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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Pleurisy or Costochondritis
Posted by: Jorge
Date: July 25, 2000 7:33 PM

For about two years I have had pain just below my right rib-cage that comes and goes. I have not been able to establish any pattern as to what might be causing it. Sometimes it is more prominent than others but is usually a dull type of pain rather than a sharp jabbing type. I've had all types of tests (ultrasound, chest x-ray) and bloodwork done and have not been able to get a definite diagnosis from my doctor as to what it could be. What is the difference between pleurisy and costochondritis and could this be what I have?

RE: Pleurisy or Costochondritis
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, MD
Date: July 30, 2000 1:11 PM

Pleurisy is a sharp stabbing pain made worse by breathing. As to chostochondritis, this is inflammation at the juncture where the rib meets the cartilage of the sternum. The pain would be located somewhere along the lateral edge of the breastplate (sternum). You will also want to consider liver pain in the differential diagnosis given that you say it is below your right rib cage. Liver stress is common as the liver is the major detoxifying organ in a toxed out environment. Of course if your liver tests are normal, your doc will tell you this is not the problem, which is not necessarily true. Also, think of the possibility of gall stones.

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