Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What causes underneath your side to hurt under your rib cage?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat causes underneath your side to hurt under your rib cage?


Side pain on the right side under the rib cage.


There are several potential causes of pain in this location. The most common causes are probably strain of the muscles between the ribs or of the cartilage joints connecting the ribs to the sternum. This can be caused, typically, by heavy lifting or other vigorous physical activity. Most of the time, if this is all that is going on, it will respond to standard anti inflammatory medications within a few days. However, there are some serious medical causes for pain in this location. These include an infection in the right lung or a fluid collection around the right lung. They also include inflammation in the gall bladder, gallstones, or hepatitis. It is important to seek emergency medical help if the pain is severe, if you have high fevers, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea and vomiting, or any other concerning symptoms. If you do not have any of these serious symptoms, then the best thing to do would be to schedule a quick office visit with your primary care doctor as soon as you are able. They can confirm whether or not this is just musculoskeletal strain and, if so, give you advice about which anti inflammatory medications to take.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.