23 Common Causes of Pain under Left Rib Cage

Are you feeling a sharp or dull pain under left rib cage? Many people wonder this is a heart-related pain. However, researchers tell us that 85% of hospital admissions for chest pain is NOT the heart attack.In most instances, pain under your left rib cage could be a sign of angina or another cardiac issue. For example injury, kidney disease, gas, enlarged spleen, heartburn, or other digestive problems. It will be essential for you to know the various causes and the possible treatments that you can get to get rid of the left rib cage pain at the soonest possible time.

What Organs Are On The Left Side Under The Rib Cage?

organs on left side of body

The organs that you may cause pain are the following:

  • Heart
  • Left Lung
  • Stomach
  • Adrenal Gland
  • Spleen
  • Pancreas
  • Left Kidney
  • Left Ureter
  • Left Fallopian Tube
  • Left Ovary

Causes of Pain under Left Rib Cage

23 Common Causes of Pain under Left Rib Cage

Here are some of the possible causes why you are experiencing pain in your left rib cage.


Angina is a common cause of pain under left rib cage.Angina is characterized by a chest pain that you will get when your heart does not get enough blood. It will feel like the heart is being squeezed. This is considered as a symptom of a more serious health condition. People who are about to get a heart attack may suffer from this condition first before getting an attack.


This is considered to be the inflammation of the pericardium. The pain may be somewhat similar to a heart attack so getting immediate medical attention is needed to ensure the cause. This may be felt suddenly, or it may be chronic. Chronic means that it will worsen over time. Harder treatment may be needed.


Pneumonia is a common cause of pain under left rib cage.This lung infection can make people feel very sick. Most people who feel this are unable to breathe normally. Pneumonia will usually get cured in about 2 – 3 weeks, but some people may not get cured of this condition immediately. The elderly may exhibit different symptoms and would need more attention.


This is the condition where fluid forms in between the lungs and the chest cavity. This is a condition that will not occur unless the person is suffering from an underlying condition. People who are suffering from this condition may have difficulty breathing.

5.Lung Collapse

This is a condition also known as pneumothorax. The air goes to space in between the chest wall and the lungs. People will normally have difficulty breathing when this happens. Some people experience this because of various conditions while there are also some who get this for no reason.


Heartburn is a common cause of pain under left rib cage.The pain that you may feel in your chest area may feel like a heart attack, but this condition is caused by the leaking of your stomach acids going up your esophagus.


This is a condition wherein hard stools form in the colo instead of the normal ones. This can make the stools harder to remove from the body. Some people also experience difficulty breathing because of this condition.

8.Lung Disease

Lung disease is a common cause of pain under left rib cage.There are different types of lung diseases that people may suffer from. Lung disease usually makes it harder for people to breathe. At the same time, people may also suffer from a chronic cough.


This is also known as Irritable Bowel Disease.Having this disease can make the inflammation of the digestive tract more frequent than before. If you have an underlying health condition, you are more prone to getting this.

10.Gas Stuck in the Colon

Gas stuck in your colon can cause the pain under the rib cage. The amount of gas that is stuck may be excessive. Usually, you can feel the pain reverberating from the upper portion of the left side of your abdomen towards the left side of your rib cage.

11.Irritation on the Spleen

To know if the type of pain that you are experiencing is also due to this, you may also want to see if you are experiencing other symptoms of pain on your left shoulder tips.

12.Rib Injury

The rib injury is the most common cause of pain under left rib cage.This is probably one of the most common reasons why you are experiencing pain under your left rib cage. There is a possibility that you are feeling pain under your left rib cage because you have broken your rib. Ask yourself if you have been in an accident lately or if you have hit yourself unexpectedly. This may be just one of the reasons why you have broken your ribs.


It seems that some people are not aware that Costochondritis is a condition of the infected cartilages that are holding the ribs to the breastbone. This can cause a lot of pain and trouble. Usually, people who have this condition report to have trouble breathing and the slightest movement can cause so much pain. Some people who feel this condition usually think that they have a heart attack.

