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Anyone have experience with torn/strained intercostals (ribs) muscle?

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Anyone have experience with torn/strained intercostals (ribs) muscle?

Old 11-22-09, 05:50 PM
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karjak
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Anyone have experience with torn/strained intercostals (ribs) muscle?

Trying to keep active as winter arriving here in South Dakota. I have bike trainer but not really what I like to do. Anyway after playing some Wednesday night pickup basketball and surviving, I was relaxed on my recliner with foot rest up and cat fell asleep on the comforter over my lap. House rule is that we try not to disturb sleeping cats!

In trying to crawl out from comforter and keeping cat on recliner, I got in an awkward position and felt a twinge across my ribs. Very painful and sore at times now across my right outside ribcage. Worse time is coughing, getting out of car, or turning in my sleep. I try to be careful but I get some really sharp pains. In going through Internet I believe I have either a strained, pulled, or tore intercostals muscle around ribs. Anyone done this?

I have been trying ice and intermittent heat over the last couple of days. Yesterday did absolutely nothing with complete rest and at night it seemed it hurt even worse when I turned over in bed. How can one not keep from re-aggravating so it can heal? Should one still do a little exercise but not extreme? Wonder how long before I can get back to normal activity and if my basketball days are over?

Last edited by karjak; 11-22-09 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 11-22-09, 06:09 PM
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Yes. A few years ago, at age 58, I tripped over some refuse in the backyard and that band of muscles over the ribs became very painful. Breathing deeply was out of the question for nearly a week. After that, healing was rapid. Mostly I just wanted to stand straight and not move around in bed. Me getting up from chairs was probably humorous to watch, but I wasn't chuckling at the time. Anyway, my sympathy....there was nothing for it but time and ibuprofen. If it is a muscle tear, it will heal. Maybe in time for that T-day ride....just no sprints! No residual effects for me...if like mine, you should be back on the court no problem. A freak thing.
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Old 11-22-09, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by '47 View Post
Yes. A few years ago, at age 58, I tripped over some refuse in the backyard and that band of muscles over the ribs became very painful. Breathing deeply was out of the question for nearly a week. After that, healing was rapid. Mostly I just wanted to stand straight and not move around in bed. Me getting up from chairs was probably humorous to watch, but I wasn't chuckling at the time. Anyway, my sympathy....there was nothing for it but time and ibuprofen. If it is a muscle tear, it will heal. Maybe in time for that T-day ride....just no sprints! No residual effects for me...if like mine, you should be back on the court no problem. A freak thing.

Thanks I needed the encouragement! Really is comical how easy one can get hurt this way. At least breathing gives me no problem, but if I feel a sneeze coming on it is a terryifying experience. I rested mostly all today with heat pad and it does seem better. If I don't keep moving in the winter I can easily put on 20 lbs.
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Old 11-22-09, 10:08 PM
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There are lots of nerves in the intercostal spaces so any insult tends to be memorable. Use analgesics (e.g. acetaminophen, ibuprofen) until things cool down.
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Old 11-22-09, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
There are lots of nerves in the intercostal spaces so any insult tends to be memorable. Use analgesics (e.g. acetaminophen, ibuprofen) until things cool down.
FWIW, aspirin worked a lot better that aceta for me (I'm allergic to ibu).
As to the cause...I really like cats, and we always have a few around, but the little bastridges can get up and move if I want to get out from under them.
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Old 11-23-09, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
FWIW, aspirin worked a lot better that aceta for me (I'm allergic to ibu).
As to the cause...I really like cats, and we always have a few around, but the little bastridges can get up and move if I want to get out from under them.
Been tyriing both Tylenol and aspirin. Finally some improvement last night but still very tender to touch and movement. Changed house rule in regard to not disturbing cats.
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Old 11-23-09, 09:17 AM
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Yep, I just checked in with my wife and she thinks it's a total of eight times I've had this. (All related to injuries competing in martial arts). I think it's fewer, but then again I usually try to put painful event out of my mind and memory bank. Rest really is the best way to deal with it. However, I strongly encourage you to deal with the pain and make sure you take several very deep breaths a dozen times a day or more. I can remember one particularly nasty injury where I also fractured my skull and was in the hospital for four days (the rib muscles hurt much more than the head injury). I was told I was at risk of developing pneumonia if I didn't get in some deep breathing.

