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5 days ago I fell on my left side, now when I cough my left

side by my rib cage...
5 days ago I fell on my left side, now when I cough my left side by my rib cage has a pain spasim. Could this indicate a cracked rib? or is it just a pulled musel? Also how long will it take to repair itself and should I use a tightly wrapped ace bandage?
Thanks
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Answered in 1 minute by:
10/21/2013
Dr. Rick, MD
Dr. Rick, MD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 11,453
Experience: 20+ years as a doctor. Internal Medicine Internship in NYC
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Dr. Rick, MD :

Hi. Dr Rick here. I completed an Internal medicine internship in NYC and have two decades of clinical experience. How can I assist you today?

Dr. Rick, MD :

It sounds like you might have cracked a rib.

Dr. Rick, MD :

Unfortunately, the treatment for a cracked rib (which I have done myself a time or two over the years) is taking it easy and allowing it to heal.

Dr. Rick, MD :

You can wrap it it you want as this might help with the pain, but it will still hurt when you cough.

Dr. Rick, MD :

If it doesn't hurt when going about your daily activities I'd just leave things alone. If you wrap your chest too tight, you run a small risk of restricting your breathing and, maybe, causing a pneumonia to start.

Dr. Rick, MD :

So. What is the take home message? This will heal fine with time. Be patient, Grasshopper :)

Dr. Rick, MD :

Of course, if you have any other symptoms or problems get in to see your doctor just to be sure.

Dr. Rick, MD :

Dose this make sense to you?

Dr. Rick, MD :

I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. You may also receive an email survey after our chat, if you don’t feel that I have earned a “10” rating in all areas, please let me know what I can do to meet your expectations.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick MD FACS

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John,
Dr. Rick, MD : Hi. Dr Rick here. I completed an Internal medicine internship in NYC and have two decades of clinical experience. How can I assist you today?
Dr. Rick, MD : It sounds like you might have cracked a rib.
Dr. Rick, MD : Unfortunately, the treatment for a cracked rib (which I have done myself a time or two over the years) is taking it easy and allowing it to heal.
Dr. Rick, MD : You can wrap it you want as this might help with the pain, but it will still hurt when you cough.
Dr. Rick, MD : If it doesn't hurt when going about your daily activities I'd just leave things alone. If you wrap your chest too tight, you run a small risk of restricting your breathing and, maybe, causing a pneumonia to start.
Dr. Rick, MD : So. What is the take home message? This will heal fine with time. Be patient, Grasshopper :)
Dr. Rick, MD : Of course, if you have any other symptoms or problems get in to see your doctor just to be sure.
Dr. Rick, MD : Dose this make sense to you?
Dr. Rick, MD : I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. You may also receive an email survey after our chat, if you don’t feel that I have earned a “10” rating in all areas, please let me know what I can do to meet your expectations.
Thanks in advance,
Dr. Rick MD FACS
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thanks for the info

Should I get an xray to determine if it is a cracked rib?

My spasums have a lot les pain that last Wed. when I fell.??

Nancy,
Actually cracked ribs are very hard to image on xray. The diagnosis is usually make with on clinical exam and history.
From what you have posted I do not see any need for an xray.
I hope you feel better soon :)
Don't forget to mash the positive feedback button for me...the one labeled "excellent" is the most fun to push by far ;)
It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke -- I'll still be right here to continue helping you, but, as I do work for tips, I want to make sure you are happy before rating me.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

How long does it take to heal and how long did you feel the spasum when you were injured??

Could a good massage dr. tell if it is a cracked rib or just a pulled mussel?

Nancy,
The time it take to heal varies a lot and depends on the extent of the fracture, how much the break moves when you breathe etc, how often you re-injure it etc.
In my case I flipped a 500 pound snowmobile over on myself at about 50 MPH and slid across the ice a bit... I think I broke 3 or 4 ribs. Like a good Male of the Species (even more bullheaded due to my medical education) I just suffered with it.....for about 5 weeks until, one morning, I noticed it didn't hurt anymore.
Does this put things into perspective for you?
See the pretty Excellent feedback button? Don't be afraid. Give it a little push. You'll like it.....Trust me, I'm a Doctor ;)
Have a good day.
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, MD
Dr. Rick, MD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 11,453
Experience: 20+ years as a doctor. Internal Medicine Internship in NYC
Verified
Dr. Rick, MD and 87 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
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Don't let a massage doctor or chiropractor mess with it......
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hi

I like your humor

Final question Is there anything I can do to make my left side feel less pain?? and what should I avoid.

Jaquisi, ibeprobin, heat ointment, ace bandage, cold pack, sleep on left or right side

I'll recommend you to others and also your legal service.

Nancy,
Tylenol....
Just try to take it easy. If it hurts, don't do it.
Hold off on your Golden Gloves sparring sessions for a few weeks.
From the list you posted sounds like you are doing everything right.
This will heal. Patience, Grasshopper.....
Dr. Rick
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Dr Rick

Is there anything I should avoid in my list of treatments??

Sorry I forgot to tell you that I fell 8am Wed. but didn't feel any pain until 2am Fri. 2 days later. Would this indicate more positively weather it is a cracked rib or just a pulled muscle??

Thanks for your help

Nancy,
Usually a cracked rib would hurt sooner than that....but you might have cracked it partway through at first and then broke it all the way while sleeping..
In any event, the treatment is about same:
1. Stay away from chiropractors who what to mash on the area.
2. You can do all the things in your list of treatments, but the ace bandage may not be necessary.
3. Like Kane on Kung Fu: Be patient. :)
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Dr. Rick, MD
Dr. Rick, MD
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Satisfied Customers: 11,453
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