Pain Under Left Rib Cage With 9 Symptoms and How to deal

The human body, even when appeared to be really strong and has a good immunity system, is susceptible to pain, whether physical or mental. Diseases and injuries aren’t something that you can avoid forever. Occasionally if not frequently, you have to fight a battle against those diseases and injuries caused by unexpected accidents. Among them some are fatal, others not so much. It solely depends on the cause of the pain and the discomfort that tells how fatal a disease is.

The Rib Cage or Thoracic Cavity and Its Significance

The rib cage, also called as thoracic cavity or cage, is a part of the respiratory system and function as a protector for many internal organs and tissues. This structure is constructed from bones and cartilage tissues and supports the shoulder girdle in humans. This cage encases many critical organs including heart and lungs and provides attachments for neck muscles, thorax muscles, upper abdomen and back muscles.

Pain Under the left Rib Cage- Possible Reasons

Nowadays many people are seen holding their left sides, their faces contorted in pain as they tell stories about their suffering, narrating how the pain is affecting their daily lives. The pain on the left side under the rib cage isn’t uncommon and there can be many reasons behind it.

1. Accidents

Have you been in an accident recently? Did you experience a fall while chasing your friends, running miles in school or fighting the bullies? If you have, you may experience an ache under the left rib cage. The intensity of this pain can be either low or very high making you feel like you have been stabbed in that particular region.

The pain may begin immediately after an accident or after some time. The reasons can be a muscle strain, bruised or cracked ribs, or fractured rib cage. Sometimes activities, like bending, twisting or even moving, can make it far worse that it already was.

2. Organs

As stated earlier, the rib cage is a protecting cage that shields many internal organs. Therefore, the pain experienced under the left rib cage can also arise due to the organs present in that area of the human body. The rib cage not only encases heart and lungs but also covers the upper part of your abdomen. Following are the organs that can be the cause of that kind of pain:

  • Lungs
  • Bronchus
  • Stomach
  • Colon
  • Spleen
  • Kidney
  • Esophagus
  • Pancreas

3. Nothing Serious

Sometimes the dull ache on the left side of your rib cage has no serious reason behind it that needs immediate medical attention. Coughing, posture changes and overstretching may be the actual purpose of the pain.

Symptoms and Causes of Pain Under Left Ribcage

Like previously mentioned, the pain under the left rib cage isn’t something that comes as a shock nowadays. Many people suffer from the pain on either side of the rib cage. When the ache begins, most of the times it sets off alarms in your mind making you think that the reason behind it can be related to the heart. But it is important for you to understand that only heart diseases aren’t the actual cause. The lungs or abdominal organs can be the culprit too.

Sometimes diagnosing the real location of the problem and the problem itself is a very difficult job. That’s why you should always seek medical advice if the pain is constant or sharp. Observing other symptoms besides the pain under the rib cage can be quite helpful too. These symptoms can tell you a lot about the underlying problem.

Now let's move on to the section that’s going to prove helpful to you and assist you in distinguishing the different causes of the pain.

1. Lungs

The lungs are responsible for helping the oxygen from the air to reach the red blood cells in the body. They can also be the cause of extreme or dull pain under the left rib cage. The pain, sharp or dull, gets worse during breathing or coughing.

  • Pneumonia: A condition in which due to some infection a lung inflammation occurs.
  • Pleuritis: The lining around the lungs called pleura is inflamed resulting in deep pain.

The symptoms of affected lungs are:-

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Pain worsening during coughing

2. Bronchus or Bronchi

They are the main passageways leading into the lungs. Their role is to carry the air through the lung tissue. These airways within the lungs can also be the main issue behind the pain you are dealing with.

Bronchitis: Inflammation of the bronchi either due to cigarette smoking or infection.

The possible symptoms that can help you in recognizing this disease apart from the pain are:-

  • Coughing
  • Mild fever and chills
  • Chest discomfort
  • Mucus production
  • Exhaustion

3. Heart and Blood Vessels

A human heart lies in the center of the chest but extending a little more towards the left side. A beating heart is a sign of life, that’s why it is considered as one of the most important organs inside the human body. Most of the times, the left-side chest ache is associated with cardiac conditions.

  • Angina pectoris: If the supply of the blood to the heart muscle is insufficient to meet its needs.
  • Aortic dissection: When the inner lining of the aorta tears up and causes the blood to pool in the aortic wall.
  • Pericarditis: This condition occurs due to the inflammation of the lining around the heart and causes immense pain.

There can be a number of symptoms that hints you are suffering from some kind of heart or blood vessel disease.

4. Stomach

Within the abdominal cavity and just under the lower part of the left rib cage, a human digesting organ-stomach is located. Sometimes a stomach that doesn’t function properly due to some reason can be the root cause of the pain encountered by you.

  • Hiatal Hernia: When a portion of your upper stomach protrudes into the chest cavity.
  • Gastritis: This problem arises due to the infection caused by H.pylori bacteria and using NSAIDs frequently. The stomach gets inflamed as a result.
  • Stomach Ulcers: When gastritis becomes severe, it forms open sores in the wall of the stomach.

