Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why are my ribs and abdomen sore to the touch?"
There is pain in my ribs and abdomen that only shows up when I touch a certain area that is at the bottom of my ribs. If I don't touch it, it doesn't hurt. What does this mean? Some kind of a bone issue or bruise that I don't know about?
I think there are a number of different possibilities here and, in order to sort things out, it would be a good idea to get help from your primary care doctor, especially if the symptoms persist or worsen. For example, it is very common to have a strain injury to the muscles that lie between the ribs, called the intercostal muscles. This is most commonly caused by heavy lifting or vigorous exercise, but it can also be sometimes associated just with "sleeping funny" or with "computer desk posture". A strain of these muscles typically causes a sharp pain that is worse with touching the area and that can also be made worse by taking a deep breath. If it involves the lower ribs, it may also radiate to the abdomen, as in your case. There are also abdominal causes of pain that might be the root of your symptoms. For example, chronic constipation can lead to abdominal distention and bloating. This can be painful to the touch and, as the abdomen distends, the pain may feel like it is pushing up into the chest and ribs. Start by setting up a visit with your doctor, who will perform a thorough exam and help you get to the bottom of things.
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