Rib pain after radiotherapy?

Has anyone else had rib pain after radiotherapy? I am nearly 3 weeks past treatment now and I have an awful pain between my ribs in my back. It feels like someone has shoved a knife in and left it there!
I just googled “rib pain after radiotherapy” and found an old thread on here. It seems from that that it is quite a common occurrence but I wondered if anyone else is having problems.
Debs x

It’s obviously not as bad as it was but I still get the odd stitch like twinge after seven years!

7 years! Eeek! Hope it doesn’t always go on that long. They don’t warn you about these things do they?

Yup me too Buzzy- 5 years on,still get it!

ive got terrible rib and arm pain and still have pain in my breast. I’ve been rubbing ibuprofen gel into my arm and it helps a bit but I’ve started Naproxen and fingers crossed it might help. Every morning I wake up feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus I’m sore and stiff and sick of it. I’m going back to work on Monday and don’t really feel ready but funds are low now.


has anyone else experienced rib area tenderness after rads? i am 3 months post rads.


Hi 021210

I’ve had front rib tenderness and my pectoral muscle has been quite sore and tender for the last month - tho easing off now (I’m now 3.5 months post rads).

Looking in my Dr Susan Love’s Breast Book she says that radiotherapy causes inflammation of the pect muscle and as it begins to regenerate it can get sore and stiff (usually 3-6 months post rads)

She also mentions costochondritis, inflammation of the space between the breasts where ribs and breastbone connect - again caused by rads. Says both will go in time.

Hope this helps. Fx


Not Rib pain especially but 3 months after Rads I had stiff muscle & shoulder. It can be quite common; I also read Susan Love’s book. The registrar told me in August it was a fluid build up! Exercise was good but he didn’t know any!

Anyway my bcn advised to do the after surgery exercises(same as the ones on the poster you can get from this web-site). She also said before going to sleep to “massage” the area rubbing in a cream like aqueous (I used diprobase). A long term thing but I found it just ached a bit nore so gave up on it. She did say if no improvement over time physio may improve it. Seems to improve on days when I go to the gym; so stretching is probably the best thing to try.

Still getting aches; & some nerve pain. Recently had imipramine prescribed, on a low dose which will hopefully help the nerve pain & improve the low days I experience as it’s an anti-depressant.

Take care


I was diagnosed with costachondritus and 2 suspected cracked ribs about a month after rads. It is improving slowly and the hefty anti-inflammatories I was initially prescribed helped a lot.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t take 5 years to go but it does seem to take quite a while to clear up.

My physio has given me some exercises to help with stretching once ribs have healed. I was also told that ultra-sound can help the healing process.

Good luck to everyone.


Hi, yes I had rib pain for quite after rads but thinking about it, I no longer have. It seems to have gradually died away. I’m not surprised because the top rib was quite purple during rads, as though it was bruised. I can imagine that the bone itself and the area around it would take a while to settle down again xxx

Hi Girls I,m 10 months post rads and althought it is,nt as often… tho sometimes worsens?? I get the sharp pain/ache in my back near my shoulder blade, It started the day after Lunpectomy and the Dr said it is from the aneasthetic! The procedure I had involved several injections down my back and a couple near my breast A bit like an epidural, he explained that the technique they use is a mild anaesthetic and the injections are to keep the nerves numbed… I think thats right? And loo and behold on checking my daughter said I had around 4/5 tiny puncture holes one being where I get the pain??? Odd! especially as I still get it so wondering if its nerve damage? and i,m sure R/therapy has,nt helped but hey ho i,m still here :slight_smile: I,m due my 1st year check up in 2 weeks so I will mention it to see if they can throw any light onto it!!
Love and hugs to you all xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Doz


This might be a bit late, but here goes!
I had radio 6 years ago.Followed by Chemo and drug therapy-Tamox Herceptin.
2 years ago I bruised my right rib by bending forward over a fence. I put it down to one of those things. Then this year I was stretching into a waist high cupboard with my rib on the wooden frame and suddenly felt terrible pain. I found I had actually fractured my left rib!
On both occasions the pressure was quite light and you would not expect it to cause damage.
I spoke to my consulant and he informed me that radio can actually cause weakness in the rib cage. I am now waiting for results of a bone density scan, to see if I need medication to strenghten the bones.
The pain is pretty constant on both sides now and I’m pretty fed up with it.

yep, I think I posted about this. It is like getting hot knitting needles stabbed into you. Oncologist said it was inflamation caused by RADS and gave me diclofenac, which works a bit but doesn’t stop me groaning loudly when I get a sharp stabing pain.

Snap - I thought I was going mad ! It all hurts in/around/below left breast.

Bump - for January 2013 questions :slight_smile:

Bump for march 2013 questions! :wink: