Why Do I Wake Up with Rib Pain?

Have you ever woken up in the morning only to find that your ribs are sore? It can be quite a frustrating experience. In this article, we will explore the various reasons why you might be experiencing rib pain and discuss ways to alleviate your discomfort. So, let’s get started!

Common Causes of Rib Pain

Rib pain can stem from different factors, some of which are more serious than others. If you tend to sleep on your side, this sleeping position might be the culprit behind your morning aches and pains. The strain and pressure exerted on your ribcage, arm, and shoulder while sleeping on your side can result in rib pain.

Additionally, sleeping on a poorly constructed mattress can exacerbate your discomfort. If you suspect that your mattress might be the issue, it may be time to consider upgrading to a more supportive option.

At 5 WS, we recommend the SONU Sleep System for side sleepers experiencing aches and pains. This revolutionary bed is designed to provide optimum comfort and pain relief. With its patented Comfort Channel and sink-in support system, topped with plush serene foam, you can achieve a truly comfortable sleeping experience.

What Might Be Causing Your Rib Pain

While sleeping position and mattress quality can contribute to rib pain, it’s essential to consider other potential causes. Let’s take a look at some other conditions that may lead to rib pain:

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Costochondritis occurs when the cartilage connecting your ribs to the breastbone becomes inflamed or swollen. This condition can manifest as pain in the chest wall, sometimes resembling the symptoms of a heart attack.

Pulmonary Embolism

In some cases, rib pain may indicate a pulmonary embolism, a condition where a blood clot travels to the lungs through the bloodstream. Pulmonary embolism can occur after an injury, heart surgery, or due to cancer. Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, and swelling.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects the entire body. It is more commonly diagnosed in women and can be linked to pre-existing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or osteoarthritis.

Lung Cancer

While we often associate lung cancer with coughing or lung-related symptoms, it can also cause rib pain. If you experience persistent rib cage pain along with difficulty breathing, it’s crucial to consult a doctor to rule out lung cancer.

Intercostal Muscle Strain

Intercostal muscle strain refers to tears in the muscles between the ribs. These muscles help us breathe during physical activities such as sports. Engaging in upper body-intensive sports can lead to this injury.

Slipping Rib Syndrome

Slipping rib syndrome occurs when the ribs move abnormally, resulting in pain in the lower chest and upper abdomen. This condition can be caused by injuries like falls, sports accidents, or sudden movements like throwing objects.

Treating Rib Pain

When it comes to treating rib pain, the appropriate course of action depends on the underlying cause. If you have a diagnosed medical condition like cancer, consult with your doctor for a personalized treatment plan.

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However, for general rib pain, there are several actions you can take to find relief at home:

Pain Relievers

For mild rib pain, over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or naproxen can provide temporary relief. In more severe cases, your doctor might prescribe stronger pain relievers.

Heat Therapy

Applying heat to your painful ribs can help alleviate discomfort. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or pain patches that provide heat, such as IcyHot.

Cold Therapy

On the other hand, cold therapy in the form of ice packs or cold compresses might be recommended by your doctor or physical therapist.

Chest Braces

In some instances, wearing a brace or chest binder may provide stability and support to your painful ribs.

Physical Therapy and Exercise

Engaging in specific exercises or attending physical therapy sessions can assist in reducing rib pain. For example, individuals with fibromyalgia might benefit from gentle exercises like Tai Chi or yoga.


In cases of severe rib or muscle damage, surgical intervention might be necessary to repair the affected area.


Resting and limiting certain activities that worsen rib pain can significantly aid in recovery.

Upgrade Your Mattress

To prevent and reduce rib pain, consider switching to a foam mattress. SONU Sleep offers a foam mattress that conforms to your body, providing relief and support without added pressure on your ribs. Their high-quality foam mattresses are designed to ensure you enjoy a comfortable and restful night’s sleep.

In conclusion, if you consistently experience rib pain after sleeping on your side, it’s essential to consult with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Regardless of the cause, a supportive mattress is crucial for a good night’s sleep. At 5 WS, we recommend the SONU Sleep System, which offers the ultimate comfort and support for side sleepers. Learn more about the SONU Sleep System here.

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Remember, taking care of your body’s needs is vital for better sleep and overall well-being. Rest well and wake up pain-free!


  • Cleveland Clinic: “Is Your Sleep Position Causing You Back Pain?”
  • Mayo Clinic: “Costochondritis – Symptoms and Causes”
  • UCSF Health: “Slipping Rib Syndrome”
  • Sleep Foundation: “Tips for Sleeping with Intercostal Muscle Strain”
  • American Cancer Society: “What Is Lung Cancer? – Types of Lung Cancer”
  • American College of Rheumatology: “Fibromyalgia”
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