I know some of Malaysian suffers Rib Cage Sharp Pain, specifically Right Rib Cage excruciating yet sharp pain when deep breathing (inhale/exhale). This diagnosis based on my own experience dealing with this pain and how I found out the cause and solution to deal with it.

Let me tell you a little bit about my bad habit. I’m a smoker, around 12 to 15 cigarette per day. Been increase lately because of I use cigarette as a reward of any small/big achievement or as comforter to any problems that I face. (Please don’t put comment on stop smoking, because to the one who smoke, they do know what long life achievement they already get by being smokers). But my cough (which eventually inherit side effect of being smokers) had caught up with me and I feel something like mucus had building up inside my lung.

To expel the mucus, I take mucosolvant one tablet every 4 to 8 hours (with sometime additional cough expectorant) which sufficiently able to make the mucus expel easily from my lungs as they keep on building up. And this activity goes around continuously about a week.

One rainy night, my room temperature plunge down to cold zone and to expel the mucus (by coughing it out) become harder and harder. This when the rib cage sharp pain from my right side of the lung started to attack me and the pain is unbearable in every breath I take.

It started from my lower right diaphragm and goes to near center of my right lung. And the coughing still continued to worse. Every time I try to inhale deep, hold my breath, coughing, sneeze, or hick-up the pain is unimaginable.

When come morning, when I woke up, the sharp pain seems to shift to my upper right lung and the same or yet worse pain goes when I try to inhale deep, hold my breath, coughing, sneeze, or hick-up. In my mind I imagine the worse like lung inflammation, pleurisy, tuberculosis, pneumonia, pneumothorax and worse possible lung cancer!

As the cough not go away, more towards shortness of breath because of the pain, I start to show lack of oxygen symptoms like feeling dizzy and bluish finger. I had a long stare at my wife and my baby thinking I may not see them at my old age. You will see the God is too big and God plan seems not preferred yours at all.

Then, I decided to see doctor for x-ray and other diagnostic possible to get to the bottom of this. Even I afraid of the worst result like lung cancer; I must face it because the sharp pain now taking my optimum performance even to breathe. 

After the doctor go with the diagnostic and x-ray, the doctor become clueless because there’s no direct indicator to every list of lung problems. And the doctor start to blame of my smoking habits and taking mix of medicine which in his/her thought might course the immediate problems. 

I end up getting (again) cough expectorant, some must finish antibiotic, and mucus expel solutions to get rid my cough problem. To me, the cough may cause the problem, but the sharp pain related to what? And the doctor had no idea. 

Same goes to second doctor, with nearly same diagnostic and x-ray, and nearly the same medicine supply. The blame goes to (again) my smoking problems. (Some doctors don’t want to admit that they do not know on something) 

Feeling unsatisfied, I go to internet and dig down to the root cause of the problem. I seems like there’s some website like below give the same clue, but with no apparent solutions. You may take the time to read if you need more info on this “rib cage sharp pain” and I may warn you that there’s no direct solution in this website. And the pain still here and my breath become shorter and shorter every hour. 

The link to the website

But then I found one internet doctor had found the solution to the problem. His internet name is ‘Dr. A. Madia’ from India. From his post comment on 2006, he said it was cause by small injury (from very hard coughing) to the ‘intercostals muscles of the thoracic cage’. 

And his solution was:

1)      Ponstan (Mefenamic Acid) 500mg 2 to 3 times a day. (or)

2)      Nurofen (Ibuprofen) 400mg 2 to 3 times a day.

At first, I take one Ponstan, and amazingly, the sharp pain seems to disappear after 5 to 15 minutes after taking it. And this  amazing discovery (for me it’s too amazing) taking me to challenge my lung to take as deep breath as I can take and what surprises me no pain at all. Even by holding my breath and inflate my lung with extra pressure. Even my cough seems to minimize. No pain at all. Fast and Amazing! 

And because of that’s the last Ponstan, I kept from before because of my wisdom teeth surgery 3 months ago, I go to any pharmacy to get some personal supply. Eventually, most of pharmacies in Malaysia during this time (in publishment of this article) have some problem to order stock from manufacturer. 

Alternatively, I ask for Ibuprofen with trade name Nurofen. Same thing happen after taking one tablet for the first 5 to 15 minutes, the pain disappear. Again…just amazing! 

Both of the tablets (Ponstan/Ibuprofen) manage to get the pain gone for amazingly 12 hours in one tablet. 

To get further challenge (in the name of science), I try again to smoke, and the result was no pain, no hard cough, even mucus easily to expel from my lung during smoking. 

For me, there’s no direct solution to muscle injury except 3 to 7 days rest on the injury zone with good and healthy diet. But if its related to something that move a lot like your own lung, this two pain-killer might manage to subside the excruciating pain. 

Some doctor might find this was a temporary solution to the original problems because the original problem was the cough itself. And I agreed. But for me, to minimized the pain eventually heals the ‘intercostals muscles of the thoracic cage’ in some period of time and with some other medicine like cough expectorant, some must finish antibiotic, and mucus expel solutions, without the sharp pain, was even better with the unbearable pain. 

So, my (manageable) final solution, get x-ray to get first opinion from doctor. Who knows you actually have genuine lung problems or cancer. But if there was no apparent problem beside hard coughing, get cough expectorant, antibiotic and mucus expel solution from the doctor and ask extra for either Ponstan or Ibuprofen to manage the pain and healing rib cage muscle period.

I hope this helps Malaysian who smoke or non smoker and have similar problems in the future. 

Waiting for some positive comment (and not stop smoking comment please).