Intense pain under right breast when stretching or reaching


Q: I am a female, 34 and have been experiencing pain exactly under my right breast, at my ribcage for the past two weeks. I had no incident or accident so i rule out something like a bruised or broken rib. The pain is mainly when i move especially if stretching or reaching for something, or by touching , laying on this side. The pain is quite intense, like a stabbing sensation. If i touch this area, exactly under the breast, i can feel a long stringy bulge, like a strained muscle. I stopped exercising since and i went to the doctor. He gave me anti-inflammatory meds for 2 days but the pain is still there. Do i need to visit another doctor?


A:   Based on your description, most likely you may have experiencing a Intercostal Neuritis or Costochodritis, which is not a serious condition but very annoying indeed and slow healing. By a spasm or a direct trauma the intercostals muscles and nerves got injured, and that’s why you are feeling that stabbing pain every time you take a deep breath, sneeze or cough. The suggested strategy would be: please, try to be patient and do not expect an overnight improvement, take anti inflammatory medication (“Aleve”, “Motrin”), and also Vitamin B12 supplement. Local moist heat helps to ease the pain. Try to avoid activities that worsen the pain.

Comments / Follow Ups

Doctor: Thank you for the comment, Guest. We are here to help you.

What you have described seems to be chest pain. Even though your symptom is pain in the right breast, it is still possible to be chest pain.

Here are possible causes of the pain:
- Cardiac chest pain
- Lung disorders
- Skeletal muscle issues
- Pulled muscles under the breast that is causing pain
- Acidity

Here is what you need to do. See a Doctor and get an ECG done to rule out heart disease. Once heart disease is ruled out, your Doctor will reach the cause.

If the result is soft tissue pain of the area of the breast, then you can treat it with RICE therapy. RICE therapy is

Rest the area and avoid using it too much
Ice the area for 15 mins every hour
Compression of the area is not possible
Lastly, elevate the area above the heart. Usually sleeping on your back will help you.

If the pain near the breast does not go away after 5 days, please see a Doctor. All the best.

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