My Ribs Hurt After Throwing Up

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Simply put, yes, your ribs can hurt because you threw up. In addition, excessive vomiting, workouts, and even extreme phlegm conditions, which lead to sneezing and coughing, can cause your ribs to dislocate, although it is somewhat rare.

The most common cause for rib pain is inflammation in your ribs due to the heavy heaving process involved with vomiting. Identifying the difference between the two can be tricky and subtle, but you can easily distinguish it with the intensity of pain you’re undergoing. If your chest hurts along with your upper body and if your vomiting involves unusual sweating, you will need to visit your doctor immediately. Relentless vomiting might be soothed by various home remedies like aromatherapy and keeping yourself hydrated.

Our ribcage, while being a steady skeletal structure, also has a certain flexibility to it. For example, you’ll notice that every time you breathe in, your ribcage expands and then relaxes as you exhale.

Each of your ribs is attached to your spine by 3 tiny joints, which can get inflamed. Considering this, it’s almost natural that your ribs are prone to various injuries in constant and excessive use, like when vomiting often.

But can excessive vomiting cause rib dislocation? What other extensive rib movements can dislocate your ribs? How do you identify if your vomiting has caused inflammation in your ribs or dislocated your ribs? What can this awful combination mean?

What other symptoms should you watch out for medical attention? How do you stop your relentless vomiting process?

What excessive rib movements can dislocate ribs?

Having a dislocated rib is no picnic. And you’ll definitely know if one is dislocated. But here are a few possible reasons for a rib to get dislocated.

  1. Excessive vomiting – You guessed it! The first on the list would be vomiting since the convulsive repetitive action of heaving can make your rib ‘pop’.
  2. Extreme workouts – Abrupt heavy exercise, especially if you don’t have a proper form like when trying to lift weights that you’re not yet ready for. This can pressurize your ribs which pop out of place.
  3. Extreme sneeze and coughing – You don’t have to worry about the common cold or sniffles injuring your ribs. However, if your situation is pneumonic or has a connection to bronchitis, it could strain your ribcage unnecessarily.
  4. Pregnancy – Unfortunately this involuntary body change can shift a lot of your weight to the front which constantly pulls at your rib cage in a downwards motion. While it is not very common, it can put you at risk for rib dislocation.

If you suspect you have dislocated a rib, it is always best to pay a quick visit to a doctor instead of poking the area to make sure. It’s best not to touch the area at all, as it may make matters way worse.

How can I know if vomiting has caused inflamed ribs or broken ribs?

Vomiting in extreme situations might rarely cause broken ribs. But the more plausible outcome would be the overstressed and inflamed intercostal and scalene muscles in your ribs.

It’s important that you differentiate the two possible scenarios since one can be treated even by home remedies, but the other deserves immediate medical attention.

Studying its symptoms side-by-side will help give you a clear idea of the matter.

Dislocated rib symptomsBruised rib symptoms
Could be pain or discomfort around the chest or in the backside of your body.Mainly chest pain
Numbness or paralysis nearby your rib areasMuscle twitching in your chest
A lump can form over your affected rib areaA bruise will occur that’d be clearly visible to your eye
Can be intensely painful when moving your body and breathing.Pain and difficulty in moving and breathing
Bruised VS Dislocated Ribs

While both columns of symptoms go hand-in-hand with each other, any sort of intense pain should direct you straight to the hospital.

What can this combination of vomiting and rib pain mean?

It’s quite possible that your vomiting is accompanied by rib pain. The most common cause for the simultaneous occurrence of these two symptoms is gastritis, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease.

This happens when the acidic liquid in your stomach moves upwards to your esophagus. Dyspepsia, also known as indigestion, is also a common reason for this combination of vomiting and rib pain.

Other possibilities can also include acute cholecystitis, more commonly known as ‘gallstones,’ which might involve intense pain, vomiting, and even sweating.

Symptoms to watch out for immediate medical attention

While you can always consider treating your pain and vomiting through simple home remedies or medication like painkillers, there are several instances that will need urgent medical attention.

The most dangerous form of what feels like rib pain, along with vomiting, has a chance of being a myocardial infarction or a heart attack. A myocardial infarction signifies permanent damage to your heart muscle caused due to the lack of blood supply.

If the following symptoms and profiling suit you, then you’ll have to be extra cautious about any chest pain and vomiting. If you’re obese and have hypertension or diabetes, there’s a higher chance of your symptoms being a heart attack.

If you’re feeling a dull ache radiating from your left arm or the jaw or even your back, a cardiac attack can be a possibility, especially if your vomiting also involves heavy sweating and clammy hands.

The time that your rib pain lasts is also equally important. If the pain after vomiting lasts for more than 10 minutes and is associated with lightheadedness, you will definitely need to seek immediate medical attention as recommended by a senior consultant of Interventional Cardiology at the Fortis Hospital Shalimar.

How to treat your unstoppable vomiting

A young woman is feeling nauseous after having frequent vomiting occurrences, making her ribs ache.

Since we have already shown that repetitive vomiting can make your ribs ache, the best way to find that physical relief that you so badly need is by making sure you don’t vomit again and again.

The following steps after vomiting once will help you distract yourself from that nauseating feeling.

  1. Bland Crackers – Eating dry crackers can have an unexpected impact on your nausea as they even help in dealing with morning sicknesses in pregnant women. The way it works is by absorbing the acidity of your stomach liquids. You’ll even find dry foods like white rice or toast are also quite helpful especially if you’re trying to recover from a stomach bug.
  2. Wrist Acupressure – This is an ancient Chinese method that is recognized by the US National Library of Medicine. If you’re confused as to how this works, well such acupressure plays a role in changing the pain messages that your nerves pass on to your brain. You can easily try this at home by placing 3 fingers along your wrist, placing your thumb below your index finger, and rubbing in circles firmly for a few minutes. You can try this on both wrists as well.
  3. Aromatherapy – This may actually work better than you expected as the scents of ingredients like lavender, peppermint, chamomile, and rose helps to soothe your nauseating feeling away. Even a 2014 study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine reveals that breathing in lemon oil helps to calm down heavy vomiting.
  4. Drink a lot of fluids – When you repetitively vomit, a large amount of liquid leaves your body. This can easily dehydrate you. So, you must drink water or even something like ginger ale or lemonade to give you back your appetite and hydrate you. Make sure you don’t overdrink as well because it could lead to yet another vomiting fiesta.
  5. Cool Compress – This method can actually help your body to relieve itself physically much sooner. You’ll need to soak a cloth in water and lay it across the back of your neck and let it stay for about 10 minutes as soon as you throw up. It’ll help in lowering your body temperature as well since there’s a risk of it usually rising after you throw up.


Pain in your rib cage is usually a rather common kind of pain. When you over-work any muscle of your body, it tends to get sore, and you will feel a dull pain for a few moments. Since heavy vomiting also tends to make your ribs move upwards and downwards in a heaving motion, this feeling might be completely natural.

But pain differs. What you might be feeling could be chronic pain or acute sudden pain. And if it does last long enough to reach this stage, obviously, it could mean a greater interference has been caused in your ribs.

Either way, by consulting a doctor, you can find just the right treatment to suit your rib injury and treat your vomiting.

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Kavisha Rodrigo
I'm a sports person that enjoys researching into pushing the limitations of the human body. When it comes to health, I'm a big fan of working out and staying healthy. For hobbies, I'm a big fan of Pokemon and Coldplay.

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