There are many number of pains that we experience. Some of them we ignore, while some might be serious indicators of something underlying and bigger. One such pain that you should never ignore is the niggling pain that you might sometimes get under the right rib cage.

Most of us might have experienced it at least once in our lifetimes, and it may have disappeared on its own – good for you, but sometimes it might lead to a bigger problem. In this article we will talk all about what might cause a pain under the right ribcage and treatment options for this kind of a pain.

Ribs are a protective exoskeleton that prevent any kind of injury to our soft and squishy organs. Before we begin with the causes, here is the list of organs that are present inside our ribs.

Right Rib Cage Organs

Behind Rib Cage: The most important organ behind our rib cage on the right is the liver

Under Rib Cage: Under the rib cage, we have a host of other organs including the Gallbladder, Bile ducts, Pancreas, Right kidney, Colon (right colic flexure and first part of the transverse colon), Stomach (end portion), Duodenum and a portion of the rest of the small intestine.

Now that you know what the organs inside the rib cage are, sometimes the pain under your right rib cage may also be due to some kind of ailments or problems in these organs. The following will tell you some of the common reasons why these organs may lead to that pain.

What Causes Pain Under Right Rib Cage?

When you get a certain kind of pain under the right rib, it may be a first symptom of an injury or some kind of inflammation in the organs we mentioned and those located in the abdomen area. In some very dire situations, it may also be the signal that there is a cancer of the abdomen or nearby organs. But don’t panic, sometimes the pain might just be because of a fracture in your rib cage! It can be anything, so you should always get it checked by a professional or a doctor to ascertain the cause.

Here are some diseases of the organs enclosed by the rib cage that might cause pains:

1. Gallbladder Disease (Gallstones)

Gallbladder is an organ that is located right near the rib cage and under the liver. Sometimes, the gallbladder develops gallstones and inflames. This might be the reason you get niggling pains under the right rib cage.

2. Kidney Stones

An unnatural pain near your right rib cage might also be due to kidney stones and just like the gallbladder stones, you might also get stones in your kidneys. Most kidney stones pass out from the body, but sometimes they are big and it is difficult to get rid of them. These bigger stones might cause pains under your right rib cage.

3. Costochondritis

It might seem like a very complicated name, but costocondritis is nothing but inflammation of the cartilage – the ones that hold the breastbones together. Sometimes, when there is an injury, your cartilage might get inflamed and this will cause a sharp pain on the right side of your rib cage.

4. Liver Problems

Sometimes different problems of the liver might also lead to an excruciating pain near the right side of the rib cage.

Check the different ailments that may cause this pain:

  • Liver Cysts: Cysts can occur to anyone and there might not be any concrete reason why someone gets these cysts in the first place. Most of them are harmless and will lay dormant in your organ without troubling you. But sometimes they may grow a little bigger and this is when the cysts start paining. Liver cysts that grow beyond a certain limit need to be operated and removed. If left like that, they may grow even bigger and cause more problems.
  • Fatty Liver Disease: This is a common problem with people who consume a lot of protein as part of their diet or those who are obese. In this case the fat from other parts of the body starts accumulating in the liver. As such this might cause pains in your liver.
  • Liver Cancer: Although not that common, a pain under your right rib cage might also be a symptom of a developing liver cancer. You should immediately get yourself checked by a professional to understand why you might have that pain.

5. Pancreatitis

Your pancreas is a very important organ that works in conjunction with the liver and the gallbladder to help in digestion. In this case, the pancreas is on the left side, but an inflammation or pancreatitis might make it painful on the right side under your ribs too. The pain travels and if you experience such a pain on both the sides, it might be time to get consult a doctor.

6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

An irritable bowel syndrome typically makes your bowel movements very irregular and it usually occurs when the gut gets irritated due to consumption of certain kinds of food. Usually you will also get pains in your right ribcage if you get IBS. But IBS is also a very dangerous ailment and if left untreated, it can lead to other problems as well.

7. Too Much Gas

One of the most common reasons why you might get pains in different parts of your abdomen is due to the formation of too much gas. Gas can form due to eating food that is very carbohydrate-rich or due to consuming food that is difficult to digest by the body. The build up of this gas is on the right side of the body and this may be the reason why you get pains on the right side of the rib cage. Gas can also be cured without any medication. All you need are some effective home remedies and the pain will subside in a matter of few days.

