Skip to comments.Broken Rib Pain Management
Posted on 02/15/2010 10:00:00 AM PST by VA Voter
During a fall last Wed. night, 2/10, I completely broke two lower ribs in my right rear quadrant. The pain getting in and out of bed was excruciating. For some reason as the day progressed the pain decreased and was somewhat tolerable.. The doctor gave me a prescription for some heavy duty pain pills which were helpful except for getting in and out of bed which was still about the same.
Saturday night when the thought of getting in bed was really daunting, I chose instead to slept in a semi-sitting up position, at about a 45 degree angle, with my feet on the floor*.
Getting up Sunday morning, the pain was orders of magnitude less than the prior morning and was at about the same reduced level of pain from the prior evening. I slept the same way last night with the same result. Its like a little miracle.
I have not taken or needed the prescription pain pills since Saturday night.
This sleeping technique was not suggested by my doctor and is probably not a part of the protocol. Im passing it along for FReeper benefit.
* I used an extra seat cushion on a sofa so the sitting height was raised up.
Avoid catching a cold at all costs.
Sneezing will send you into orbit.
From one who knows.
This was nice of you and I hope you heal quickly and completely.
Broken ribs suck. Thanks for the tip.
Been there and know what you’re going through.
Pain meds from doctor, asperin, liquor. If all else fails, NyQuil to fall asleep.
Ouch. This injury is a nasty one. Hope you heal fast.
Unfortunately, there is not treatment for broken ribs, except to wait until they heal.
My downfall was attempting to leap over a giant chain hanging only a foot above the ground. Oooops!
Glad that you figured it out.
Prayers for a speedy healing.
Not all at once of course.
I had no idea that something as benign as a burp would have the same effect as a cough or sneeze.
That makes sense that it would help. I don’t know if you were warned by your doctor, but one really important thing to do is to work on breathing as deeply as you can several times a day. Broken ribs are a really good setup for pneumonia. Increase your activity (walking) as you can tolerate it - don’t overdo, but don’t underdo either.
(standard disclaimer that I’m a PT but don’t have a license to practice in your state most likely... take free advice as being worth what you paid for it... I haven’t evaluated you so I don’t know any specifics, etc., etc., LOL)
As someone who has suffered a similar injury falling off a horse I learned one thing, even what seems completely unfunny when one is uninjured tends to inspire guffaws of laughter when you are hurt.
Another thing I learned when I broke my collarbone is how many times in the course of a day you bump into stuff and it goes completely unnoticed normally but will bring sharp reminders of pain when injured.
Or worse yet, coughing your head off.
Avoid laughing... don’t go to any comedy clubs and don’t hang out with your joker friends
Oh, dude. Broken ribs are bad. Got run over by a car at 18. Was laid up so long I got a chest infection. Coughing was worse than the accident.
Are you taped up real good? If so, try some non-opiate muscle relaxers. Skelaxin is a good one and won’t make you high. Works great. Trust me this won’t be easy but at least the area around your injury won’t be stiff too.
All the best.
It’s smart to check with pharmacist or doctor for things that shouldn’t be combined with alcohol.
Sneezing, Coughing, Laughing - all bad for rib injuries!
If my experience is any guide, there's not much improvement for nearly two full weeks.
I hope I never need to use it.
Try not to laugh.
When you run into your friends don’t say, “Hear any new jokes?”
They no longer tape or wrap your rib cage because it restricts breathing and can lead to complications.
You have my sincere sympathy. I remember it hurt to simply breathe in that condition. Takes a while to mend but you will feel a little less miserable every day.
Pain? Go to California and get a medical marijuana prescription. Stay high and listen to Jimi Hendrix until you heal.
The worse part is you can be doing better after a couple of weeks, make a wrong move, like stretching or reaching, and bang, you feel right back to square one...
Tape your ribs. It’ll make breathing easier and lessen the pain.
You are a sadist.
Other than the Vicodin it's about the only thing that will help.
You know, this is one of those moments that I was longing for while sitting with a rib injury. “I just can’t wait until these are healed up.”
Taking a moment to appreciate the fact that I can breath, laugh, cough, sneeze and sleep normally.
VA Voter - you have my empathy - that stuff stinks.
I second that. I thought I broke another rib when I sneezed hard.
My great-aunt slept sitting up when she broke her ribs too. Sounds so painful. Take care.
May I suggest that you do the “broken rib maneuver”. A couple of times per day you need to wrap a pillow around the broken rib area,,, hold it firmly to the chest wall.... and take slow deep breaths. This will prevent the development of atelectasis of the lung tissues caused by shallow breathing (hurts to take a deep breath, you know). Atelectasis causes pneumonia which causes coughing which causes pain, agony and an “adverse event”..Happy breathing” !!!!
I had no idea so many people had broken ribs! I am too part of the club. It even hurt to breath. The only thing that worked for me was patience. Unfortunately, it is going to hurt for quite a while.
Sucks finding out that you can really only jump 11 inches....
Get hold of Rush and ask for some of the Oxycotin from his “stash”
So I said a prayer, fell asleep ...
... and voila! there was Mrs. F.
now I have a pain in the butt
Do NOT watch anything funny on TV or even listen to funny jokes.
Sneezing and/or coughing will hurt really bad.
The good news is that adjacent healthy ribs hold everything in place, naturally, for bone mending.
The bad news...seems like it took me at least a month to lose thew symptoms...hard to say because it tapered off and became unnoticeable and I forget about it.
From my experience with pain pills: Most opiate-based pain pills also contain Tylenol. If you are allergic to Tylenol, or it is contraindicated by other medications you are taking, check the ingredients on your pain pills. DO NOT ASSUME THE DOCTOR DID THIS!
I'll second that. I fell on my back (landing on one of my kid's toys) and it hurt for a month. I didn't even break any ribs but it apparently take a long time to heal the tissue between the ribs. Good luck.
Get well soon!
I’d recommend elevating your feet while you sleep. Footrest, table, another chair. Other than that, what you are doing, and minimize pain while waiting it out - 2 to 4 weeks.
All I know is it felt better when taped. My injury also involved inserts in my upper ribs due to the bones being crushed. Maybe the tape I remember was actually bandages.
Anyway, I would still ask for the muscle relaxers. They have an anti-inflamatory in them too. I hope you heal quickly. Not fun.
Sleeping sitting up is not at all painful. With no movement there is no pain. My body stops all normal sleeping movement. I sleep with so little movement my self-winding watch stops.
Take your pain meds!
In order to use less Rx meds, (Lortab 10) Doc advised to chase with two beers. He said that I would still be in a little pain, and discomfort, but I wouldn’t care. LOL! He was right!
Recite your favorite prayer over and over again. Do it out loud or silently in your mind. This can help. All things must pass
If you don’t have such a prayer pick a Psalm. In fact reading the book of Psalms helps
“Pain? Go to California and get a medical marijuana prescription. Stay high and listen to Jimi Hendrix until you heal.”
Bong hits with busted ribs ?
I only had bruised ribs, and could not lie down without severe pain for a couple of months. I slept in a recliner. Not much pain that way. And whatever pain meds the doc will give you that don’t screw you up.
Otherwise, suck it up and deal with it. Thats about all there is.
Hiccups aren’t good either.