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Pain Concern
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Rib pain

Many years ago I discovered my lower rib on my left side moves independently to the rest when I breathe in and out. After sitting for a while (especially if not sat with good posture) this became painful. The pain only increased as the years progressed but when I saw my GP they dismissed it (likely due to my youth) and gave me pain relief. I was told that the pain should subside within a week or two yet I failed to see how tablets could cure the actual injury. I'm worried that I'm being overlooked by my GP and that the pain is due to the bone itself moving rather than bruising or something more minor that the GP suggested. It is impossible to get another GP appointment due to the complicated booking system and demand so I'm left a little stuck as of what to do.

5 Replies

Which rib is this, one of the floating ones? The last few ribs at the bottom aren't attached to the breastbone like the others. The ribs aren't actually fixed onto the spine or breastbone, they have joints there like other movable joints in our bodies, and this is what allows our ribcage to expand when we breathe. Some people get a condition where one of those joints becomes inflamed and that can cause pain. There is no treatment other than time.

I think one of the clues here is that it is worse after sitting for a while in a bad position. This could be what is causing the problem. So there may not be an actual injury, it is just poor posture. There are muscles that run between each rib and poor posture can cause those muscles to go into spasm.

You could try improving your posture, getting up and moving about more often to relieve any muscle strain, and see if that improves things.

I wouldn't bother at this stage trying to see a different GP. If improving posture and exercise don't help, and it gets worse, then I would see the same GP again if you can so that they can see that things haven't got better and then they can suggest something else.

But give it a chance to recover after changing your posture and the way you are sitting first. Otherwise you will probably get the same treatment from another GP.

Good luck!


Zexcellent answer from cyber barn.



Thank you for your helpful response. I am a dancer (trained in ballet as well as other styles) so I never really had a problem with posture before. However, at college we have extremely long hours sat down without breaks which may potentially make my posture bad after a while. I'll take on your advice and see if there's any improvement. Thank you!


If you are a dancer, are your joints hypermobile? If so you might like to look into hypermobile type Ehlers Danlos. If your joints are hypermobile then you might be more likely to get problems in some of your joints, including the ribs. If they aren't giving you enough breaks then you might like to ask them to assess the risk of this type of thing happening, they should be making adjustments to make sure that people aren't being injured or in discomfort due to lack of a break. Evidence is showing that even a break of five minutes every hour improves all people's health outcomes, not just those that might have a predisposition to problems.

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I had a look at the symptoms and I seem to match them almost exactly. This would definitely explain a lot so I will try and talk to my GP about it. Thank you

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