Ehlers-Danlos Support UK
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Rib Pain

After 5 years of visiting the doctors one finally examined my joints and declared I have Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, Hypermobility in every joint he looked at. I could have cried as my suspicions from the last 5 years were confirmed. At the moment I suffer with TMJD, shoulder subluxations, pain in my neck and upper back, wrist and finger pain, painful knees and the most recent addition rib pain.

The rib pain is in my lower ribs at the front on both sides and also higher up at the sides just where the bottom of my bra is. If I press gently on the offending ribs they clunk back into place and the pain is relieved. The pain is occasionally sharp but mostly dull, it is aggravated by bending or twisting and becomes painful if I sit in one position for a long time. It also feels as if the muscles surrounding these areas are in spasm. Has anyone experienced this? I have been prescribed naproxen and amitryptaline. I am finding that applying heat works well.

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Your muscles feel like they are in spasm most probably because they are - the pain can be relieved with Diazepam which makes them relax. However, it sounds to me like your ribs are either dislocating or partially dislocating. You might need a range of pain killing options to deal with it. Naproxen is an anti-inflammatory and Amitryptiline is an anti-anxiety and pain killer medicine which also works to help you sleep. Other meds which could help are stronger painkillers such as Tramadol or Hydrocodone, which relieve pain but you do become dependent on them.

Most of my muscles hurt most of the time, but I don't notice it until I poke or prod the muscle because of the tramadol. The cumulative effect though is constant pain and fatigue.

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Thanks for the reply Jay. This is all new to me as I have spent 5years being told it was all in my head and that I was depressed/stressed. Thankfully my GP is willing to look at other options I have started with the naproxen and amytriptaline but he said to return if I didn’t feel there was any relief after 1 month. Or if a specific joint was giving me grief he will send me for physio (I’m a bit reluctant as it hasn’t done much in the past). He genuinely seems like a nice guy so I will see in a few weeks time.

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Sadly most of us have been told it was all in our heads. I was told I couldn't have pain and weird symptoms like I described - that it was impossible. I was told I had 'stress' too.

Many GPs have been unwilling to accept that their misdiagnoses were wrong, and have not been helpful to people, so it is good that your GP appears helpful.

It is especially good if your GP is open to prescribing more if you need it - I got my first proper night's sleep after 8 years of pain/insomnia with slow release tramadol, prescribed by a rheumatologist.

It takes a fair while (some nausea, dizzyness and a spaced out feeling) to get used to even one tramadol a day, but to get proper sleep is a godsend.

My own experience with NHS physios has been poor but I have been assured there are good ones and you could be one of those people who get lucky. They will not offer any help re braces or supports, but can give you some general exercises to follow. You would do better with pilates and/or strength training (in my opinion).

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