Funny thing is with this injury is that the pain comes very quickly and intensely if you make the wrong movements. I found myself (after the first day or two) trying not to laugh when I got hit with a jolt of pain from something as simple as reach for a glass from the cupborad. I kept thinking to myself, "How stupid can I be. I know I'm injured, but keeping doing things that hurt like hell." It's really hard to not move around in a normal manner when it only hurts when you make specific types of movement. Hope you heal fast (about 7 to 10 days seemed to be the significant turning point for me).
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Old 11-24-09, 04:03 PM
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I've lost count of how many times I've had this but it is always 3 weeks from injury to total healing for me assuming i don't re-tear it from sleeping or coughing or some other unthought movement.
I've learned that ice right after to keep swelling down helps and I use a rib-belt when I sleep or have to do something physical.
Has the pain moved from the front to around on your back yet? It will.
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Old 11-27-09, 10:38 AM
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Yes. and most people think it's a side-stitch.
It takes a long time to heal, about 4 months, during which it's hard not to re-injur if you're still exercising.
Constant re-injury will result in scar tissue there, and be more prone to re-injury.

As bad as it sounds, for me, the cure was simply 4 months of staying away from any activity that could injur it.
It was frustrating as heck, since I was a marathoner, like to swim, triathlons, etc. Even brisk walking could make it smart a little.
I finally stopped everything for 4 months, and it healed. No problems since.
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Old 11-27-09, 02:49 PM
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I first got it about 10 years ago.Never seems to completely go away.I'll move the wrong way or something and its back again.I get it mostly in winter which gets to -30 or worse.Cold not good for anything it seems with age.
DVS yes it worked its way into back everytime.
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Old 06-12-18, 06:46 PM
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Somewhar Similar experience

Originally Posted by '47 View Post
Yes. A few years ago, at age 58, I tripped over some refuse in the backyard and that band of muscles over the ribs became very painful. Breathing deeply was out of the question for nearly a week. After that, healing was rapid. Mostly I just wanted to stand straight and not move around in bed. Me getting up from chairs was probably humorous to watch, but I wasn't chuckling at the time. Anyway, my sympathy....there was nothing for it but time and ibuprofen. If it is a muscle tear, it will heal. Maybe in time for that T-day ride....just no sprints! No residual effects for me...if like mine, you should be back on the court no problem. A freak thing.
for my case ithe pain seems to be at the back of ribs that when I press it hurts and when I lie down I can't turn without pain. I wear a waist binder to support it so that I can still walk about. I am praying it heals faster. Today is the third day and it seems improving. Thanks for sharing. It does help!
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Old 06-12-18, 07:09 PM
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Can't swim swim??

Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Yes. and most people think it's a side-stitch.
It takes a long time to heal, about 4 months, during which it's hard not to re-injur if you're still exercising.
Constant re-injury will result in scar tissue there, and be more prone to re-injury.

As bad as it sounds, for me, the cure was simply 4 months of staying away from any activity that could injur it.
It was frustrating as heck, since I was a marathoner, like to swim, triathlons, etc. Even brisk walking could make it smart a little.
I finally stopped everything for 4 months, and it healed. No problems since.
I can understand the frustrations...I used to run half marathons and cycle or jog daily. With this pain I tried to walk some distance yet made it worse...like more strained. So I had to lie on my back more to rest it Wearing a waist binder to support it when I work does help but terribly warm. Dare not swim for fear wrong move might aggravate. Sigh!
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Old 06-12-18, 10:08 PM
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Had to comment about my experience with this, funny actually. I was in excruciating pain for a few days, bottom right side of my rib cage. Was a pain I'd never had before and scared me. By the location and severity of the pain, I thought sure it was a gall bladder thing. It was the only thing I could think of in that general area, and I'd never considered it may be a muscle pain at all.

Finally I relented, packed a bag for a few days stay, and headed to the hospital fully expecting gall bladder surgery. (I live in Thailand and was more than a bit nervous about this prospect!) When the doctor examined me she asked about the pain which I explained best I could. She poked around here and there asking, "Does it hurt here? How about here?" kind of thing. When she hit 'that spot' and I told her, "Yeah, that's it!" she said she didn't think it's my gall bladder at all, but rather an intercostal sprain or tear.

She gave me a shot of ibuprofen, a package of capsules to take home, and told me to rest and let it heal on its own and if it get worse to come back and see her. It took a good 3 weeks to fully mend, but I was so relieved I didn't need GB surgery I felt 100% better as soon as I left her office. By the way, that entire episode at the hospital, including the meds I got, set me back a whopping $10!
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Old 06-12-18, 10:47 PM
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Cracked and bruised ribs are the most common injury in kart racing. I’ve had it happen a few times, either after a shunt or simply by not wearing a proper rib protector. 75 mph with no suspension tends to throw you around. Aspirin, time, and saying “ouch” a lot heals all.
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Old 06-13-18, 02:09 AM
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Had that rib/intercostal strain several times. Worst incidents were from boxing as a teenager (body shots from a much larger sparring partner -- note to self: lightweights do not spar heavyweights); and last year from a minor crash but hit my ribs just wrong. Pretty painful for about a month.
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Old 06-13-18, 06:34 AM
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For me, I was forced to hit the ditch on a ride from an oncoming vehicle. Came down full weight on left shoulder and I believe it was the compression on that side that caused the injury. Took a good 3-4 months to be comfortable, 6 months to be pain free.
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Old 06-13-18, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ddez View Post
I first got it about 10 years ago.Never seems to completely go away.I'll move the wrong way or something and its back again.I get it mostly in winter which gets to -30 or worse.Cold not good for anything it seems with age.
DVS yes it worked its way into back everytime.
This has been my experience. The injury was fairly minor and the pain subsided but it has never completely gone and still causes minor discomfort.

