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"Why do my ribs hurt when I take a deep breath?"


Whenever I take a really deep breath I get a sharp pain in my ribs on one side. When I relax again it is gone though. Any reason this might be happening?


There are a variety of different possible causes of this pain. First, if you have recently experienced an injury such as trauma to your chest, then you may have bruised or even cracked a rib. These types of injuries are very painful and can make breathing very difficult because each breath exacerbates the pain.

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Certainly even injuries that don't seem that bad at the time can cause this problem. If you did not injure your rib, then your pain must be coming from another place. Bone pain such as rib pain that is not due to an injury must be looked into with an x-ray and possibly a bone scan to make sure that there is no evidence of cancer. I don't think this is what you have, but if you pain doesn't get better it is something that you and your doctor should consider. Another possibility is that you are experiencing pain on the inner chest wall from the lining of your lung rubbing against the chest. We call this pleuritic chest pain. It is common can usually goes away with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine your ribs and make a determination as to what is causing your pain.

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