8. Crohn’s Disease

One of the serious ailments is Crohn’s disease, which is the inflammation of the large intestine. Though pain in the right side of the rib cage exists in this ailment too, this is actually the least of your concerns. Crohn’s disease is also accompanied by abdominal discomfort, a lot of flatulence, pain and nausea. It is a very serious condition and you will need medical attention as soon as possible in case you get Crohn’s Disease.

9. Ulcers

Ulcers in your stomach may be caused either due to acidity or gas or due to injury in the lining of the stomach. As a result of ulcers, your inner lining of the intestine is inflamed and sometimes it even starts bleeding. As a result of these ulcers, you get a sharp pain or twinge in the right most side of your rib cage.

10. Appendicitis

The appendix is a small organ in the small intestine and it is located in the right side of your body. Sometimes it gets infected and swells up, thus causing severe pain. Appendicitis is a very serious issue and you need to get medical attention as soon as possible. Ignoring the appendicitis pain may even lead to death. So if you do get a sharp pain, make sure you get your appendix checked.

11. Injuries

Any trauma or injury on your cartilage of the ribs or some kind of sports injury may lead to pains in the right side of your rib cage. Sometimes, it might be a blunt trauma or a slight injury but ignoring it may lead to bigger problems. X-Rays are very necessary when you get a trauma in the rib region. Remember, the ribs are protecting many important organs and a slight ignorance may lead them to pierce the organs and cause further problems.

12. Fecal Impaction

It is not a common problem, but when it occurs, you will need to prevent further damage by seeking immediate medical attention. When you suffer from Fecal Impaction, the colon will try and accumulate all of the waste products that are produced by the body instead of expelling it out of the body. As a result of the long stay of these waste products in the colon, there might be several other implications and many more problems in the long run. Besides the pain in your right side rib cage, you will also start having difficulty in passing stool. This also leads to constipation.

13. Strain On The Intercostal Muscles

Intercostal muscles are the muscles that lie in between the ribs and sometimes due to daily activities you might strain this group of muscles. Trauma or injury might also strain these muscles and as a result you may get a twinge or a pain on the right side of your ribs. This is also one of the common causes of injury that gives a sharp pain. Only rest and proper posture can be a sure shot treatment for this kind of strain.

14. Trauma To Ribs Or Its Cartilages

You might injure the rib cage cartilage due to numerous reasons. As a result of this, there is a chance that your rib cage will start paining. Generally such a kind of pain should be well examined and if the reason of this pain is found, you can easily get it treated. The longer you let it linger, the worse it gets.

The reasons above were the most common causes for getting different kinds of pains in your rib and why you should seek immediate medical attention when you get certain kinds of pains.

For treatment of pain under right rib cage, here are some ways:

How To Treat Pain Under Right Rib Cage

For treatment of pain under right rib cage, you will need to pinpoint what exactly is the problem. Once you are able to find that out, you can specifically cure that ailment. Most of the problems can go on their own, however some of them might need medical attention and may be precursors of something big. This is why you should be aware of the kind of pain you are experiencing so as to treat it better and efficiently.


No matter what the pain is, it is always best to consult a doctor if you feel that the pain is refusing to subside or is something that wouldn’t be easy to cure. There are certain signs and symptoms that would be very evident and you should be very careful of these warning symptoms. Seek medical attention whenever you see some of the symptoms below.

When To Contact Doctor?

Like we said before, sometimes the pain might be something really common or sometimes it may actually be a warning sign to something big. Here are some of the main symptoms that require you to seek immediate attention:

  • Sharp pain accompanied by problem in breathing
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Cough or phlegm being discharged with your spit
  • Fever
  • Fatigue and joint pains
  • Difficulty in breathing even when not exerting yourself

The above symptoms are telltale signs of something even more problematic and if you see a pain in your rib accompanied by the above, then you should definitely try and reach out to a medical professional to prevent the problem from getting bigger. Remember, sometimes prevention is the best cure so you should be aware of your body and respond to it accordingly.