Last edited by bargeon; 06-13-18 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 06-16-18, 08:34 PM
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At age 78, fell of mtn bike onto back (caught a wheel on a rut) - muscles (ligaments? tendons?) still hurt when stressed. Went to doc at time of accident to check that nothing was broken - and nothing was broken. Buy, wow! Been over a year now.
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Old 06-17-18, 06:32 AM
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Yes. At age 31, the first time, earning an ambulance ride, EKG, and a stress test. Several times more over the following 30 years...hurts a great deal.
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Old 04-06-21, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Yes. and most people think it's a side-stitch.
It takes a long time to heal, about 4 months, during which it's hard not to re-injur if you're still exercising.
Constant re-injury will result in scar tissue there, and be more prone to re-injury.

As bad as it sounds, for me, the cure was simply 4 months of staying away from any activity that could injur it.
It was frustrating as heck, since I was a marathoner, like to swim, triathlons, etc. Even brisk walking could make it smart a little.
I finally stopped everything for 4 months, and it healed. No problems since.
Hello
when you stay stop "everything" what do you mean? Cooking dinner ok? Gentle Stretching?. I'm so frustrated with this.
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Old 04-06-21, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Alionssol@gmail View Post
Hello
when you stay stop "everything" what do you mean? Cooking dinner ok? Gentle Stretching?. I'm so frustrated with this.
Robbie's post was 11 years ago. I'm not sure he's on bike forums anymore.

Rib injuries just take time to heal, whether intercostal connective tissue or cracked ribs. There isn't much we can do to speed up healing. I've had cracked and bruised ribs many times and it usually takes 4-6 weeks just to begin to make some progress and up to 6 months to completely heal.

I don't know of any physical therapy that can speed up or fix the injured intercostal tissues. Deep breathing can help. There are apps that can offer guided breathing -- check out Wattson Blue, Elite HRV and others. While I was skeptical at first I've noticed a distinct correlation between my heart rate variability and careful breathing before and during readings with those apps. Seems to help relax the diaphragm and those tense rib muscles too.

However I've noticed in my case that I experience sympathetic or compensatory pain in the muscles outside the rib cage and entire torso, possibly caused by poor ergonomics due to intercostal pain. I use percussion massagers and soaks in a hot tub with Epsom salts. Some folks get relief from professional massage therapy or chiropractors.

My pre- and post-ride and run routine often includes using a percussion massager on my entire torso, including the rib cage, around the shoulder blades, etc. The massager has dual heads that straddle the spine and shoulder blade so it's not hammering on bone. And a long handle to make it easier to reach behind me, over my shoulder, around the side or from the tailbone upward. I use these so often I wear them out about once a year.
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Old 04-07-21, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Alionssol@gmail View Post
Hello
when you stay stop "everything" what do you mean? Cooking dinner ok? Gentle Stretching?. I'm so frustrated with this.
Welcome to Bike Forums. This is an old thread and many of the posters may not be active on BF any longer. In addition, I moved it to Pills and Ills.
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Old 04-09-21, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Alionssol@gmail View Post
Hello
when you stay stop "everything" what do you mean? Cooking dinner ok? Gentle Stretching?. I'm so frustrated with this.
My guess is "it depends," particularly it depends on what the injury is. I just had the dangdest thing happen to me a couple weeks ago. I got all this crazy pain throughout the rear half of my chest, from waist to shoulder blades. No idea what caused it. I simply kept stretching and riding my bike every day and it went away in two weeks. The thing to watch IME is does the pain get worse, better, or stay the same when you do something, like exercise, do different exercise, or not exercise? In my case, pain did not increase with exercise, so I just kept doing it until the pain went away. I certainly was not going to stop riding and just deteriorate while I waited for some miraculous thing to happen. I still have no idea what the issue was. The end result was that I stayed fit and the pain went away.

I just read a study in JAMA about exercise and peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a narrowing of arteries in the legs from some cause. It makes your legs hurt when you use them. The study found that PAD only got better when the subjects exercised hard enough to make their legs hurt. Yeah, duh, that's how it is for everyone. Not that this has anything to do with your problem, whatever it might be, but it is a pointer.
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