Rib Pain When Coughing: Is It Serious?

Rib Pain When Coughing: Is It Serious?

Are you experiencing pain in the rib while coughing? There could be several causes and reasons of this problem; well this is a serious problem to consider.

To know the complete details of this problem keep on reading the article.

Rib cage is the important part of the body which protects the sensitive organs located in the chest cavity.  The rib cage consists of twelve pair of ribs where the first seven pairs are considered as true ribs and the remaining are called floating ribs.

The true ribs are attached to the sternum through coastal cartilage. Cartilage refers to connective tissue that connects the ends of the rib to the sternum.

The next three pairs of the rib are connected to the coastal cartilage of the lowest pair of ribs.

The coastal cartilage allows the ribcage to expand and drop during inhalation and exhalation. One may feel the pain when breathing if he/she suffering from trauma or other medical conditions.

One could even experience pain in the ribs due to an intercostal muscle strain. The intercostal muscle strain may occur due to violent coughing.

Now we will see the causes of pain in the rib while coughing.

Causes of Rib Pain When Coughing

They may be several reasons for the pain in the rib when coughing; some of them are as follows:


If the cartilage of the rib becomes inflamed or injured then this condition is known as costochondritis. Pain and tenderness is common but while coughing, it pains more than in extreme level.

It causes a constant pain while you take a deep breath. Coughing and sneezing cause’s severe pain in several ribs at once.

Joint Conditions

Joint conditions that impact the bones and cartilage can cause pain in the ribs.

Osteoroposis and other degenerative diseases may also lead to rib pain, it increases when coughing and the degenerative osteoarthritis and other type of arthritis can also cause damage to the bones and the cartilage.


Injuries are very common, even the breakage or bruise of the rib bone will lead to strain and stress. Sometimes over use of muscles also cause harm to the bone.

Movements in the ribcage while coughing may cause severe pain in the ribs and discomfort for breathe.

Lung disorders

Rib Pain When Coughing Is It Serious

Several types of lungs disorder also lead to the severe pain in ribs while coughing, pleurisy is a medical term used for one of the lung disorder. Pleura is a membrane which surrounds the lungs if it is inflamed then this condition is called pleurisy.

The people who suffer with pleurisy will experience more pain in ribs while coughing; the buildup fluids between the layers of the pleura may cause painful breathing.

Severe coughing that occurs due to the lung disorders may even cause ribs to crack.

Treatment of Rib Pain When Coughing

In case one suffers from cracked rib due to coughing or rib injuries, doctors may prescribe pain killers and anti inflammatory drugs.

Cracked ribs may heal between 3 to 4 weeks and rib fractures may take longer.

Application of compression wraps or splints may not be suggested.

If your pain is due to physical trauma then ice therapy is the best way to get rid of the rib pain and inflammation.

One should avoid physical activities when you suffer from rib pain because that may worsen the condition.

If you don’t get enough rest, you simply restrain your muscle.