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Rib Pain (at night) from Lupus???


I'm brand new on here today and I'm SO happy to have found this site!! :)

I've been having lots of rib or ribcage pain at night, along with my regular all over deep body/bone aches. The rib pain is different. It's an actual specific and completely different type of pain. I guess it could be most easily described as stabbing pain. It's usually in the front in just one area. It hurts so bad that I have to hunch my back to make it hurt less. It happens at night so my ribcage may just be tired of holding me up.

Does this mean that something is wrong with my ribs? Does anyone else get stabbing rib pains with Lupus?

Thank You

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My daughter has SLE and rib pain is one of her main problems. Her consultant has never been able to pinpoint anything as nothing ever shows on scans but she can't even bare to be touched. They thing as the joints are connective tissue this is the cause. She has being taking high doses of OxyContin for this for a while.

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Hi AmyCV, I am a newbee too, glad you signed up. I had a stabbing pain like that, only at night, and thought I had broken a rib from coughing. Turns out it was a vertabre that had moved out of place, it showed up on an Xray.Its funny about referred pain. Hope you find out what it is, take care, Peep


While it could be a vertebrae, as healthy people with a rib or vertebrae out of place can have heart attack like chest pains. If you google lupus and chest pain you will find there are several causes for it. I have chest and rib cage area pain a lot of the time and it's costiocondroitis. Which is inflammation of the cartilage inbetween your ribs and sternum. It hurts to sit up or have pressure on them. Pushing in certain areas hurts. There can also be chest pain from pericarditis which is inflammation around the heart. But if you have a x ray and no fluid is found then it is most likely the costio as this is extremely common with lupus but not life threatening like some of the other causes. It's hard to discern what is causing all of our pains as even just the linings of our organs or inside tissue can be inflamed when under attack and cause great pain. When I'm in a bad flare it feels like all my body linings are raw and swollen inside and I can bare to be touch or just be. It's a horrible disease that effects us in so many ways. It's possible that you need more or different treatment because disease activity isn't being suppressed enough.


it's very painful having costochondritis ay ?

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Dear Terrier_Lady,

Oh my! Thank you so much for all that specific information. I'm still only under the care of my GP.

(I have to type with one eye closed so it takes me a while. I've read about what's causing this close vision eye problem, but I can't remember the details. But don't worry, I've been extremely near sighted since a child and have at least yearly visits to the optometrist, and sometimes with the better opthalmologist. So far, no damage has been found. My GP prescribes Chromolyn Sodium eye drops which is an antihistamine and they make my eyes feel good.)

Back to Topic Rib Pain

It sounds like I have Costiocondroitis, as I have those exact same symptoms. It hurts to sit up, hurts to touch my ribs anywhere but esp on my left front side, right under the breast. The stabbing and severe aches on my ribs moves around, but lately is staying right under left breast. Like someone said, this can be scary because it's somewhat near the heart. But I can tell that it's rib pain. I feel that there is inflammation pushing against my ribs from the inside.

I have had one chest Xray, but my GP was specifically looking for pneumonia. So they did one film of my entire chest area, but also one checking the front left side rib pain. Nothing was found. But I'm extremely skeptical of Xrays. To me, they are old fashioned and rarely ever show if anything is wrong, other than a gigantic broken bone.

In 2015, I had to suffer through 5mos of excruciating lower left back pain and sciatica down both legs but more so the left leg. My GP started with the Grandpa machine or the Xray! Lol - It showed nothing. This was in April. By June, I was in and out of the ER for the excruciating pain. They'd give me a shot of morphine and send me home. Then one night it was SO bad that I couldn't walk at all and was home alone. I was crawling to the bathroom using my elbows but only got to the hallway and just wet myself and was stuck laying in it for 2hrs. My boyfriend came home and got me to the ER and they did a CT scan without contrast. It showed nothing. But I got my morphine shot and sent home. Finally now 5mos later, my GP became alarmed enough to do an MRI of my lumbar spine. It showed 2 fully herniated discs, 1 bulging, degenerative disc disease and spinal spondylosis. I believe if she had caught the problem sooner, that my 2 discs wouldn't have fully herniated.

Sorry, the point here is that I've only had the one set of two Xrays. Because it showed nothing, my GP won't look any further into my horrible rib pain, even though I whine to her regularly about it. Here in the US, all doctors have become afraid to prescribe any true pain killers. So I only have Tylenol and Ibuprofen for this pain. I just woke up from sleeping 21hrs and the ribs are already killing me. Sleep does stop the pain for a bit, but I take a super powerful sleep med that might knock out a horse. So I have no idea if I'm experiencing pain whilst I slumber!!

Sorry such a long message. What can I say to my GP to get her to do more imaging of my ribs? I've had an abdomen ultrasound recently. It only showed a bit of fat on my liver. My doc says it isn't fatty liver; she says it's just a very tiny area of actual fat like you have on the outside of your body in places. She said the ultrasound barely caught the echo of this area.

Thanks Much and

Best Wishes to Everyone!! :)


No worries on the long reply. I'm a information junkie so I am always leaving long messages and worry it annoys people. Lol

That's terrible about your discs and that entire ordeal sounds just awful. I agree with you that x rays don't mean much. They are only good for ruling out something terrible but don't show anything else. My dr diagnosised me costio from pushing on areas of my ribs and did a chest x ray also to rule or fluid around my heart or in my lungs. Unfortunately there isn't much to be done for it other than just your normal sle treatments as to make it better you have to suppress the disease. Even with all my treatments I still experience it to a certain extent most of the time but it gets really bad when I'm flaring up and it's extaxtly as you describe about feeling like inflammation from the inside out and under breasts. I will even feel like my diaphragm is swollen and all the linings inside my abdomen.

