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  1. #1
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Broken Rib or Strained Muscle: What's the Difference?

    No bike story to share; it was post-ride and I was attempting to sit down and my besocked foot slipped out from under me. I hit my back ribs, an inch under the scapula, on the edge of the chair. Klutz lives. For two days I'm sore but not limited.

    Wed. I did something, some activity of daily living, that put the injury into red alert, so that Thursday I could hardly walk. Who knew that a right latissumus dorsi/rib injury could be affected by the non-injured side?

    Today has been better, but I have to back up to a wall if I have to cough, sneeze or laugh. I've never broken a rib, so I don't know if this is broken or merely strained muscles. If I'm not better by Mon. I'll call my doctor.

    Meanwhile, I'm wondering how to tell the difference.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

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  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    X-ray
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  3. #3
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    X-ray






    Sorry about the injury, RR.

    I broke a rib when I was a teenager so it's been too long ago for me to remember the specifics I do remember coughing, laughing and sneezing were things I avoided at all cost. Get yourself to the doc or an emergency center this weekend if the pain gets worse.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Timtruro's Avatar
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    If it hurts to cough or sneeze, I mean really hurts, most likely a rib, and if it hurts to take a deep breath, almost definitely a rib. But in either case time will heal. Just take it easy and don't aggrevate it.
    "If there are no cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -Mark Twain

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  5. #5
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    Get it x-rayed. Probably a broken rib. If it is not trying to puncture a lung or artery, then you will just have to let it rest and it will heal up in about 7 weeks.

    A 74 year old friend of mine went over the handlebars a year ago and broke 3 ribs. His family gave him so much grief and the recovery way painful to the point that he gave up riding. While he was being brow beaten about his accident I tried to get him to tell the family that mowing the grass, using a chainsaw and a lot of the hard work he does for them is dangerous and that he needed to suggest that he just sit and watch tv and let them bring him food and drinks but he didn't think my suggestion would fly.

    About 3 years ago I was in the hospital and the doctor wanted me to cough really hard. I think that I cracked a couple of ribs and it took about 6 weeks for things to settle down. From now on a really hard cough for me will not be all that hard.

    Good luck and heal quickly.

  6. #6
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Usually a broken rib will hurt in the same spot. Cracked ribs, the pain will move around. They don't wrap the rib cage anymore so they really don't do anything for it, besides pain pills.
    George

  7. #7
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timtruro View Post
    If it hurts to cough or sneeze, I mean really hurts, most likely a rib, and if it hurts to take a deep breath, almost definitely a rib. But in either case time will heal. Just take it easy and don't aggrevate it.
    Ditto - rib= cough really hurts; sneeze will drop you to your knees. - TF

  8. #8
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    Ooohh, sorry to hear about your injury. I'm not even going to guess.... my advise is to get an x-ray and proper treatment so it will heal right and you'll be on the road to recovery sooner. Best wishes for a complete recovery very soon!
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  9. #9
    Rothar
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    Hi Red Rider!

    Sorry to hear about your injury... a least it didn't happen during a rest break in the middle of a long ride .

    It's fairly common, given the mechanism of injury, to disrupt the function of the costovertebral joint--the joint formed where the rib articulates with the vertebra (yup, it's a real joint just like the bigger joints, with articular cartilage, a joint capsule, and all that).

    With a force such as you sustained to the rib, the head of the rib can be driven forward and most likely even rotated (when you inhale/exhale, your ribs not only lift and rise, but "spin" or rotate at the vertebrae).

    A quick test (suggestive, though not necessarily diagnostic) is to push with your finger tips along the side of your sternum ("breast bone") on the same side as your back pain. Press fairly hard. If you find a spot on or between the ribs that is very painful and perhaps even hurts in your back, then you've likely a subluxed rib.

    If you fractured the rib, it'll get better in a few weeks. If you've "subluxed" the rib, it may or may not resolve itself. If the pain persists, see a good Physical Therapist.

    Good Luck!

  10. #10
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboTurtle View Post
    Ditto - rib= cough really hurts; sneeze will drop you to your knees. - TF
    That's it!

    Dagnabbit!

    Thanks for the well-wishes and advice; it's off to the ER so I can get something for the pain. Breathing hurts.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

    Visit my blog.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Sorry to hear about the injury, hope all goes well.

    (I wonder if there is a special chapter of Club Tombay for folks who fall *off* the bike while wearing bike clothes? Socks are dangerous -- I was running around the house in my bike socks a couple of months ago and slipped while hurrying down the stairs; it was a very awkward fall and while I was bruised up a bit I'm happy I wasn't hurt worse.)

  12. #12
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    I cracked some ribs about 3 years ago in an endo. Horrible! I slept sitting in a chair for 2 weeks because between the ribs and the hemotoma on my elbow if I laid down I couldn't get up. Broken ribs really, really hurt.

  13. #13
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rider View Post
    No bike story to share; it was post-ride and I was attempting to sit down and my besocked foot slipped out from under me. I hit my back ribs, an inch under the scapula, on the edge of the chair. Klutz lives. For two days I'm sore but not limited.

    Wed. I did something, some activity of daily living, that put the injury into red alert, so that Thursday I could hardly walk. Who knew that a right latissumus dorsi/rib injury could be affected by the non-injured side?

    Today has been better, but I have to back up to a wall if I have to cough, sneeze or laugh. I've never broken a rib, so I don't know if this is broken or merely strained muscles. If I'm not better by Mon. I'll call my doctor.

