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Fluttering sensation in lower back of ribs: causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention

10 July 2023

Are you feeling a fluttering sensation in the lower back of your ribs? Rest assured, there can be various reasons behind this sensation. In this article, we'll explore the common causes and provide insights to help you understand what might be happening.

One possible cause of this fluttering sensation is muscle fasciculations, also known as twitches. The layer of muscles that overlaps your rib cage can become overly excited, resulting in fluttering feelings in the area.

Another potential cause of fluttering in the lower left rib area is related to the activity and movement of your stomach and intestines. These organs lie directly beneath the ribs and can generate movements that lead to a fluttering sensation.

Additionally, it is essential to consider the possibility of a rapid or abnormal heart rhythm, known as palpitations, as the heart resides in this region. To rule out any heart-related concerns, it is advisable to consult a General Practitioner (GP). Your GP will assess your pulse, listen to your heart, and determine if it is the underlying cause of your fluttering sensation. Although rapid or abnormal heart rhythms are more commonly experienced in the chest or throat, consulting with your GP can provide peace of mind.

To address the fluttering sensation effectively, the treatment options may vary depending on the underlying cause identified. Here are some general treatment approaches:

1. Muscle fasciculations:

  • Practice stress reduction techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and mindfulness.
  • Ensure you get enough rest and manage fatigue.
  • Maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine intake.
  • If needed, your GP may prescribe medications to help manage muscle twitches.

2. Stomach/intestinal activity:

  • Adopt a healthy diet that includes fibre-rich foods and avoids trigger foods.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals to promote smoother digestion.
  • Practice good eating habits, such as chewing food thoroughly.
  • If digestive issues persist, your GP may recommend further evaluation or refer you to a gastroenterologist.

3. Heart rhythm abnormalities:

  • Depending on the underlying cause, your GP may recommend lifestyle modifications, such as reducing stress and avoiding triggers like caffeine or nicotine.
  • Medications may be prescribed to help regulate the heart rhythm.
  • In some cases, your GP may refer you to a cardiologist for further evaluation and specialised treatment.
  • Prevention plays an important role in managing fluttering sensations in the rib cage. Some preventive measures you can adopt include:
  • Engaging in stress reduction techniques like meditation or exercise.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet.
  • Limiting caffeine and stimulant intake.
  • Avoiding trigger foods or substances that may worsen the fluttering sensation.

Remember, seeking professional medical advice is crucial for accurate diagnosis and proper management of any health concerns. Fluttering sensations in the rib cage can have many causes, and your GP is the best resource to provide answers, alleviate worries, and guide you towards appropriate treatment and preventive strategies.

Information provided and reviewed by the AXA Health 24/7 health support line team.

Sources and further reading

Heart palpitations – NHS Factsheet

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