What medications are you on for sle if you don't mind me asking? And are you set up to start seeing a rheumatologist? As everyone with sle really needs to have their disease mananages by a rheumie to try and stop disease progression.

It took 4 rheumatologist before I found one that could help me. It's so hard to find a good one. Before him all diagnosised me with sle, but weren't treating me aggressively enough, so I kept getting worse. When my dr finally found my current one for me and I went and saw him I was so relieved because he had more options then the others really knew about, also understood that because of a blood condition I have and other cross over issues that my sle is non typical so has been very hard to control with severe symptoms. He immediately put me on Benlysta which is a monthly infusion and the only treatment exclusively meant for lupus. Then as things have continued to changed I'm now on dual thereaoy of infusions and weekly methotrexate injections. Plus the other normal lupus meds. The dual therepy isn't typical, as people usually are only on one of them. But the infusions weren't lasting all month and I would flare when they wore off and my disease would progress. So adding the injections has really helped bridge that gap and keep things a bit more stable and prevent organ damage.

Sorry I know that's a lot of info and kind of off track. But I'm sharing it to encourage you that if the first specialist you see doesn't give you the help and results you need, keep looking for the right one. It can be hard, but I'm so thankful now that I have a good medical team. It really can be the difference between life or death for us. So hang in there and if you can get treatment that helps control the disease better then you will have less of the rib pain. I wish I could tell you it would all be gone but it won't.

Oh and yes I totally understand about pain meds. I'm also in the US and my GP was at first prescribing me pain meds, but the the hopsital corp she works under made all the drs start sending their chronic pain patients to a pain clinic. I went there for awhile, and was getting some help but then the specialist I was seeing there left. I got a PA who at first was great but then my case was out of his league and you could tell he become afraid to prescribe at the levels I needed. A patient I met in my infusion center reffered me to her dr who works for a private clinic. Once I went to see her she adjusted my pain meds and my quality of life is so much better and I'm more functional. She also told me how because they don't want to be governed and stay their own practice that they take training in pain management every year. She knew more about both the meds and laws then anyone at my pain clinic did. So now she is my GP and manages all my meds including my pain contract. I only have to go see her every 3 months. She says legally once we had my dose set I only have to come in every 3 months. And the new limit they put on pain med doses is actually based on someone with chronic back pain, that people with other conditions like mine it doesn't even apply too and isn't sufficient. The pain clinic didn't know any of that or they lie trying to cut meds to look good. They were also making me come every month which was expensive to have to pay to see them each month on top of my meds.

Anyways a lot more information for ya there but just trying to let ya know that eventually you will get it all worked out if you just keep pushing and trying. It's taken a couple years but I finally have a good team. Hope you get some answers and relief soon. :)

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I'm in a lot of pain tonight. I am on nothing except Tylenol and ibuprofen and that is for pain and controlling my lupus. I haven't seen a rheumatologist yet and don't until June 22 and I hope that that one will be able to do something because I have no quality of life and haven't gone out of the house to do something social or even grocery shopping since February. I have been out many times for doctor's appointments but that's it. I will get back with more later tomorrow early when I'm feeling better.

I like a lot of information too, information Junkie!!


I have that and my doctor said its costochondritis .

here is a link to read

hope this helps


Thx. How did your doctor diagnosis it, any tests...or did he/she just go by symptoms you explained? Thx for the link too. :)


He put pressure on certain parts of my chest and ribs but no blood tests. He has got another patient who has it so I suppose he need what to look for tenderness wise I guess. Warm Wheat packs help a lot with the pain really well and of course rest and pain killers as well.

Hope you get some relief soon as it extremely painful at.

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I live in New Zealand


Thx pammy1,

That helps lots. I will ask my doctor to do the same type of exam. I don't know what a wheat pack is but I'll look it up on net.

Yea, rib pain is really bad. It's my worst pain right now. Using my arms for things like typing on my phone makes it worse.

I'm in the US but know that most everyone here is from the UK or there or Australia. There is No forum like this in the US, and almost nobody here even knows what Lupus is! I've done a DNA test and have mostly English and Irish blood, and am wondering if Lupus effects certain genetics more than others, say like German.


a wheat pack is two pieces of material say 30cm across and 20cm down . ( I use either poly cotton or flannelette material) Sew right around the outside the material (make sure you have the two outsides of the material together), making them join together but leave about a 3 cm gab so you can put wheat in.(I do a double row of stitches just incase a row breaks sometime) pull all the inside corners through the hole ,one at a time till you have the right side of the material on the outside . Then put a funnel in the hole and pour in some wheat when you can buy most places ( we use it here to feed our chickens) till its about half way fill. Stitch up the hole so no wheat can come out . And hey presto you have your very own wheat bag. Place bag in microwave and also half a cup of cold water maybe use a coffee cup that's what I use heat on high for two minutes and then remove and place on sore spot. Reheat as required. JUST MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS HAVE SOME WATER IN THE CUP WHEN HEATING THE WHEAT PACK.

If you want you can place a bigger cover over top so you can remove for washing . I don't as it doesn't get dirty .

Hope this helps and enjoy


With lupus all ur organs can inflame. I get rib cage a lot as lungs inflame and rub against the rib cage. Ibuprofen works if u can use that n I do exactly what u do is hunch my back to get some relief. U need rest too with ipbrofen


Wow, never heard of this. My ribcage on my right side has been excruciating for over a year and I just chalked it up to my mattress. I may try the wheat pack. I've been dosing myself to the gills on tramadol just to sleep.


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