    Meanwhile, I'm wondering how to tell the difference.
    On tour this summer, I crashed going over wet railroad tracks outside Cumberland, MD. A local bike shop owner checked out my bike, patched up my road rash, and my traveling companion and I spent the night in Cumberland. I didn't see a doctor or visit the ER.

    I expected to be sore the next morning, but I wondered why I was sore on my left side when I took a deep breath. And coughing or sneezing was very painful. I had difficulty loading my trailer, a fact that annoyed my companion no end. Still, I thought nothing of it, and rode 45 miles on the muddy and bumpy C & O Canal towpath to a campsite.

    The next day I ground out another 45 miles to a motel, where we arranged to have me car transported to DC the next day. I'm the one on the right, holding onto Milepost 0 - I could barely stand by that point.



    The next morning I was in Sibley in DC being x-rayed. I had a fractured rib. Another fall and it might have punctured something. I was very lucky I didn't. Don't tempt your luck.

    BTW, ten weeks later I was at Milepost 0 again, this time unbroken and triumphant after riding 380 miles over 9 days. Not a bad comeback considering I spent six weeks off the bike. I'm sure you will heal about as quickly:


  14. #14
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Self-diagnosis stinks! Get Xrayed.
    Does sound like a ribber issue. Broke 6 of them (+ punctured lung) blown off the single bike from a hefty cross wind in the mountains.
    Yup, hurts to laugh, sneeze, fart . . .
    Get well!

  15. #15
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    I went to the ER as soon as I finished posting. It was a slow day so I spend a grand total of 3 hrs. there. Once I got through triage and was evaluated by a PA they gave me a V!codin, and within 30 min. I was deep breathing and moving much easier. X-ray confirmed my broken rib, so now I have a bottle of V's to take every 4 hours, and full permission to avoid contact sports.

    And Neil, thanks for sharing your story, and I'm glad you recovered, but I hope to h*ll I don't have to spend 10 weeks off my bike. I'm hoping I can ride my age on my birthday in 3 days. Even if it's sitting upright, and on the trainer.

    Thanks again for the stories and well wishes. They take the sting out of the suckage of this event.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

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  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rider View Post
    And Neil, thanks for sharing your story, and I'm glad you recovered, but I hope to h*ll I don't have to spend 10 weeks off my bike. I'm hoping I can ride my age on my birthday in 3 days. Even if it's sitting upright, and on the trainer.
    I was only off the bike five weeks. The other five were marred by depression, not the rib - I was upset from the crash, and I'm still not 100 per cent mentally or physically comfortable riding. (Not to hijack the thread, but I've even considered hanging up the lycra for good.)

    I probably could have resumed riding before five weeks, but I was concerned another fall would have made things worse. The pain lessened considerably after the first week. BTW, I didn't take anything stronger than Ibuprofen, although I had a script for Percocet.

  17. #17
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Advice from a nurse: If you take more than the occasional vicodin, consider increasing the fiber in your diet, drinking more fluids, taking stool softeners, etc. Hydrocodone, like all opiates, constipates.

  18. #18
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    I was only off the bike five weeks. The other five were marred by depression, not the rib - I was upset from the crash, and I'm still not 100 per cent mentally or physically comfortable riding. (Not to hijack the thread, but I've even considered hanging up the lycra for good.)

    I probably could have resumed riding before five weeks, but I was concerned another fall would have made things worse. The pain lessened considerably after the first week. BTW, I didn't take anything stronger than Ibuprofen, although I had a script for Percocet.
    Now I understand why you haven't posted much over the summer.

    I'm sorry about the mental aspect. That's the most difficult hurdle to overcome. I hope you don't give it up; your bike and life journeys have inspired me and others. About the only way I know to get confidence back after a crash is to ride -- ride a lot, and ride often, and ignore the little voice in your head that tries to convince you to stay home, stay safe, stay small and don't indulge your passion.

    I wish you well in finding your comfort on the bike soon.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

    Visit my blog.

  19. #19
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Advice from a nurse: If you take more than the occasional vicodin, consider increasing the fiber in your diet, drinking more fluids, taking stool softeners, etc. Hydrocodone, like all opiates, constipates.
    Thanks for the advice, Jan. The ER nurse told me the same thing. I'm breaking out the prune butter for my toast tomorrow.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

    Visit my blog.

  20. #20
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rider View Post
    I'm breaking out the prune butter for my toast tomorrow.
    Yum!

  21. #21
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    Ouch! RR, sorry to hear about your mishap.

    I crashed in a paceline pileup a number of years back. A doctor friend who was riding in the pack said I probably broke a rib...I never did go to the ER (because I'm an idiot). Anyhow, I did have some leftover painkillers that got me through the worst of it. After a week off I continued to ride but avoided hills as climbing was too painful. It took a few months before I felt normal.

    Hang in there.

  22. #22
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rider View Post
    I'm breaking out the prune butter for my toast tomorrow.
    This is 50+. Isn't that the standard spread?

  23. #23
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    This is 50+. Isn't that the standard spread?
    At least you are thinking like a 50+er. Just have to get you back to riding.

    Few years ago and I nearly gave up riding too. It was the mental aspect of the illness that made me not want to push and I was not getting anything out of riding. I sent myself a goal and I had to work for it. Gave myself 6 months to get fit for a ride. Kill or Cure. Did the ride and haven't stopped since.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  24. #24
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    For me ibuprofen was my preferred pain reliever. I used a PM version to sleep. The stronger stuff didn't relieve the pain as much as make me care less about it. I think the IB actually did more to relieve the pain.

  25. #25
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    This is 50+. Isn't that the standard spread?
    prune butter washed down with prune juice
    Last edited by JanMM; 10-19-08 at 04:36 PM.

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