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Julia Kizhner
Julia Kizhner, Physician Assistant
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1126
Experience:  7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss
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I was diagnosed with a fractured 12th rib today. I feel down

Resolved Question:

I was diagnosed with a fractured 12th rib today. I feel down a few steps a week and a half ago and the ER doctor did not think Xrays were necessary and treated me for back contusions. I was seeing a chiropractor today who is a friend who was concerned about how much pain I was still in from the fall and so decided to do xrays and called me a few hours later to let me know I had good reason to still be in so much pain. He referred me to a ortho who I see tomorrow. But until then, is there a better position for me to sit and to sleep in for healing and comfort purposes. Bed time is something I dread because of the pain. I would also like to know if not treating this injury for this long inhibits the recovery in any way. From my understanding this isn't much that can be done for me, but I don't want to make things worse by sleeping wrong or something like that.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 7 years ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

I am sorry you are in so much pain. Rib fracture can cause excruciating pain. The problem is that there really isn't much that you can do. The most important thing to check is that your rib did not puncture your lung, however, that is a very rare complication usually accompanied by shortness of breath (I am sure your chiropractor would have mentioned something if that was the case as it is easily seen on the x-ray of the ribs).

Now, more to your question...there are really no specific position that will help you. Of course, try not to lay down on the side where your ribs are broken. You might find it easier to sleep in a reclining chair (if one is available). Having a body pillow may also help you. I would suggest that you take 2 extra-strength Tylenols along with Motrin 600 mg (3 tablets of the Motrin pills available over-the-counter, each is 200 mg) at bedtime. If that is not enough for pain control, you might give your doctor a call for a prescription for Vicodin, Darvocet or Tylenol #3 (if you are not opposed to narcotics - short term will not cause problems).

Also, there would not have been much difference in your treatment have you known right away that your ribs are broken.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you need any clarification or have any additional questions, please let me know and I will be glad to assist you further.

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Best wishes,


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