Rib, back, and chest pain: So I’m a 17 year old... - Pain Concern

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Rib, back, and chest pain

Mya75 profile image

So I’m a 17 year old girl and i have been having this pain in my back, ribs and chest for three months already. It’s been on and off and it doesn’t hurt extremely bad it’s always just mild whenever it appears. I’ve been stressing myself and having lots of anxiety about this and trying to pin point what it is. When the pain first came to me it was just my chest and it was in the center of my chest. Then one day that chest pain stopped and I started having pain in my ribs. Then I had pain in my back and it’s still there I’m very scared. I am going to see a doctor but I just wanna to have some more input on what it might be.

4 Replies

Hi Mya, sorry to hear that you are in pain i would get in to see your GP first you have left it a while to be seen you can't let things linger to long your health is more important , your pain might be anything and I for one won't speculate , hope everything goes well x

Get it checked by your GP sooner rather than later. It could be any number of things. I was a radiographer and radiology manager for 17 years. It might be worth asking your GP for a chest X-Ray being as you've had the pain so long. It may be nothing. But make sure you tell them everything and mention it's stressing you out. You may have anxiety making it worse.

Hello there Mya😍❣️ It is very nice to "meet" you😄😉!, but I am very very sorry to be meeting you under these circumstances, with you not only having to endure chronic pain for months on end, but having to endure it without any concrete answers or supportive/effective treatment😢

I wish with all my heart that I could work some kind of long distance magic and eliminate your pain instantly and permanently😋, or pull an accurate diagnosis and a proven treatment plan out of the ethers for you, so you could make sure and steady improvement followed by a guaranteed cure😍😉

Unfortunately, I possess neither magic skills nor a medical license, so I don't think I'll be able to provide any miracle cures (magical or medical😳😋), much as I wish I had such abilities😢

However, I think I might be able to share some information that could give you some idea as to the possible causes of your symptoms, and hopefully to give you some comfort and direction, so you're not having to carry this heavy burden of enduring chronic pain without a clear diagnosis and a helpful treatment plan😋

As I said, it's really difficult to be certain about the exact cause of your symptoms, because there are several things that have the ability to produce the type and location of pain that you described, and it's nearly impossible to know exactly which of those things is the most likely cause over the internet😮😬

But based on the details you shared, it sounds possible that you're suffering from something called "chest wall pain", which is a kind of "umbrella term" for conditions which cause pain in and around your rib cage, including your sternum (breastbone) and upper-to-mid back.

There are several things which can cause chest wall pain, from accidental injury to illness or infection, and the good news is that most of these potential causes are benign (meaning, they are not life-threatening/disabling, and tend to resolve within a relatively short amount of time, and often with little to no invasive or intensive treatment)😁

Your youth and the way you described the onset/history/quality of your pain gives added weight to the probability that your symptoms aren't a sign of anything insidious going on with your health, and increases the likelihood that you'll enjoy a full and relatively speedy recovery😍

Of course, it's always prudent to seek a professional medical evaluation when you experience any new, unusual, and/or chronic symptoms (and certainly when or if those symptoms are severe in any way, from producing severe pain to having a severe impact on your lifestyle--such as preventing you from participating in accustomed sports or exercise, limiting your ability to eat/study/socialize, etc.--and otherwise changing your life for the worse without any signs of improvement).

I've provided a link at the bottom of my reply to a good overview of the most common causes of chest wall pain, and hopefully one or another of them will jump out at you as a close match to what you yourself have been experiencing (which you can then take to your doctor when you have your appointment, and thereby help make your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery more efficient and effective😋--in an ideal scenario, anyway😍).

The diagnosis that stands out to me the most (with regards to the medical history and list of symptoms you described) is a condition called "costochrondritis" , which is a very complex and clumsy label for a relatively simple disorder😋😉; essentially, it's described as inflammation of the cartilage around the sternum and ribs, of widely varying intensity, severity, pervasiveness, and persistence.

I happen to have an auto-immune condition that often includes costochrondritis, which is part of the reason I felt it might be a worthwhile possibility for you to investigate; I've experienced the condition--and therefore the symptoms--quite a few times, and it was very similar to everything you yourself have been struggling with😳

Though it can indeed be extremely painful (and often is), and can also take a relatively long time to fully heal (and often does), the condition isn't dangerous or a medical emergency, and usually resolves all by itself, without any particular intervention being necessary.

But because of its tendency to cause sharp or severe pain (especially in the early weeks of recovery), it is not at all uncommon for doctors to initiate a symptom management plan--such as steroids and/or NSAIDs for pain and inflammation--to keep you comfortable and allow you to more or less maintain your usual lifestyle during the acute stage of recovery, when the pain can be especially severe, distracting, constant, and disabling😬😋

More good news😋: The diagnostic process is almost always relatively quick, non-invasive, and painless--the quality and location of the pain is so specific with regards to costochrondritis that most doctors can identify it easily through a simple physical examination, especially if the patient's medical history includes some of these "keywords" that are so unique to and characteristic of this condition.

In addition to the classic presentation and duration of your symptoms, there was another detail in your post that made me think of costochrondritis. While it is most often caused by accident or injury (from things as extreme as a bad fall to those that would usually be considered minor, like coming down with a persistent cough or pushing your body even a little too hard in your workout routine), there are cases that have been attributed to carrying something overly unwieldy or heavy, or doing so without consideration to good posture or equally distributing the weight--and surprisingly, more and more cases are being diagnosed in patients of increasingly younger age, all because of the book bag/backpack that most students have to shoulder all day every day, for months to years on end (and since very few students have the luxury of leaving most of their textbooks in a locker, and only carrying one or two of them at a time--and even fewer of them own backpacks that are ergonomically designed to protect their health and safety--it's becoming less and less of an anomaly to see unusually severe and persistent costochondritis in younger and younger patients😳😄

You didn't say whether you are currently a student, or if you happen to be one of the millions of students who are burdened every single day with increasingly heavy, clumsy, and painful backpacks; however, since you did say that you're 17 years old at the moment, I thought that could be a strong possibility😬😋

I wish you the best of luck in your search for answers, and as swift and painless a recovery as possible😍


I hope your go can give you some answers but to me it sounds as though you probably have costochondritis which is something I suffer with.x

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