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#169685 - 03/21/10 07:07 AM rib cage pain
mariposa Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1906
I have new pain that I don't think I've heard anyone talk about.

I've always had "rib" pain, like Costochondritis, where my ribs in front are painful, but now I have "rib cage" pain.

I have an adjustable bed and a recliner I sleep in. No matter what position I sleep in, after a couple of hours my rib cage is excruciatingly painful. It seems to come from resting my back or side against the bed or chair. The straighter up I sit, the less pain I have, but who can sleep sitting straight up?

The pain is not in one place. It starts at my spine and encompasses my entire rib cage, from my shoulder blades to the bottom of my ribs. As the night wears on, the pain is so bad I can't sleep, I can't breath and I can't move. In the morning, it takes my pain meds and a good 1-2 hours to be able to function.

It also seems to prevent me from standing up straight; I'm bent over at the hips. I try to lie on my back to do my PT exercises and my neck bends backwards because the muscles are so tight and I can't flatten my lower back against the floor.

It takes about a half hour of putting up with the pain for me to be able to lie down flat on the floor (knees up).

Has anyone else experienced this and, if so, what did you do for it?

#169686 - 03/21/10 07:26 AM Re: rib cage pain [Re: mariposa]

hi mariposa. one of my ongoing and constant symptoms. i just take a warm/hot shower. don't think it really helps, but it does in my mind. i have had costo for years. doc about 10 years ago, pre dx, gave me ibuprofen. i didn't like the ringing in the ears. it also hurts with the breathing. why not take a pain med in the night, or right before bedtime, which is what i have taken to doing. haven't experienced the can't go flat on the floor but a few times. mostly just stiff and painful. you must be very advanced in the disease.

yeah, i am with you on the pain meds taking that long. so sorry you are suffering so. it is a real joy of a disease, eh. others will come along with some other things they tried. it is due to inflamation of the tendons on the muscles (intercostals, i believe) between the ribs. very much like a pleurisy (tho that should require medical attention). prayers and peace for a better day, sequoia

#169692 - 03/21/10 07:54 AM Re: rib cage pain [Re: ]
nisey Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 10/30/08
Posts: 1425
Loc: PA
I recently had pain like you are describing but it was located in one spot. It was just below my left shoulder blade. It felt like someone was stabbing me in the back. Nothing seemed to help much. I took as much pain med as I am allowed. I did put heat patches on it. That helped a little cause my muscles were all cramped up because of the pain. I'm sorry I don't have any answers. It went away as suddenly as it started. You have my sympathy! I hope it stops soon!

It is what it is!

#169696 - 03/21/10 10:15 AM Re: rib cage pain [Re: nisey]
Banana Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 07/23/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: New York
Do a search using rib, there have been many many posts about rib pain. Or scroll down, it was just last week. Rib pain sucks.

For women, the disease tends to jump around not going straight up the spine like men do. So you can have rib issues before neck etc

Actema IV once a month (with pre loading for allergic reaction), Cymbalta x1 daily, Arava 20mg daily. Diagnosed with AS in 2004, suffered undiagnosed since 1982.

#169697 - 03/21/10 11:13 AM Re: rib cage pain [Re: Banana]
avonldy Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 2466
Loc: N. Sacramento Valley
I have the rib pain also. I found that sleeping on a electric mattress pad helps a lot. I take my pain meds before bedtime and then again when I wake up in pain(when the pain med wears off) and then I turn up the heat on the mattress pad at about 5 AM. The extra heat help me to wake up less stiff and sore.
Suffering since a teenager.Dx with AS Dec 2009. Dx with ulcerative colitis 1998, both knees replaced 2006. GP said I had "some kind of inflammatory arthritis" 25 years ago. It has taken 50 years to get a Dx.

Mobic, Nexium, Naproxin, Lipitor, 6-MP, Nexium, Miacalcam, MSContin and 2 Norco for break through pain

#169709 - 03/21/10 02:23 PM Re: rib cage pain [Re: avonldy]
ljohnsy Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 302
Loc: Washington, D.C.
Hi mariposa,

I feel you on this, I really do. Rib pain stinks! I'm experiencing it along my side and back, not really in my chest area. I've tried heating pads and most recently, Flector patches for the pain. They help sometimes but not always. Yoga also helps occasionally.

