Broken Ribs

Well, all those sit-ups have finally enabled me to accomplish one thing: I can now break my own bones. :rolleyes:

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, courtesy of the wracking cough I had a couple weeks ago, I now have one cracked rib. I saw the doctor on Monday and got some Xrays but hadn’t heard back. Last night, as I lay in the bathtub, I coughed and heard something “crack”. That’s always makes me a little nervous.

I laid there for a minute and when I tried to sit up, that’s when the back spasms started. I now have much more empathy for those with chronic back pain. I couldn’t move or touch my left side without causing another spasm. I can only imagine that my breathing sounded something like Lamaze type breathings ( ::pant, pant, pant through pursed lips:: )

At this point, I’m a little teary and in lots of pain (hearing your own bones crack is a bad sound). Hubby calls around to see if there is a urgent care place open but they just say “go to the Emergency Room”.

3 hours later, the doctor says “Well, it’s not big, but I think I can see a crack on your 5th rib”. Instructions? Don’t lift anything heavy, take some Aleve or Tylenol (they offered me something with codeine but, hey, I have to be a functioning human being here), and make sure you don’t breathe shallow". Gotcha.

Okay, here’s my question for the Dopers: how long is this freakin’ thing going to take to heal? Sneezing or coughing is an exercise in brilliant pain and I’ve never been as surprised to discover how often you use your stomach/back muscles without knowing it.

I’ve bruised my ribs on more than one occasion, and my father broke a rib skiing in January (the man’s 72, for pity’s sake), so ribs are something I know a little about.

The bad news is: it’ll really hurt for about a month. You might want to look for some mild muscle relaxants as well as pain relievers; you’ll find that you hold yourself a certain way which may cause more of those fun back spasms.

The good news is: it’s a legitimate excuse to demand pampering. And intercostal breathing is better for you anyway than taking shallow breaths.

Hang in there, and remember that it will get better.

Well, the good news is adversity builds character.

The bad news is that ribs can take a long time to heal, due mostly to the fact that you just can’t immobilize them. Watch that shallow breathing, or you could end up with complications such as pneumonia.

On the other hand, I had a co-worker who claimed to have a broken rib, but he seemed fine after a week or so. So you never know…

I bruised a couple ribs this winter in karate class; it took about three weeks before I felt strong again. I probably didn’t crack any, though, which would probably take longer to heal.

oops… :eek: Sorry! :wink:

Ralf, smarty-pants. :slight_smile: Hubby is under instructions to not hug me in any way shape or form. Bless his heart, he offered to sleep on the couch so he wouldn’t roll over and wack me with his arm or something. Actually, laying flat feels pretty good.

Better than sitting in this office chair right now. I’m walking around like I have a police officer tracking me with his gun: moving real slow and making no sudden moves.

Sneezing, as I’ve said before, well…it just sucks.

Well, my sternum was broken last year, and the pain faded after about 2 months. Try not to get a cold, like I did.
Hot showers, an electric blanket, a back massager, and an cofortable, easy in - easy out chair really helped.