Medical Specialty >> Pulmonology

Doctors Lounge - Pulmonology Answers

Back to Pulmonology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Sharp Pain in the Chest

 Kim2345 - Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:48 am

I just submitted a post to another similar string but thought I'd go ahead and create a new message.

I am a 42 year old mother of two and have been living with sharp chest pain for over 20 years. We all go through the motions with our doctors - as we should - and suddenly find ourselves facing tests that were "normal." I was finally diagnosed with an unusal and little known phenomena: slipped rib.

This diagnosis may be what many folks are experiencing. Nothing replaces visiting your doctor and getting tests done as there are far more serious conditions which exist.

However, after doing some research many of you may find this diagnosis is something to consider. I encourage people to do the research and get some peace of mind.

The pain will never go away, but understanding where it comes from can help you learn to live with it and to avoid body positioning that makes it worse.

Good luck!
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:45 pm

User avatar Hi Kim2345,

Thanks for the information. To give our readers a bit more information, a slipped rib can cause significant pain. Typically this pain is felt more in the back near the spine since this is where the "rib joint" is that gets slightly dislocated.

There are actually some treatments for this to help improve or resolve the issue. It is likely that you may need to see a DO or a sports medicine doctor trained in manipulation of the skeleton. Basically the technique is similar to relocating a dislocated joint like the shoulder. Occasionally this technique is not effective and the issue remains. In that case, physical therapy to strengthen the muscles of the rib cage can help.

Best wishes.
 David 1952 - Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:19 pm

I am 55 years old and I do smoke, last Monday I started having mild chest pains and got really tired. I was to the point that I could hardly keep my eyes open. I went to the hospital thinking I was have have a heart attack. Was there till Tuesday evening going through all the test and they said that all my tests were find that my heart was ok and sent me home. I have been under a lot of stress lately. My wife had a stroke last year with contestive heart failure. She is about 60 % handicaped. The bills are a headache. Could this have been just stress or anxiety attack. They didn't say anything at the hospital about what it may have been. Thank you David
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Jul 12, 2008 9:53 pm

User avatar Hi David 1952 -

Well first of all, I am obligated to tell you that you need to stop smoking - now. Yes, I know, you're under a lot of stress and taking that away would be taking away one of your small comforts. However, it is one which will likely eventually kill you, and who needs that? OK, that sermon is over. You know what you need to do.

As for the chest pain, having been kept at the hospital for a few days and worked up thoroughly, I'd accept the finding that your heart is, for now at least, OK. I only say now because anyone can develop or even have occult heart disease, and since you're already a smoker you add a very potent risk factor to age and sex. But I said that sermon was over. Sorry.

You characterized, in the header of your post, that the chest pain was "sharp." Sharp or stabbing chest pain is almost never heart-related. It can be, but it almost never is. This should help support the finding that your heart is fine.

You are under a great deal of stress, and this can cause a whole galaxy of symptoms, some physical, some psychosomatic. Especially in the case of a seriously ill loved one, this can be so. It has to be a tremendous burden to deal with your wife's very serious illness and the bills associated with it. I hope you are able to find ways to offset the load you're carrying presently, and that your wife's health improves greatly and soon. Hopefully you can find not only financial assistance but perhaps caregiving assistance as well. If you are serving as your wife's primary caregiver you are under quite remarkable stress and will need occasional breaks. There are systems in most jurisdictions to help with these sorts of situations. Finding them is usually the challenge.

I'm glad the hospital found your heart was fine. Try and run with that for now, and concentrate on taking care of yourself emotionally and physically. You won't be able to help your wife if you're not well yourself. It's a rough situation. I wish you both all the best.

Please do stay in touch with us here.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us