[Member Discussions and Questions] Chest and Rib Cage Pain with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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RA and Chest Rib Cage Pain Member DiscussionMay 27, 2014

Chest/ rib cage pain? A Chick writes:

I would like to know if any members have chest/ rib cage pain. I can not get relief. I’ve only been diagnosed for 8 months( RA and
Lupus). I am on Plaquenil, Prednisone , Tramadol, Methotrexate, folic acid, and 800 mil Ibuprofen. It hurts to take deep breaths, cough, sneeze, yawn, laugh, cry…..I often holler out in pain ( which is embarrassing) The pain varies from my breast bone, to lower ribs, to spine. I take the Ultram, and 800 mg of Ibuprofen to no avail. My doctor says it’s just inflammation. I had a cat scan because of fluid around my lower lung but there have been no conclusions reached on the pain. Should I get a second opinion, see a pulmonologist, or just wait it out? Thanks for any advice.

Do you have advice for this member? Because it sounds so much like Costochondritis that I deal with to me I’m attaching informative link on that but with all chest pain VERY important to always get it thoroughly checked out just to be on the safe side. (((pain-free internet hugs))) Here is link on information from Webmd:

What our members have said so far:

Beth – Yes I’ve JUST gone thru an “Episode” similar to what your talking about. For to months I thought I was going to fall apart over the excruciating pain. It truly was a flare that has finally left my chest, rib cage and couldn’t take deep breaths. It had passed and I’ll pray yours does as well.
Good luck, sorry your on SO many drugs but that’s part of the RA life unfortunately. I thank God for my good days and pray ALOT ….. Best wishes

Chelsea – Worst feeling. It sucks when RA doesn’t just stick to your joints but attacks your otherwise healthy self.

Tricia – Yep. Had this for years, even before I was diagnosed with RA. Doc said it was pleurisy at one point but it’s definitely inflammation caused by RA etc. It is so painful! I’ve just come out of a huge flare and this was a main event. I used a small electrical device on it too. Which helped a bit. Strangely, when I mention it to the rheumy, they just look sympathetic. Hello! Pain here! Looking sad not helpful!

Jacqueline – I get the same thing. At first I thought it was something to do with my heart….now I know it’s inflammation/flare-up so I take prednisone and ride it out. I know it’s not the best way to live but what else can I do?

Deborah – I suffer from this a lot. Found out my ribs dislocated constantly. My chiropractor is my best friend!

Dian – I have this also and only high doses of daily prednisone help me.

Toni – I have had pleurisy as well – just awful! Only high dose steroids stopped it

Julie – I had mine drained.

Kellie – I had it two months ago. A combination of voltaren and extra strength Tylenol helped.

Lela – Going through this myself. Got so worried about it I ended up going to the doctor due to the pain and he said it sounded like costo. No x-ray or anything, but was told the same by my specialist. It really sucks. I hope they manage to help you with the pain you’re experiencing.

Julie – I’ve suffered from early on in my RA with costcocondritis the first time I was convinced I was having a heart attack as I couldn’t breath & the chest & ribcage pain was horrendous crushing pain I’ve had many bouts of it & hate it feel sorry for anyone who suffers

Michele – Oh my, I have been having the chest pain for a year now. I have had every test imaginable to find out why. All along I have been asking if it could be due to my disease and have heard no. This makes me realize it is. Thanks so much for the info.

Liz – Everyone, something to look at, are any of you on the same meds? Be careful of what you take and when you take it. Some meds can cause more pain than they are worth taking. My pharmacist has always told me to never take all your meds at once. Doing this in itself can cause bad side effects and even contraindicate. Watch out for taking them with soda or milk, even with some vitamins. This can also contraindicate. We already have to be careful enough…. Just a reminder to you all…. Take Care and hopefully we all will have a pain free day!

June – Agreed ! Sounds like chostocondritis. I get it too and I’ve been to the ER thinking it was a heart attack. Sometimes Hearst relaxes the muscles or ice for inflammation . Hugs ((. ))

Lucy – I had this, it took a good few weeks to improve, I did get checked out at the doctors to make sure it wasn’t anything else x

Sue – Yes I was diagnosed with this but can ignore it. Went to A&E twice over night. The first time was before I was diagnosed with RA/OA/fibro. The second time I had an inkling whta it was but had to rule out heart probs. Take care!

Carrie – The medications we take can cause permanent damage to the lungs. As much as it sounds like costochondritis, it is always better to get it checked out. You don’t have to jump straight to the specialist either. Your doctor may be able to do some initial tests (x-rays and such) and be able to tell if it is lung damage or not.

Cheryl – Yes I get pain in ribs and chest.  It’s so annoying

Sarah – I just had a few weeks of this. Would hold my chest when I sneezed and coughed.

Stephanie – It’s common with RA and Lupus. I’ve suffered from it for years. Today was particularly bad. I ice and use TENS to take the edge off.

Lynda – I’ve gotten that on and off for years,it’s so painful,I didn’t know it was linked to my RA??

Kelly – See a cardiologist! Chest pain is NEVER to be ignored.

Steph – Oh my gosh. I thought it was just me. My chest feels like it is rubbing or grinding and my upper back hurts so bad I have to hold my chest when I sneeze. When I sneeze it feels like my back is going to break in half. I do have Interstitial lung disease.

Sherry – physical therapy does help… I agree.. teaches you how to deal with it… it seems to go in cycles.

Cindy – I feel for you Physio therapy helped me through it a couple of times.

Steph – This article mentions that RA and Lupus can cause pleurisy.
I had a dr cause a pneumothorax in my right lung and a few months I experienced pain just like you are describing. Turns out it was pleurisy which is inflammation and/or infection in the area between your chest wall and lung. This space is supposed to be fluid and smooth and with the inflammation your lung is rubbing your chest wall. Id be fine one second and crying the next because the pain would be so bad.

Amy – Heat helps. I’ve taken super strong muscle relaxants in the past – just one at night with first onset – and this prevented my chest from fully seizing up. Very painful. Sorry you are having it.

Kaci – I have this constantly but I have AS, too:( and Crohn’s. Do I get some prize for being a triple threat on autoimmune diseases? LOL!

Vickie – Go get xrays and a catscan. This happened to me last May and it ended up being pneumonia with severe swelling. My sternum was so swollen the doctor couldn’t use a stethoscope.

Barb – I have the pain in my chest and breast bone as well. There is times it hurts so much that I end up in emergency

Angie – Costochondritis Definition…/basics/definition/con-20024454

Mary – seeing a cardiologist was the first thing my primary dr ordered. I definitely have costo. very painful on my right side of ribcage.
I suffer with this 24/7.

RA – pleurisy.

Donia – I would suggest getting an accurate diagnosis and not assume your pain is caused by one particular thing or another. As you can read from the comments although they are very well meant; you could have any number of things many of which could be very serious.

Sharan – Me,too! I am seeing a cardiologist this afternoon .

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The above is a discussion created by a member and with member generated responses from our Facebook community ( put into a format so that the discussion can be archived for future answers needed by others in a searchable format while keeping member anonymity. Member provided information, statements and opinions do not reflect on or all individuals with Autoimmune Arthritis. We encourage all members to seek professional medical advice for any specific questions and concerns as this does not substitute competent medical care.

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