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rib pain

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    Posted: Jul 08 2008 at 3:17pm


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Posted - 02/15/2006 :  12:27:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had some problems with a really bad cough and it cleared up about 2 1/2 months ago. I ended up straining my rib muscles in the process of coughing and am still having quite a bit of pain. I know rib muscles are really difficult to heal, so I'm thinking that going to a doctor would be a waste of money, but still part of me is worried that something more serious is going on. I feel like it should be healed. It's the lower portion of both of my ribs that hurts. Mainly, the pain is just when I push on them or stretch...or sleep on them I guess. Just wondering if there is anything I can do, or if there is anything I should do to help them heal...or if something else might be going on. Thanks...


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Posted - 02/15/2006 :  15:23:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Many people often irritate or strain the muscles located between the ribs(internal & external intercostals)with forceful coughing. Sometimes forceful coughing could result in a fracture of the ribs as well. Other times forcful coughing could lead to inflamation of the area where the ribs attach to the sternum. This is called costochondritis and can result in pain in the region of where you are pressing on.

Do you have pain with breathing- particulary with forceful inhalation or exhalation? During quiet breathing, the predominant muscle of respiration is the diaphragm. However, during exercise, many other muscles become important to respiration. For example, during inspiration the external intercostals help expand the rib cage to allow for more air intake, and during active expiration the abdominal muscles and internal intercostals assist with helping expel the air. If these muscles are irritated, you will often present with pain with forceful breathing or stretching out.

In your case it is difficult to asses the cause of the pain without further examination. However, you do display signs and symptoms consistent with an intercostal strain. Usally through time you will feel better. As far as what to do, I would use a hot pack to help relax the muscles and promote blood flow and healing. I would also just do some GENTLE strethcing by sidebending your trunk from side to side and rotating your trunk to side to side. If it hurts a lot then you are stretching too far. Also a gentle massage to the area with lotion can help as well. If you take anti-inflammatories this might help as well (Please consult with MD before taking any medications) Give it some time and if the pain persists definitely see your physician so that he/she can rule out rib fractures etc. If you are really concerned about it, then see your physician immediately.

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