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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Sporadic sharp pain under left ribs

 Michaela - Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:55 pm


I am a 24 year old female who is relatively healthy. I have been experiencing these random, infrequent chest pains every now and then for quite a few years now. Every now and then, perhaps once a month (maybe more, most likely less), I will feel a sharp pain underneath my left ribs as I breath in. It seems to be a few inches above the bottom of my rib cage, underneath my heart. It almost feels like a restriction of some sort, when I try to breath in deeply. When I feel it happen, if I take a normal breath in, or a deep breath in, I know it will really hurt. It's a very uncomfortable, scary feeling; therefore, I just breath very shallow for a few breaths until I can feel it has gone away; then I can continue to breath normally again. It only lasts for a few breaths. As I said, this happens quite infrequently and randomly, but I do get nervous when it happens.

I have never smoked and drink only socially. I used to have asthma in high school, but outgrew it. Please let me know if there are any other details I can provide. I think I saw a similar post by "Patient", dated 2005, but I am not sure if this is the same thing or not.

I am looking forward to any help you can provide. Thank you so much.
 Dr. A. Madia - Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:22 pm

User avatar Hi Michaela,

Pain occuring below the left braest is almost never heart pain. That too if it is increased by normal or deep breathing, more likely a musculo skeletal origin. Whenever it occurs, just stay calm and ignore it. You may take a pain reliever once in a while if it is severe.

Check out my article 'Chest Pain in young females' on this site itself.


 Michaela - Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:16 am

Hi Apurva,

Thank you very much for the information! That is good to know. So, in general, is this something that people tend to get every now and then? Is it anything to be concerned with? It goes away with a couple minutes.

Thank you,
 Dr. A. Madia - Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:16 am

User avatar Hi Michaela,

Absolutely, there is no cause of worry. If it occurs too frequently or if it is very severe you may first undergo routine cardiac testing to be absolutely certain about the cause and then if no cardiac cause then you may take a pain reliever or some local ointment.


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