Pain Left Side of Abdomen Under Ribs

The primary function of the rib cage is to protect essential organs and tissues in the thoracic cavity, the chest and within the stomach. An increasing number of people have reported experiencing pain under left rib cage eventually in their lives. This pain may be connected with different causes. The rib cage, chest and stomach are also prone to different injuries, which may cause a varying degree of discomfort.

What Causes Pain Left Side of Abdomen Under Ribs?

Many individuals panic when they experience pain in left side under ribs since they assume that it is a heart issue. While this might be the cause, there are numerous other conditions which may cause this problem.


In most cases, indigestion is caused by taking too much food. Due to the fact that there is much food in the digestive system, the system automatically decreases leading to slow food digestion. Owing to the slow food digestion procedure, gases get trapped and accumulate in the colon. These caught gases cause a pressure to accumulation in the digestive system, for this reason the pain in the left rib cage.

Pneumothorax, a condition just like gas trapping, can also cause pain left side under ribs. In this case, air is caught in between the ribs and the lungs. This occurs when the lungs collapse due to a rupture of the lung membrane.

Acid Reflux

As the name suggests, acid reflux is caused by extreme consumption of acidic foods and drinks. This acid builds up in the digestive system results in acid reflux or heartburn. The condition is characterized by a sharp pain in the thorax. Lots of people tend to confuse this pain with a heart condition.

Kidney Stones

This is another common cause of pain left side under ribs. The condition may take place multiple times in one person. kidney stones may affect either kidney. As such, the pain is experienced on the side of the kidney that is affected by the condition.

Pain related to this condition usually begins with the back and slowly moves to the front. If you experience this type of pain, you should see a doctor right away for diagnosis and proper treatment.


Pancreatitis is a condition that is identified by inflammation of the pancreas. Patients dealing with this condition experience medium to severe pain in left side under ribs. Sometimes, this pain tends to radiate to the back. Eating and drinking tend to worsen the pain associated with this condition. Other conditions associated with this condition are queasiness, vomiting and fever.

pain left side of abdomen under ribs


This is another condition that might cause pain in the thoracic cavity. It is caused by a viral infection in the cartilages in the breastbone. The pain causes the patient to think that she or he is experiencing a heart attack while the real pain is under the rib cage. As such, if you experience pain left side under ribs, it is advisable to opt for an examination to ascertain the cause.

Spleen Damage

The spleen is an organ situated on the upper part of the abdominal area. The main function of the spleen is to filtrate and control red blood cells. Pain in left side under ribs can be caused by an issue with the pancreas.

For example, an enlarged or ruptured spleen can result in tremendous pain under the left rib cage. This pain can gradually shift to the back and shoulders. Patients experiencing leukemia, splenomegaly or asplenia ought to visit a doctor immediately if they experience pain under the ribs on the left side.

Rib Damage

A broken rib will not just cause severe pain on rib cage, but will also hinder regular motions of the patient. As a result, a specific with a broken rib will be unable to walk around due to the pain and discomfort. Rib damage is usually caused by external trauma, especially blunt force trauma. In some cases, this damage is accompanied by visible signs of bruising on the surface.

Respiratory Disorders

A condition in the lungs and the surrounding structures can result in pain in the rib cage too. For example, inflammation of the lung linings can result in severe pain under the rib cage. In addition, respiratory infections, consisting of pneumonia, pleural effusion, pleurisy, tuberculosis, lung cancer and penumothorax might likewise cause this pain. Such conditions are associated with pain left side under ribs. The pain is intensified by coughing.

Angina Pectoris or Heart Attack

It is not good to ignore pain under the rib cage, particularly the left side. Some of this stabbing or sharp pain may be connected with a heart attack or angina pectoris. Such cases need to be taken care of instantly. For that reason, it is great to get diagnosed if you experience pain under the rib cage.

Treatment for the Pain Left Side of Abdomen Under Ribs

Depending on what is causing this pain under left rib cage, there are various remedies that might be used to ease the pain and cure what is causing the pain. Since there are many types of pains, many individuals might be puzzled about the proper medication for the pain. The following are a few of the treatments that may be used to treat this condition.


This remedy is primarily used for the serious cases. For instance, if the pain left side under ribs is a result of a broken rib or burst spleen, you may need to undergo a surgery to remedy the issue, failure to which then the issue will just intensify.


Other problems that cause pain under the rib cage may require some kind of medication. Pain in the rib cage as a result of muscle pains or a digestive issue might be relieved by taking medication.

Dietary Changes

Pain under the rib cage may be caused by acid reflux or indigestion. As such, a basic change in the diet can go a long way in resolving the problem. For instance, you might prevent foods that are hard to digest to fix the indigestion problem or prevent acidic beverages to prevent acid reflux. Both of these will help in alleviating pain under the rib cage.

When to See a Doctor

Although numerous medications may be used to ease the pain, the best thing to do the moment you experience pain left side under ribs is to go to an excellent doctor for diagnosis. This will not only ascertain the real cause of the problem however also help in figuring out the most appropriate remedy for it. In some instances, the pain will keep on recurring after a while. For that reason, the best thing is to speak with a medical doctor to fix the problem once and for all.

Last modified: August 7, 2016


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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