What are these PAINS I'm getting in my ribs/back?!?

I have a cold. A yicky, bad, chest cold. It’s a bit in my throat, not at all in my head, and a lot in my chest. I’ve been taking cough syrup intraveniously (OK, not really, but I wish I could!) so I’m not coughing much, but I am coughing a little.

Yesterday I started getting little sharp pains in my ribs and back. Mostly muscley type pains - they’ll come for a second then go away. This morning it’s even worse. I finally took some ibuprofin to get 'em to go away.

My guess is that they have something to do with the coughing - I must have irritated some part of my chest from hacking up lungs and such. Mr. Athena, as he is apt to do, is worried that I’m dying. Thus this thread. Am I dying? Are sharp pains in one’s back/ribs normal with chest colds?

Please answer that, and send sympathy.

I think I’ve been fighting the same cold - started with a cough/sore throat and stayed there (though it’s moved somewhat into my head in the last day).

I got the same twinges off and on -nothing too bad, but noticeable. They seem to have stopped though. Definitely felt like muscle pains, towards the bottom of my rib cage, and toward my back more than the front of my torso.

I’d say that if they don’t go away or if they get worse, give your doc a call, just to make sure he thinks it’s ok (especially important if you have any other conditions that might put a strain on your heart).

Sounds like a pulled muscle from coughing. I get them all the time. It’s sharpest as you cough, correct? Feels like you’re not getting the full benefit of the cough (not breaking up the phlegm as well as you should)?

Try moist heat & Tiger Balm, and try Naproxyn. It should pass in a day or two.

I had a co-worker who BROKE A RIB from coughing. It happens a lot. If you’ve been hacking yer head off, it’s possible you hurt something.

I’ve never seen anyone who broke a rib from coughing. If I saw it on a chest X-ray, I’d probably think it was an old fracture (in the absence of certain other diseases like osteoporosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, etc). I’m not sure it happens all that often in healthy young people.

A few months ago, I dislocated a rib from stress. My trap muscles got so tightened up that it pulled the head of the rib out of place.

trap muscles? :confused:

Hiya, doc. This was an older woman, but she was in pretty good shape, i.e., not fat, non-smoker, non-drinker. Maybe she lied, but I don’t know why she would. Incidently, she’s not the only one I’ve heard of who did this.

I meant the lattisimus dorsi (lats) , not the trapezius (trap)

Well, I’m not dead yet, and my mother is on her way over with Chicken Dumpling soup, so I’m sure to recover at some point.

Incidentally, the ibuprofin seem to have helped. At least, the pains aren’t as bad anymore.

The funny thing is that they don’t get worse when I cough. I don’t even notice 'em when I’m coughing, although that may be because I’m too busy hacking up a lung. They show up more when I’m just sitting around, reading or typing or whatever, and then OUCH! it feels like someone just stabbed me in the ribs.

Ibuprofen is miraculous stuff. It’s the only thing I know of that can take the edge off a really murderous toothache.

WAG? Probably muscle strain from the coughing. It could be pleurisy–an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the chest cavity and lung covering. Or it could be pneumonia, bronchitis, or chostochondritis–inflammation of the cartiledge between the ribs. Flu usually causes fever, cough and overall aching of the large muscles-arms, legs, back.

Continue the motrin routinely. Keep well hydrated and wash your hands frequently.

I doubt a rib fx too. I was T-boned in the driver’s door and only cracked a couple of ribs. A post menopausal woman with pretty severe osteoporosis could break a rib coughing but it is unlikely.

Maybe you’re pregnant!..:eek:
…My wife had the same symptoms

Just wanted to say: I have also known a friend who broke a rib coughing. She was about eighteen and totally healthy at the time, standing in the shower when she got an attack of the cough that she’d had for a couple weeks, and felt a horrible pain in her ribs and screamed for her mom. It was broken. Weird.

Oops, cut off the post there.

She had a wicked cold too and side pains that started up around the same time. Low and behold, it wasn’t a pulled muscle!

It could be pleurisy. That’s an inflammation of the lining of the lung. It’s treated with an anti-inflammatory. I’ve had it before and it sounds like what you’ve described. It hurts.

**Athena ** You need to take a nice hot bath, drink hot tea and relax there. That will help out your tired complaining muscles and help relax your chest and throat from all the coughing. Doing a big shot of NyQuil: The Exilir of Gods ™ is also highly recommended.

Are you sure you found and removed all the little pins when you opened your new shirt? That’s happened to me.

You’ve most probably ripped or strained a muscle with the coughing, but…is the pain worse when you breathe in? Is it getting worse by the hour? If so, it could be pleurisy (I had this 2 years ago), in which case you will need to see a doc and get antibiotics, plus take some time off. Take care

I’ve had chostochondritis. My doctor implied it was too common to be interesting and nothing to write home about. I don’t even know if they treat it (I was on plenty of painkillers for other stuff, so maybe that’s why he didn’t add anything to my scrip list for it). Still, when you’ve got it, you can’t help thinking “Pain when I breathe? This can’t be good.” I guess it can just flare up out of nowhere. I’d bet my money on a strain from coughing, but my second guess would be the chostochondritis. You know, me with all my medical training and all – NOT.