ZocdocAnswersWhy do I feel a pinching sensation under my ribs when I breath?

Question

Why do I feel a pinching sensation under my ribs when I breath?

It happens randomly, but when it does it lasts for a long time before it subsides. It feels as though one of my muscles is being pinche every time i breath in or stretch a certain way. But when it subsides it almost feela like whateve was pinched is ripped when it fades.

Answer

I recommend that you make an appointment with your primary care doctor. Pain when you take a deep breath is called pleuritic type pain. Pleuritic pain in the region you described could be a number of things but the ones you want to ensure you do not have are pulmonary embolus, pneumonia, pneumothorax, pleural effusion, or rib fracture. A pulmonary embolus is a blood clot in your lung. People who are at risk for a pulmonary embolus are women, smokers, people who are obese, people who had recent surgeries, people who are immobile for hours per day, and people taking estrogen replacement. This condition is usually associated with shortness of breath and palpitations. Pneumonia is an infection of the lung. It is usually associated with a cough and fevers. A pneumothorax is a puncture of the lung which can cause air trapping outside the lung. It can be associated with shortness of breath. Pleural effusions are fluid that surround the outside of the lung. The etiology of pleural effusions are vast but include inflammatory disease, infections, malignancies etc. Lastly, a rib fracture can cause pain with breathing. It is usually tender when you press on that region as well. Again, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor who can evaluate you to determine if any one of these conditions should be ruled out.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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