I've been having this pretty severe stomach pain in the rib area on the left side for the past 3-4 months or so. It's always there but at times it gets worse. It hurts bad if I bend over or move in any way. Tonight, it is also hurting in my back. It hurts to the touch. I asked my GI doctor about it at my last appointment about a month and a half ago...and he said that it's probably just a pulled muscle. I take Prevacid and it has stopped my indigestion and acid reflux for quite a while now...this feels different. It's worse. I had an endoscopy back in Nov and it was fine except some damage to my esophogus from the acid reflux. I don't think it's a pulled muscle at this point. Especially tonight...I'm close to going to the ER, it hurts that bad. Anyone have any suggestions as to other things it could be? I'm going to see my primary physican in 5 days for a follow up on my blood pressure. I'm going to mention it to her and see what she thinks. (if I don't go in sooner.)
I've actually heard of someone breaking a rib while having a severe coughing attack. It certainly wouldn't hurt to go to the ER. At least they will likely do a wide variety of tests, including an Xray, which will show a cracked rib. If you have inflamed rib cartilage, or a cartilage tear (won't show up on an Xray) then is surely can take many months to feel good, let alone heal. It's a tough area cause we move so much.
Oh well if you were coughing that badly it could very well be a cracked rib or a pulled muscle. Maybe wait a couple of weeks and if it hasn't improved go back to the Doctor. In the mean time I'd advise you to try not to do anything that increases the pain. I hope all goes well for you.