14.Kidney Stones 

This is another reason for experiencing left rib cage pain. Do remember that it may also affect the right rib cage if the problem is with your right kidneys. The pain may start from your back going to the front.The urinary stones may be located in your kidney. At times, the stones can be found on the ureter. Some tests are needed to confirm this.


Based on the name itself, it is quite evident that this is the type of pain felt because of the inflammation of the pancreas. It will be apparent if this is the condition causing the pain when the pain becomes worse everything you try to eat or drink. You may also experience other symptoms together with this such as nausea, vomiting and even fever.

16.Heart Attack 

This is the type of left rib cage pain that you should not ignore because this can even be fatal. If you are suffering from this condition, you would need to seek medical attention at the soonest possible time.

17.Torn Muscle

This may be caused by a sudden movement you have done. If you have just gotten into an accident, this is possible too.


This is a weak portion in the body that may suddenly rupture. There is usually a bulge before it ruptures and it usually goes by undetected. This is a life-threatening condition that should be checked by the doctor soon.

19.Henoch-Schonlein Purpura

This refers to the inflammation of the arteries. When the arteries are inflamed, the other organs of the body may become affected as well. It is best that this condition will be checked immediately.

20.Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is a common cause of pain under left rib cage.The type of pain that is experienced when a person is suffering from IBS may be very severe at times but most of the time, the pain would be dull.Usually when people feel this, they also experience some bloating and cramps on the lower abdominal area. People who are suffering from this condition can benefit by drinking Aloe Vera juice.

21.Stomach Ulcer

If the type of pain that you are feeling on your lower rib cage is brought about by stomach ulcer, you can tell through the type of pain that you are feeling. If the pain is extremely sharp, this may be the main cause. Do remember that pain brought about by ulcer may also let people feel pain on their shoulder blades and rib cages.

22.Gas Pain

There is a possibility that you have eaten something that your body cannot digest as fast as the other food you have consumed. When this happens, there will be too much acid and gas released by the stomach.

23.Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is another common cause of pain under left rib cage.You may experience acid reflux if you have eaten too much food and you start to feel bad because of it. Usually the pain will start from your abdomen but it will go up until you feel the pain on your lower ribcage. This can sometimes be in the left ribcage or the right ribcage. You may think that you have a heart condition when you experience pain brought about by this condition.

Enlarged Spleen

Enlarged Spleen Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

Enlarged spleen is a common cause of pain under left rib cage.What does your spleen do? This is the organ situated in the upper portion of your abdomen. It is already near your back. This belongs to the lymphatic system. This is one of the organs that is in charge of defending your body whenever there is virus or bacteria trying to invade your body.

The spleen is in charge of producing white blood cells that can get rid of the bacteria, other foreign matter and dead tissue.At the same time, the spleen makes sure that the blood is filtered properly.

The spleen is about the size of your fist, same as your heart but when it becomes inflamed, it may become so big that it can be easily felt. If your body is suffering from different health conditions, your spleen will get affected for sure.

You should not assume that an enlarged spleen means that something is wrong with you. It may signify that your spleen is trying to fight an infection and it is doing so much. The conditions may be very simple or they may be serious.

Some of the causes of having an enlarged spleen are the following:

  1. Various infections – There are different infections that you may get when you go out of your house. From mononucleosis to toxoplasmis, you should be familiar with all of the infections you may suffer from.
  2. Cancer – People who have leukemia usually have a high level of white blood cells.
  3. Inflammatory Diseases – If you are suffering from Lupus, Arthritis and other diseases that cause inflammation, an enlarged spleen is likely to happen.
  4. Trauma – Have you been hit by a blunt object especially on the abdominal area, you may be suffering from an enlarged spleen this way.

Some Symptoms to Watch Out For

Some common symptoms are the following:

  • You normally have trouble eating a large meal.
  • You feel uncomfortable whenever you have eaten too much.
  • You will feel a type of pain that may start on the left side of your body but will also be felt on your left shoulder.

The symptoms that are mentioned above may be very common. You have to wach out for more:

  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Hemophilia – Like Symptoms
  • Anemia
  • Jaundice
  • Prone to getting infections

There are different tests that you need to undergo to find out the main cause of your condition. You will be asked to undergo a blood test, an ultrasound and even a CT scan. If the test results are inconclusive, you will be required to undergo even more tests.

