Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why does laughing too hard result in rib pain?"
Any time I laugh very loudly for a very long time my ribs start to hurt. Should I just laugh less hard?
Laughing requires the use of many different muscles in your chest wall, neck and mouth. These muscles are just like any other muscle in the body where using them often will cause pain and soreness. Thus, if you spend and evening in a comedy club one night, you may feel pain in these muscles that can seem like rib pain. In addition, laughing causes movement of the rib cage in rapid motions. If you have any inflammation in your rib joints, this may cause pain when you laugh. Finally, sometimes people develop pain when the lining of the lung is irritated. Laughing, along with taking a deep breath, can cause a lot of pain that can seem like rib pain that is actually originating from the lining of the lung. We call this type of pain pleurisy. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. You can describe this pain to your doctor in detail. Then your doctor can perform a thorough physical exam looking for more serious causes of this rib pain. If your doctor is concerned about you, he or she may decide to get an x-ray of your chest. Most likely, your doctor will give you reassurance, and possible a prescription for an anti-inflammatory medication. Good luck.
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