Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
Causes of Pain Under Left Rib Cage
Having pain under your left rib cage can be caused by a variety of medical conditions which can include:
- Having pain arise from any organ located in your chest, left ribs, spine or your left upper abdomen area.
- Spleen irritation – you can get this during or after running or any other type of physical activity.
- Splenic flexure syndrome – this is also known as gas in the colon. This is when gas becomes trapped in the bend of your colon that lies near the splenic flexure.
- Costosternal syndrome – this is also known as costochondritis. It is an inflammation of the cartilages that connect your ribs with the breastbone and is usually caused by a viral infection.
- Broken, fractured, or cracked rib(s) – the main cause of having a broken rib is trauma such a severe impact or blow to that area or an accident.
- Herpes zoster (shingles) – this is caused by the reactivation of infection with the Herpes zoster virus which is the virus that causes chicken pox.
- Lung problems – some of the causes can include lung cancer, mesothelioma, lung infarct, pneumonia, pleuritis, pleural effusion, or pneumothorax.
- Muscles spasms in the abdominal wall or chest
- Torn or stretched muscle
- Abdominal or chest trauma
- Gastric or stomach ulcers
- Kidney diseases such as urinary stones in your left ureters or in your kidney
- Inflammation of your heart sac called pericarditis
- Acid reflux or heartburn – these medical conditions are usually caused when you consume too much acidic drinks or foods.
- Indigestion and constipation
- Diverticulitis – this is when you have small pouches of the inner lining of your intestine that become infected.
- Bowel obstruction – this is caused by the intertwining of your intestines causing a partial or total blockage of your intestines.
- Spleen irritation – if this is the cause you will usually not need any treatment except for some rest. After resting the pain under left rib cage will go away.
- Splenic flexure syndrome – before you can get rid of the trapped gas you need to know what caused the trapped gas. To get rid of it you can try leaning over the back of a chair.
- Costosternal syndrome – you can treat this by taking anti-inflammatory medications and rest but it will usually heal on its own within seven to fourteen days. If it is severe or chronic you may be given a prescription for oxycodone or hydrocodone. You should also try to restrain from any stressful activity.
- Broken, fractured, or cracked rib(s) – If it is a simple crack they will usually heal on their own in thirty to sixty days but you will normally have to have surgery if is a complicated fracture. To help enable deep breathing without having any pain your physician may give you a prescription for pain medications.
- Herpes zoster (shingles) – this will usually heal on its own in a few weeks but you may need a prescription for pain medication due to the burning pain. You may also need something for the itchy rash.
- Lung problems – how they are treated depend on what the cause is. If it is pneumothorax, which is collapse of your lung, it is usually treated with surgery.
- Acid reflux or heartburn – you can treat this with over-the-counter medications for heartburn or acid reflux and avoiding foods and drinks that cause these medical conditions. If it is severe or chronic your physician may give you a prescription for stronger medication.
- Gastric or stomach ulcers – to help the ulcers to heal and get some relief from the symptoms your physician will usually give you a prescription for antibiotics.
- Indigestion and constipation – avoid foods that cause constipation and digestion by eating a proper healthy diet. If you are suffering from constipation you should make sure that you are eating a diet that is high in fiber.
- Diverticulitis – to treat this medical condition your physician will give you a prescription for medication to help with the pain.
- You must also eat a proper diet and make changes in your lifestyle because once you have this condition you will have it for the rest of your life.
- Bowel obstruction – treatment involves the insertion of a pipe through your nose to the intestines. In severe cases you may need to have surgery.