stretching, careful lifting especially above my head and Ben-Gay (yes, he actually suggested that.) He also said I could use an anti-inflammatory, such as Aleve or Advil, but with care because of possible stomach damage.
    masterdebeer responded:
    Hey brain its been 2 years since this post i hope u'll some how able to get relief from this weird pain, I am facing the same issues from past few weeks with same symptoms as yours , but i have on this right side floating rib, no injuries nothing its just an internal pain occurs each time when i lay down on the bed and the pain occurs each time as i change my posture while lying on bed.
    Please let me know if you're already found the root cause of this pain
    jm1960 replied to masterdebeer's response:
    Hi and welcome to the support group

    since this post is over 2 yrs ago this member has not been back. But as some members did respond possibly an MRI needs to be done to see what's going on and if anything else may be causing the problem.

    keep us posted. Joy
    sandyfields67 responded:
    • I found this and it really does help relieve the pain
    The reason it would 'float' at all is if your back muscles were tight, they could squeeze it out of place and would also cause the pressure on the area to create the pain that you get. Breathing deep adds pressure to the back muscles as the ribs expand, hiccups and other movements are causing your spine to move which would be causing the pressure on the back muscles to tighten them up in the first place. To get rid of the pain and to keep the rib from popping out of place you have to release your back muscles and here's how to do that release:
    (do while sitting on a chair)
    Place your left hand on your left leg next to your body. Place your right hand over your left shoulder, fingers over the back and the palm in the front, and firmly pull down on them and hold. After 30 seconds slowly lower your body forward and to the outside of your left leg, keeping your left arm as straight as possible. When you reach your lap remain there for another 10 seconds, then release the pressure but rest there for another 30 seconds. Then reverse your hand positions and do your right side.
    For best results relax your body first by taking a deep breath and exhaling then remain this relaxed.
    Then it's possible to have tight muscles on the ribs as well. They can be released by you or someone pressing between the ribs and holding a pressure on between them for 30 seconds. That should be done to that rib and the one above it as well.
    clb1976 responded:
    Brian/Blotto, Did you ever get a diagnosis? Your symptoms describe mine to a "t". Would love to hear back from you
    johndownunder replied to clb1976's response:
    Hi Clb, The symptoms here also describe what I've experienced to the 't' in the past 6-7yrs. I had the same prob recently about a month ago which is the 4th time I've experienced this pain in the past 6-7 years. During my first episode, I ended up having an endoscopy as my specialist believed I had a gall stone trapped in my bile duct as suggested by the ultrasound even though I had my gall bladder removed approx 10yrs earlier. It was a similar pain to having a gall stone episode. However they could not locate a stone & concluded it may have flushed out by the time I had the procedure. The second time I experienced this pain was approx 3yrs ago & again I seemed to have flushed a potential stone causing the pain a week later. 6-7 months ago I had my 3rd episode & after a series of scans they still could not diagnose the prob & the pain eventually subsided after 2wks. About a month ago I experienced my latest episode & went through the routine scans but this time including a CT & MRI but without any firm results other than suggestions that it could be a stone or nerve issue but still inconclusive. By this stage I was determined to do anything to get a diagnosis. My GP was very baffled as to what was causing this excruciating pain & finally sent me to a physio. After reading my GP's report & a quick examination to locate where the pain was coming from, the physio straight away knew what the issue was with absolute confidence & said I had a subluxation of the floating rib (which I had no idea even existed) impinging on my nerve. He then got me to lay flat on my stomach & within seconds popped the rib back in place & instantly the pain had left me & to prove he was right he got me to lay on my left side for 20 mins which is the side I was unable to lie on for over a week due to the immense pain & rubbed some ointment over that area as it was still a bit tender & got me to practice some pull down stretches with an elastic band. To be honest the physio was the last person to consider seeing as I was desperate for hard evidence through scans & tests to provide a diagnosis which didn't come. My GP said he had never heard of this before in 34yrs of practice. Nevertheless I'm so pumped to know what I need to do to save time, money & prolong pain if it was to reoccur. Hope this helps:) JT
    Archer60x replied to johndownunder's response:
    I recently found this post and it describes my issue to a tee. I had this stabbing pain that causes a spasm that is extremely painful. Some days I have over 30 spasms. I went to get a diagnosis from a "Physiatrist". I explained the pain I was having and he cut me off and said a bone spur had broke off and was causing the pain. He said there was nothing he could do for me. After three months of it getting worse I went back to him this week and told him the stabbing pain starts with a pinch at the tip of my lower two ribs, the floaters, and it is the sharp pain that causes the spasm. I researched today and the brain tells the muscle to contract to protect an injury, in my case the contraction is a spasm. I told him I didn't believe it was a broken bone spur. When I told him this, he then he tells me that I have arthritis in my back and it isn't going to get any better. I tried to explain what I was feeling and he said the only thing he could was to prescribe an anti-depression drug called Cymbalta. I asked to have an MRI and he refused to order one saying he could see 95% of what he needs to see with an xray.[br>When I suggested I may have a "subluxated" rib or a dislocated (moved out of position) rib he got irate and said that that was all a myth and isn't true. I have had the same thing twice before so I know it is true! That is one of the reasons I don't want to try the Cymbalta if it is a rib problem. Maybe it would speed the recovery but but the research says that the side effects are terrible taking it as well as going off of it.
    I went to my chiropractor about 2 months after my last episode and because of the inflammation he actually made the pain worse. He thought maybe I had a cracked rib and I had xrays done that confirmed no cracked rib.
    So today I started putting ice on the "inflamed" ribs at the tips but not the muscle. Then I lie on my moist heating pad for 10 minutes and then turn the heat off. It feels much better.
    So I am going to call my old chiropractor and see if I can see him. I will let you all know what happens!

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