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Mike asked...

I have a painful lump on my left hand side towards the bottom of my ribs...

I have a painful lump on my left hand side towards the bottom of my ribs. I have been to my GP who referred me to a lumps and bumps clinic. They have said that it is a prominent lower rib. They have said that there is nothing they will do and just to leave well alone. Any suggestions as what can be done as it can be painful tender and be difficult to sleep etc if i lay on the lump.

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The answer

Thank you for your question.

Prominent lower ribs can be uncomfortable and painful, especially when sitting & lying in certain positions. Some may find that stretching the arms worsens the discomfort, and although impossible to make any diagnosis without examination, there is a condition called Rib Flare, which is more prominent on the left side, can be genetic.

There are a few suggestions that could be made to help manage the symptoms and provide relief.

  • Breathing. Mindful breathing and breathing exercises can be utilized for symptom relief. Deep inhalation & exhalation are suggested to manage the painful symptoms that are being experienced. Over a period of time, this may help with the overall reduction of the pain.
  • Core body & stability exercises. Core strengthening exercises can be employed to increase the core strength of the body, providing better support within the main torso of the body. This will encourage better posture, and may provide further relief from pain. (Yoga, Pilates).
  • Support of specific areas in certain positions. It may be suggested that when lying down, you use one or two pillows to support the rib and pelvic area in order to create a more comfortable position. There will be no specific positioning that will help, but more of what feels more comfortable to you.
  • Over the counter pain relief. Mild pain relief either in the form of tablets or topical creams can be utilized to help at times when pain worse.
  • Hot & cold therapy. Some may find that the application of heat in the form of a warm wheat bag or covered hot water bottle may assist with the reduction of discomfort. On the other scale, some may find the application of something cool to the area (cool gel pack or covered bag of frozen peas), applied to the area provide some relief from the discomfort. (Please note that if applying either of these therapies, it is really crucial to not apply them directly to the skin and not for more than 20 minutes at a time).

If you are a Member of AXA PPP Healthcare, you can get in touch with our Personal Advisory Team to discuss “Working Body”, which enables Members to have access to over the phone consultation with a Physiotherapist. Please contact us to discuss this further.

We hope that this has been of some assistance to you, and hope that some of these ideas help with your symptoms.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses