Rib pain is a common medical complaint that can happen to any gender. One of the four sections that make up your stomach (abdomen), the upper right quadrant, is the region directly below your right rib cage. Pain under the right rib cage is rather common; however, what causes pain on the right rib can originate from a variety of sources.

Pain under right rib can be as results of some trivia effects such as the bad sitting or leaning posture, muscle strain from exercise, blunt force from a fall or a hit of punch on the right rib area.

However, conditions affecting the liver, right kidney, and gallbladder, all of which are located in the upper right quadrant, are also common sources of pain in this region and in most cases referred pains from other parts of the body.

How Long Does The Pain Last?

Depending on the cause of the pain, it can come as a sudden sharp pain under the right rib cage or a dull pain. The pain can also be intermittent or constant.

 Causes Of Pain On The Right Rib

As stated earlier, there are various causes of pain under the right rib cage and back. Here are some of the causes and symptoms of pain on the right rib:

1. Injuries

The most common cause of pain on the right rib is because of injuries. Injuries to the right rib such as a strained or torn muscle, a bruised or broken rib can produce considerable amount of discomfort in the rig cage area. Movement of the affected area and can worsen the pain with either a sharp or dull ache.

Symptoms include pain, swelling of the affected area and discoloration- patches of red or purple on the affected zone.

Major culprits indicted are blunt force like punches, falls, accidents or sports.

2. Gastrointestinal Conditions

Gastrointestinal issues may produce right-sided pain, stiffness, or cramping because sections of your GI system are beneath the right rib. Some of the GI conditions include:

i. Indigestion

This is characterized by bloating and pain and can be as a result of stomach infection, overeating and anxiety. Indigestion can cause pain and discomfort under the left or right rib cage.

Indigestion is best managed by eating smaller portions of food and taking some antacid medication.

ii. Peptic Ulcers and Acid Reflux

The digestive acids of the stomach can move up the intestines, causing a condition called acid reflux. This usually is accompanied with a burning sensation- heartburn or bloating. The pain is worsened with the presence of peptic ulcer.

iii. Irritable Bowel Disease (I.B.D) And Irritable Bowel Syndrome (I.B.S)

These may cause gas, constipation, diarrhoea, stomach discomfort, and bloating up to your right rib cage. IBS is a chronic GI condition that produces discomfort and can be addressed with lifestyle adjustments while IBD can cause rectal bleeding and if not properly managed can lead to life threatening diseases like colon cancer.

3. Appendicitis

When the appendix becomes inflamed, it can cause pain on the right side of the body. You may feel pain in your lower right side that eventually moves up to your rib cage area. An infected or inflamed appendix requires immediate medical attention because of the danger of rupture.

4. Pneumonia

This infection of the lungs caused by wide varieties of factors affects the air sac. It is most times accompanied by an inflammation on the left and/or right rib cage and back. Coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing are additional symptoms, and they can worsen to the point of being fatal.

5. Gallstone

The gallstone is a condition of the gall bladder. The gallbladder is located in the right upper quadrant just below the liver. Gallstones are solid masses seen in the gallbladder, often composed of cholesterol or bilirubin (a byproduct of hemolysis).

Gallstones are prevalent in adults, however they often do not cause any discomfort. Sharp, stabbing pain under the right rib cage can occur, though, if a gallstone blocks off a duct in the gallbladder

6. Kidney Stone

Kidney stones form when mineral salts accumulate in the kidneys as a result of medical history, low water intake or diet. Kidney stones at the right kidney can cause discomfort in the right upper quadrant of the stomach.

Symptoms of kidney stones include but not limited to; fever, difficulty in passing urine, frequent urination, low quantity of urine and blood in the urine.

Other Possible Causes includes:

  • Costochondritis
  • Pleurisy
  • Liver diseases
  • Lung cancer
  • Heart problems E.T.C


Should the pains and symptoms persist for more than 3 to 4 days after taking mild medication, it advisable to visit your doctor. This will not only put your mind to rest when a trivial diagnosis is made but will also serve as an early detection and treatment for life threatening conditions.

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