I also feel the worst pain after lying down, or putting any type of pressure on the rib area. My rheumy asked me to let him know if my meds are helping the rib pain. From the way he made it sound, its possible that this particular pain doesn't respond to certain meds...have you discussed this with your doctor?

Sending healing thoughts your way -- I hope you get some relief soon.


Laura -- age 36, diagnosed with AS 11/09. Mom of 2. Currently taking Humira.

#169724 - 03/21/10 06:35 PM Re: rib cage pain [Re: ljohnsy]
mariposa Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1906
Thanks everyone. I have tried a heating pad and it doesn't touch it, even if I leave it on high all night long. For the first time since I was dx'd, I'm taking Vicodin at night. Even so, I wake up every two hours and have to move to another place to sleep (bed, recliner, bed at different angle, etc).

I've started with pain in my SI joints, then it went to my neck and now this. Maybe soon I'll run out of places for it to hurt smile

I'm also discouraged that I'm only getting about 12 days out of my Remicade dosage before this pain comes back. Seems like at the dose I'm at, it should last longer.

I hate to ask the doc to up the dose again, since I did have an infusion reaction last time and was sick for three days afterward.

Oh well, I'll just keep doing my exercises and hope that brings relief eventually.

#169725 - 03/21/10 07:07 PM Re: rib cage pain [Re: mariposa]
winelover Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 12/29/08
Posts: 2183
Loc: Perth, Western Australia
perhaps some of you might like to try what works for me
first of all, "rib pain" is not that specific, is it the ribs themselves that are hurting, the little muscles between the ribs, the layers of muscle over the ribs, the joints where the ribs join on to the spine, the cartilage where the ribs join on to the breast bone? or if you're really lucky, some combination of these sick

for me rib pain is when the joints where the ribs join the spine seize up, this is somewhat painful and can affect your breathing, but the most painful rib thing (for me) is when the layers of muscle over these seized up ribs go into spasm - that is really painful, it feels like I've been in the boxing ring with Muhammed Ali
I get PT on the joints to mobilize them
the PT itself can be painful but it's worth it
within minutes of PT I have noticeably better ROM
once the joints are freed up, the muscles start to calm down
I also get interferential treatment on the muscles
heat at night helps

it can take a few sessions to keep the ribs mobilized then I have to remember my rib exercises, and avoid any activities that cause those joints to seize up (though they can just seize up without any aggravation from me)
one thing that is guaranteed to seize them up is to carry a heavy bag of shopping on one side, have to use a trolley (cart) or split between 2 bags and carry one each side

Edited by winelover (03/21/10 08:31 PM)

#169728 - 03/21/10 07:25 PM Re: rib cage pain [Re: winelover]
LisaNR Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 935
Loc: Houston, TX
The vein of my agony. All my pain is in the chest rib cage area. A joyful combo as described above by Winelover. Have not found anything that really helps. I have not been allowed PT yet. Heat does help a tiny bit. I do notice picking up or carrying heavy items, even pushing the grocery cart makes it worse for me. I make my hubby help with all the shopping for now.

Undiff. Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Dry Eye, IBSD, GERD, Chronic Gastritis, Auto Immune Hashimoto's (Thyroid)
PCOS, Insulin Resistance, High Cholesterol, Gallbladder removed, Hidradinitis Suportiva, B-12 Deficient, Migraines, TMJ, Chronic Rhinitis and Sinusitis, Allergies, Rosacia, Vitamin D Deficient, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Spondy is stressful!), etc. etc. etc.

#169773 - 03/22/10 02:19 PM Re: rib cage pain [Re: LisaNR]
mariposa Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1906
Yep, mine is a combination. Love those charlie horse cramps. Mine is front, back, sides, individual ribs, muscle, everything.

I do stretching but it seems like all the progress I make is gone a half hour afterward, but I keep doing it.

I notice that if I sleep sitting up, the pain is not as bad.

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