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Dr Basu
Dr Basu, Experienced Specialist
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 29073
Experience:  MD
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Hi dr, I am 49, female, non smoker, non drinker, slim, have

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Hi dr, I am 49, female, non smoker, non drinker, slim, have controlled underactive thyoid and also RA controlled with low dose methotrexate and no joint damage. For about 2 months I am getting a sharp stabbing pain on the outer left side of my rib cage about 2-3 inches down from my arm pit, right on the left side. Sometimes it hurts when I press it at times when I am feeling pain. I havent lifted anything or had any injury, but the pain is strong and stabs when it comes and wakens me up at night now. It seems to be worse when lying down. Recent blood tests normal. Ultrasound of pelvis and upper abdomen normal.

I have just returned today from a transatlantic flight and the pain in my left side right at the bottom of my rib cage has flared up from nowhere and I also have pain in my shoulder. I was lying down and it woke me up. It is worse lying down. I just took an asprin. Any thoughts?

mysticdoc :

The views expressed by me are for educational purposes only and do not establish a doctor patient relationship.

mysticdoc :

Hello

mysticdoc :

Thanks for your question.

mysticdoc :

Please get a EKG and a stress test to make sure this is not heart related.

mysticdoc :

Otherwise, this is most likely a nerve irritation related pain.

mysticdoc :

Intercostal nerve may get inflamed from normal activities resulting in persistent pain.

Customer:

Hi doctor. Thank you. Would that pain come on and radiate to shoulder out of nowhere? If I take an anti inflammatory it usually disperses but unsure why it keeps coming back and now after a flight to UK from USA it has started up. What causes the intercostal nerve to become inflammed? Thank you. I will get EKG.

mysticdoc :

This can be from nerve impingement at the back or from normal stretching or twisting injring the nerve.

mysticdoc :

Sometimes, viral infection also can affect the nerve.

mysticdoc :

Since it is helped by the anti inflammatory medication, this is likely due to the nerve related.

Customer:

Thank you. I have had this pain now on and off for 2 months - would it not just go away on its own, am confused why it keeps returning. Would none of these scenarios just heal and not come back.

mysticdoc :

Nerve related pain can persist for several months as these muscles are constantly being used for respiration and other daily activities.

Customer:

I see. I will take the anti inflammatory.

mysticdoc :

You may plan to see a physical therapist if heart tests are normal.

Customer:

Thank you.

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