Q. I get sudden pain in the left ribs which seems radiating from abdomen. Is it due to pancreatitis?

Answered by
Sreenivasa Rao
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 28, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am a 32-year-old female. Last night out of nowhere I started having a pain suddenly under my ribs on the left side. About an hour later pain developed in my upper back on the left side. I did not fall or lift or hit anything that would cause this pain. Currently, there is no nausea or vomiting. I know this pain is much different from any other pain I have felt. The pain seems to be connected as it is wrapping or radiating around from the abdomen to back. While the pain is not yet excruciating it is still very bothersome and uncomfortable. I could compare the feeling to beg deeply bruised. It almost feels like I was kicked hard in the abdomen and back. I am dealing with something autoimmune but right now it is labeled as UCTD (undifferentiated connective tissue disease). I think it could be related. My concern is that it could be pancreatitis. Do I need to go to the ER? Does pancreatitis progress slowly? This is day two and I do not want to get to the point of excruciating pain.



Welcome to

I read through your concern. The pain what you experience may not be due to pancreas as you feel as usually it will get referred to the right side. There is something like spasm between your intercoastal muscles that will lead to same symptoms and pain that you described, and limited movement of ribs to give rise to associated stiffness and pain in thorax and abdomen.

So, I recommend you to keep icing over the painful area. Drink plenty of water with ORS (oral rehydration solution), keep sipping water. Stay calm and relax. You can lie down if it is comfortable. As you take medication dehydration can occur leading to cramps and spasms.

I hope this helps.

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