Often felt after an a illness or on waking , the most common cause of rib pain is a strain of the intercostal muscle , a small muscle that lies between the rib bones. The strain can be caused by sudden traumatic movements such as violent coughing , sneezing, or being sick. Pain can also be created by laying in a position that causes pressure and straining of the rib joint.

The pain can be sharp and stabbing in the chest and depending on the location has sometimes been known to be confused with a heart attack.

Treatment involves improving rib movement by using natural breathing mechanics and stretching movements. Almost all patients with rib pain make a full recovery within a few sessions.