Pain Under Left Rib

Pain under left rib, which could appear suddenly or develop gradually, can be due to an assortment of factors.   It could a result of gas build up or indigestion. In some instances, the pain is psychological in nature, but more often than not, pain felt below the left rib has something to do with a fractured or injured rib. However, it may also be indicative of a more serious medical condition that needs prompt treatment.

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The pain and discomfort can have a great impact on a person’s overall disposition and well-being, so addressing it is very important. There are several treatment options to choose from depending on the cause of the pain. But those who experience severe pain shouldn’t wait until the pain or other symptoms aggravate. Indeed, persistent and intense pain below the left rib warrants a careful professional medical evaluation.

Causes of pain under left rib 

Pain under the left rib usually occurs when there is a fractured or injured rib. However, the pain could also stem from other structures within the left side of upper abdominal area. Some of the possible causes of pain in this area are:

  • Gas

A painful sensation develops when gas builds up and is blocked in the left side of the colon, causing a great deal of discomfort and pain.

  • Heartburn

This occurs when an individual consumes significant amounts of acidic foods and beverages, resulting in stomach bloating and pain on the left side of the rib.

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  • Constipation

Hardened stool causes one to put extra effort when having a bowel movement, hence, resulting in stomach and rib pain.

  • Inflamed cartilage

When cartilage between the rib and breastbone is swollen, this can also cause pain under the left rib and bring a lot of discomfort. This inflammation could be due to injury, cartilage disorders and aging.

  • Pinched nerve

The affected nerve could be on the chest or neck on the left side of the body. The compressed nerve causes left-sided rib pain and tingling sensation that gets worse when moving to certain positions.

Medical conditions related to pain under left rib

It should be noted that pain  could stem from other structures resting on the left side of the body, such as the left kidney, intestine, spleen and left lung. A problem in any of these structures can be manifested as pain under the left rib. These include issues concerning the kidney stones, gastritis, costochondritis, spleen damage, Irritable Bowel syndrome, pleuritis, pneumonia, and pneumothorax.

Depending on the causative factor, pain felt underneath the left rib could occur gradually or spontaneously and can be short-lived or long-lasting. The pain may also affect upper body movement as  well as the breathing process.


The doctor will first determine what is causing the pain under the left rib before prescribing any medication or treatment method. The patient can greatly help in arriving at a correct diagnosis by noting all the discomforts experienced, their respective duration and severity. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are generally sufficient to manage mild cases of pain that involve inflammation and pain. However, serious cases require more intensive treatment.

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