Treatments for Enlarged Spleen

When you have an enlarged spleen, you are not recommended to do some physical activities that might cause your spleen to rupture. Remember that once your spleen ruptures, you may encounter blood loss. You need to get treatments for your enlarged spleen. Some would require their spleen to be removed so that they can survive.

The type of surgery that will be done in order to remove the spleen from the body is called laporascopy. This means that the surgery will not be performed by normal means. The surgery will be done by making small incisions.

Just remember that the moment you do not have a spleen anymore, you will be more prone to getting infections. You need to get different vaccines. You will also be advised by your doctor about the things that you can do and the medications you should take. Always get regular check-ups with your doctor.

Pain under Left Rib Cage

Types of Pain Under Left Rib Cage You May Experience

Pain is something that not a lot of people can tolerate. People who have low tolerance for pain may feel like they are suffering every time they experience pain. Here are the different types of pain you may experience:

  • Pain under left rib when breathing – When this type of pain is felt this is related to the lungs. There are a lot of lung diseases that may eventually lead to the collapse of the lungs. When this happens, people may not be able to take their normal breaths.
  • Sudden sharp stabbing pain in left side under rib cage – This may be cause by an injury or a broken rib cage. At time, sharp and sudden pains may come from having problems with the spleen.
  • Pain under left rib after eating – When you start to feel pain under the left rib after eating, this is an indication that your body is having problems digesting the food you have just eaten. If you want to avoid this, you may want to slow down while you are eating.
  • Dull pain under left rib cage – This type of pain is usually caused by having stomach ulcer. Stomach ulcer can be very painful and may usually occur after eating. The dull pain may also be caused by having gas in the colon.
  • Sharp temporary cramping under left rib cage – The main reason for this is stomach gas. Take note of the food that you have eaten before you experience excess stomach gas. The food that you eat will sometimes have an effect on the process of your digestion.
  • Pain on left side under ribs in front – The main cause of this can be determined base on the type of pain that you are feeling. Is the pain sudden? Is the pain dull? The feeling will give you information on what you are experiencing.
  • Pain under left rib cage in back – The pain under left rib cage at the back may be caused by kidney problems. Those who are suffering from kidney stones or other issues may experience this. If it is the right kidney that has kidney stones, then this is the side that will hurt.

Treatments For Left Rib Cage Pain

Now that you already know the possible conditions why you may be experiencing pain on your lower left rib cage, you may realize that some of these conditions are not too serious but there are also some that you should truly pay attention to. There are various treatments that you can undergo but this will depend on the condition you are suffering from.

  • Have Healthier Meals – Since some of the problems that might be causing your pain are because of overeating, making sure that you will eat healthier will make a lot of difference. Not only will you start to feel better, you may experience other positive things because of this as well.
  • Take Medications – There are some doctors who will require you to take medications in order to lessen the amount of pain that you are feeling or to possibly prevent certain conditions that might cause the pain.
  • Surgery – In extreme health conditions and situations, you may have to undergo surgery in order to help you get cured. For instance, there are some people with kidney stones who would have to undergo surgery in order to take out the stones although at times, this may be cured naturally or through medications. People who have heart conditions may sometimes have to undergo surgery in order to prevent the condition from getting worse.

When to See a Doctor

  • Chills and Fever
  • Sudden sharp pain under your rib cage.
  • Left side chest pain that radiates to your arm and back.
  • Dizziness Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid breathing and rapid heart rate.
  • Very high or low blood pressure.

If the pain has been ongoing for quite some time or you are experiencing a lot of above symptoms, it is best that you get yourself checked now.Do remember that some conditions that may be causing you to feel pain are not that serious but there are also some that would require your immediate attention. Have yourself regularly checked by your doctor so that it can be detected early if there are some problems that you may currently have.

Recommended Reading:12 Causes of Pain under Right Rib Cage


  1. Inderpal February 23, 2016
    • RiRi May 15, 2016
      • Lorimorris October 3, 2016
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