A number of symptoms will convey a message that your stomach is affected:

  • Nausea
  • Recurrence of the upset stomach
  • ​Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • ​Hiccups
  • Burning sensation in the stomach
  • Loss of appetite

5. Colon

In a human digestive system, the colon is a part of the large intestine. Reabsorbing fluids, processing waste products from the body and preparing for their elimination are all the tasks that the colon performs. It has four parts- descending, ascending, transverse and sigmoid.

In colon structure, there is a bend where the transverse colon turns into a descending one. This is called splenic flexure and it is tucked under the left rib cage usually but it changes position when you stand or lie down. The pain under the left rib cage can also be caused because of the colon.

  • Fecal Impaction: A condition in which hardened stool blocks the colon.
  • Trapped Gas: When intestinal gas is trapped inside the colon, you start experiencing a painful sensation under the left rib cage.
  • Diverticulitis: The outpouchings formed in the colon are inflamed.
  • IBD(Inflammatory Bowel Disease): The autoimmune defect causes an inflammation of the bowel which in turn causes pain.

A few symptoms of the above-mentioned conditions are:-

  • A change in the bowel habits
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal discomforts such as pain, gas or cramps

6. Spleen

The spleen in a human body is a part of the digestive system and has multiple functions. It filters blood, recycles the old red blood cells and stores platelets and white blood cells. This organ also helps us to fight the bacteria responsible for causing pneumonia and meningitis. Almost the whole spleen is located under the left rib cage and can be the main reason behind the pain felt by a person.

  • Splenomegaly: When the spleen is enlarged or inflamed, a very severe, almost unendurable pain is caused.
  • Ruptured Spleen: The surface of the spleen breaks allowing blood to leak out of it.
  • Splenitis: Spleen inflammation may also arise with infections or trauma. Infections may also cause spleen abscess.

The symptoms are:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Easy bleeding

7. Kidney

Kidneys are the bean-shaped organs inside a human body and are entirely tucked under the rib cage. Changing the position doesn't really affect the position of the kidneys. Their functions are to extract waste material from the blood, responsible for forming urine, balancing of body fluids and also aid in carrying out other important functions in our bodies.

  • Kidney Infarct: Kidney infarct is a disease in which a portion of a kidney tissue dies. The death of the tissue is caused due to the blockage in the renal artery.
  • Nephropathy: Excessive alcohol and drug usage, and diabetes and other diseases damage the kidneys. This damage eventually leads to a kidney failure.
  • Kidney Stones: The stones in the kidneys are formed due to hard masses that result from urine precipitates.
  • Pyelonephritis: It is due to the bacteria that attacks the kidneys and infect them.

The symptoms of damaged kidneys are:

  • Reduction in the amount of urine
  • Persistent nausea
  • Experiencing pain or pressure in the chest
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath without any reason

8. Esophagus

The esophagus is a food pipe through which food travels from throat to stomach. This pipe is almost in the center of the chest but slightly towards the left side.

  • GERD: It is a disease in which the stomach acid travels backward into the esophagus.
  • Esophageal Ulcers: Open sores forming in the wall of the esophagus.
  • Esophagitis: Often, GERD affects the esophagus and causes its inflammation.

The main symptoms of the above-mentioned diseases are:

  • Heartburn
  • Asthma
  • Chronic hoarseness

9. Pancreas

This structure inside the human body is for breaking down the food after it has left the stomach. This is done by the enzymes and digestive juices secreted by the pancreas into the small intestine. Its another operation is to produce insulin hormone.

  • Pancreatitis: Inflammation of pancreas.

The symptoms are:

  • Pain when you eat or drink
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

How to Deal with the Pain Under the Left Ribcage- Treatment

Dealing with the pain and the discomfort that accompanies it is never easy. Until proper measures are taken to reduce it and eliminate its major cause, there are chances that it gets worse and worse to the point that it becomes unbearable.

In the section above, you have been enlightened about the main diseases or injuries that have to be blamed for the pain under the left rib cage. It is evident that some diseases aren’t that harmful and a few painkillers may relieve the pain occurring because of them. But there are certain situations in which visiting the doctor becomes an obligation.

1. Eating Habits

Improving your eating habits and consuming healthier food can make a lot of difference. Many of the problems responsible for making you suffer are due to overheating of the organs. That’s why; having healthy meals with low levels of cholesterol will help you in avoiding some of the above-mentioned diseases to a great extent.

2. Medications and Medical Attention

If the pain is persistent, whether sharp or dull, you should seek your family doctor’s advice. Sometimes the problem isn’t serious and after running through some tests the doctor will prescribe you some pain relievers or other medication that assist in lessening the pain and sometimes even fully eliminate the real cause and other symptoms.

3. Surgery

In the case of some extreme medical emergency in order to get cured, you may have to go through a surgery. For example, if the pain experienced is due to kidney stones, they have to be immediately removed. For that, a surgery is necessary. Unfortunately, if you are suffering from heart conditions, sometimes you may have to undergo a surgery too to prevent further complications.

Conclusion

Pain under the left rib cage can result from an external injury or an internal damage to the organs. This pain may also be a manifestation of a disease affecting the organs located on the left side. How the pain has started and how severe and prolonged the pain is, decides whether you should seek medical assistance or not.

Ignoring persistent aches under the left rib cage can be very harmful. Therefore, emergency medical attention should be sought in such cases. You should also visit the hospital regularly and get checked by a doctor to examine the symptoms and detect the real cause.

robert
 

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