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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Stabbing pain in lower left rib area

 rd1 - Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:24 pm

Hi there,
Last year I hade this terrible pain in my lower left ribs area. It would come and go randomly. It was around this time last year and it has just started again.
It feels as though there is something kind of pushing and at first it is a sharp, stabbing pain which settles into a dull ache for a couple of hours before disappearing.
Could anybody give me some direction as to what this may be? It's getting unbearable.
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:43 pm

User avatar Hello,
Causes of left sided lower chest pain are many and could be due to GIT problems, respiratory problems, and muscle spasm.

Pleuretic pain is likely and is mainly due to viral infection, it is also common in smokers. It usually increases with cough or inspiration. Auscultation of the chest can show characteristic sound of pleurisy.

A muscle spasm and strain of the ligaments following a sudden improper movement or wrong posture or viral infection is also possible. Muscle spasm is a body reaction to injury in muscle tissues.

In these cases, self care and avoiding the precipitating cause will lead to a gradual but clear improvement in the pain. Home treatment includes the use of analgesics, cold or hot therapy. Rest for maximum two days is also beneficial. These measures are useful for both muscle spasm and pleurisy.

Exclusion of cardiac causes is essential in all individuals presenting with left sided chest pain especially in those with risk factors like chronic heavy smokers or strong family history.

Gastroesophageal problems, include gastritis (viral or drug induced), GERD, and peptic ulcers. Other GIT causes could be due to colitis, (infectious or inflammatory), pancreas or spleen troubles.

Your symptoms are not typical for such causes however, exclusion is important if symptoms persist with no other apparent cause. GIT problems are usually associated with appetite changes, nausea, diarrhoea or constipations.

Non GIT causes include:
Renal colic although the pain is not typical for renal colic, exclusion is also important.

I would advise you to follow up with your doctor, direct clinical examination is essential.

Hope you find this information useful.
Best regards.
 hibiscus - Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:35 am

hi...i have systemic lupus...and have been having severe flank pain on the left side off and on for several months now. at times it feels like the pain in pertruding into my abdomenand into my back(upper&lower). i've noticed that i have dark brown colored urine. about 2 months ago i was told that i had a urinary tract infection which was treated with antibiotics. however this left flank pain comes and goes and can be extremely severe at times. the doctor told me that i continue to have blood in my urine(did a urine culture) but does not know the cause and i feel like its just simply ignored...please help!
 memedenee - Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:54 am

your sharp pain sounds much like mine...except mine does not "settle" as you is a mystery to my doctors and I like you am not ready to settle for an answer that says nothing....if you have or do find a cause let me know...

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