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Rib muscle injury, how long does the pain last?

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03-05-2008, 09:18   #1
carsupplier
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After falling on a concrete floor the other day, I have had a lot of pain in my ribs.
I went to casualty and they told me I had torn a muscle in my chest, the day after I couldn't breathe properly and went to see my own doctor and she told me that I had torn two intercostal muscles. The breathing is still painful and I can't move about without being in a lot of pain. Anyone know how long it takes for them to heal or the best way to get some relief without using really strong pain killers?

Thanks.
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03-05-2008, 09:35   #2
Heyesey
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The intercostal muscles are the worst ones to pull, because you can't rest them - kinda hard to stop breathing for three days until they get better.

The only advice I can really give is to avoid any sort of strenuous work, because the less heavily you have to breathe, the quicker they'll recover - and the less painful it will be in the meantime. Stay sat down as much as possible - a good excuse to catch up on the forum
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03-05-2008, 09:43   #3
carsupplier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heyesey View Post
The intercostal muscles are the worst ones to pull, because you can't rest them - kinda hard to stop breathing for three days until they get better.

The only advice I can really give is to avoid any sort of strenuous work, because the less heavily you have to breathe, the quicker they'll recover - and the less painful it will be in the meantime. Stay sat down as much as possible - a good excuse to catch up on the forum
Thanks Heyesey, Sounds like a good idea to stay sat down and catch up on here!
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03-05-2008, 10:17   #4
Heyesey
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I've never torn the rib muscles, but I did pull a couple of them once. Took a week of doing nothing very much before the pain eased.

Painkillers will probably help, depending how happy you are taking them. Otherwise, complete rest as far as possible.
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03-05-2008, 10:22   #5
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Unfortunately rib injuries (including torn muscles) are both notoriously painful and take a longer time to heal than other injuries because your ribs and intercostal muscles are constantly working. You could try resting them, but then you're likely to die from lack of oxygen within a few minutes!

For painkillers- there has been lots of research done on effective pain killing and it has come to the conclusion that a low level of 2 or 3 pain killing drugs works much better than a high level of one pain killer, so please make sure that you're taking paracetamol and an NSAID drug like ibuprofen, naproxen or diclofenac (both the latter being prescription only drugs) and a stronger opiate based painkiller at a relatively low dose (if you can take it). This should give you better painkilling with lower side effects than just taking a strong painkiller.

Hot and cold packs are also helpful in pain control, but keep them well wrapped to avoid them being uncomfortable and making you flinch (which would be a really bad thing for the torn muscles).

Very very careful and gentle stretching can help to prevent all of the surrounding muscles from going into spasm. Lying out flat on your back, lifting your arms gradually and twisting your torso side to side gently can all lessen the spasm, but they must be done gently and carefully to avoid the torn muscles getting more aggravated by the stretches.
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03-05-2008, 12:04   #6
Becky B
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Ouch - just pulling an intercostal is painful, you've been unlucky
I've pulled some a couple of times, it took weeks for the pain to go completely.
On a brighter note, you don't use the intercostals much during normal, quite breathing (it's the diaphragm that does the work). Don't do anything that means you increase your resp rate (no exercise!), take some painkillers and you should be OK
So basically, what Heyesey said!
Coughing and sneezing will be an absolute b***h though...
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03-05-2008, 20:00   #7
carsupplier
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Thanks everyone for your advice.
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03-05-2008, 20:33   #8
Mathom
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I pulled a chest and back muscle the other week! Christ it hurt!!! In fact it still does but it's getting better unless I do anything too strenuous - so I'm afraid you need to sit on your bum and do nothing at ALL for a few days and follow that with 2-3 weeks of doing very little! I took a combo of Ibuprofen and co-codamol and also liberal sprayings of Deep Heat. Have you got that feeling like being punched in the chest? That's the worst bit
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03-05-2008, 20:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathom View Post
I pulled a chest and back muscle the other week! Christ it hurt!!! In fact it still does but it's getting better unless I do anything too strenuous - so I'm afraid you need to sit on your bum and do nothing at ALL for a few days and follow that with 2-3 weeks of doing very little! I took a combo of Ibuprofen and co-codamol and also liberal sprayings of Deep Heat. Have you got that feeling like being punched in the chest? That's the worst bit
Yes, I have got that feeling of being punched in the chest Mathom, every time I make a sudden movement I get it, unfortunately it's usually accompanied by a few words that turn the air blue, I can't help it and think the neighbours must think that I have finally lost it. I have never had pain like this before, the pain killers don't seem to be much help, so tonight I am going to try alcohol as an analgesic and take plenty of it! Knowing my luck I will probably go and fall down stairs and damage the other ribs.

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03-05-2008, 21:12   #10
Mathom
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Originally Posted by carsupplier View Post
Yes, I have got that feeling of being punched in the chest Mathom, every time I make a sudden movement I get it, unfortunately it's usually accompanied by a few words that turn the air blue, I can't help it and think the neighbours must think that I have finally lost it. I have never had pain like this before, the pain killers don't seem to be much help, so tonight I am going to try alcohol as an analgesic and take plenty of it! Knowing my luck I will probably go and fall down stairs and damage the other ribs.

Thanks.
I can honestly say it felt worse than childbirth! Mine was on the right side so I was lucky enough not to suspect it was heart pain, but if it had been on the left I'd have been terrified. It was the tiniest movements that set it off and I was marooned on the sofa for four days. Lying down in bed was nice though, doped up on tablets!
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03-05-2008, 22:06   #11
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Ouch! I tore a muscle on my ribs once through coughing. I was pregnant with no2 child and had a terrible cough that lasted a good couple of months. The pain from the torn muscle lasted even longer and I couldn't take anything strong to kill the pain. I thought I'd actually broken a rib, the pain was that bad. Every cough or movement was agony, and with a 3 year old and a bump, 'uncomfortable' was an understatement!
Hope you recover quickly!
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04-05-2008, 18:45   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carsupplier View Post
Yes, I have got that feeling of being punched in the chest Mathom, every time I make a sudden movement I get it, unfortunately it's usually accompanied by a few words that turn the air blue, I can't help it and think the neighbours must think that I have finally lost it. I have never had pain like this before, the pain killers don't seem to be much help, so tonight I am going to try alcohol as an analgesic and take plenty of it! Knowing my luck I will probably go and fall down stairs and damage the other ribs.

Thanks.
Which means you need to sit in one place and have someone bring you the alcohol
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04-05-2008, 19:13   #13
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Originally Posted by Becky B View Post
Which means you need to sit in one place and have someone bring you the alcohol
Now that does sound good Becky B!
Should the person who brings the alcohol also go out and buy it for me? Not that I want to push my luck
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04-05-2008, 19:33   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carsupplier View Post
Now that does sound good Becky B!
Should the person who brings the alcohol also go out and buy it for me? Not that I want to push my luck
I think that's going a bit too far!
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