I'm not a doctor but…
Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
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Managed to break/crack/fracture a lower left rib about 9 days ago... 2nd last day of two-week beach holiday, attempting to surf for first time ever (and imporess my wife and two daughters) - result was predictable really...
Anyway, 9 days later, its still sore. Can walk around OK, deep breathing is fine - laughing/coughing hurts a little, lying on my left side hurts a lot more (making sleep a bit of a challenge). Seems worse in the mornings when I wake up, but it never 'goes away'. Haven't tried cycling yet, but I'm a bit scared too as I don't want to make it worse and set it back any more recovery-wise... Haven't worried about seeing the GP - seems like there is nothing they can do recovery-wise anyway, unless other symptoms appear (eg. risk of a punctured lung, etc)
So - any anecdotal recovery tips for someone with a broken rib? Basically, I'm going to just give it another week of no training of any sort, to give it a chance to get on the proper road to healing. Taking Caltrate Plus to boost my calcium, vit D, etc, intake to help with bone healing (for what its worth). And driving my wife crazy by tossing & turning when I sleep....
My blog: http://cgradecyclist.blogspot.com/
I hurt my ribs, left side in a minor dust up with a car. Same deal as you but I don't think there is a break, maybe a fracture or who knows... the only cure is rest.
Plan to get it looked at mid next week when I have time. Difficult sleeping as when I roll over it is like a knife going in. Get it looked at by GP and scanned just for peace of mind.
Still cycle commuting but just easy pace, no out of the seat side ways action and having to bite my lip when I get overtaken. Laughing hurts, but as you say I can breathe deeply, and jsut being careful not to hit it off anything.
Sucks but thems the breaks.
I hit a car 14) days ago and fractured 4 ribs and a trivial transverse process fracture of my T6 vertebrae... Got back on the bike the next day, and felt pretty good, with some voltaren and panadeine coverage... Pai got worse rather than better after a couple of trips in a plane so ended up having a week off the bike... Back on yesterday without too many issues... Back hurts more than the ribs but much better than a week ago....
Be guided by your doctor, but if u have stable or trivial fractures, be guided by your pain... Good pain relief is the key for fractured ribs...
Are you sure it is the rib & not the cartilage in between ?
You don't actually need to answer that because having damaged both during 20 years of rugby, my experience is that it doesn't make much difference to the pain nor to the treatment.
The worst thing you can do is overdo it. In this regard pain is your friend, or more importantly the absence of pain - anything that doesn't cause you pain is unlikely to slow down your recovery.
If like Sydguy, you can cycle without pain, go for it. If it hurts, listen to your body and stop.
As for sleeping, have you tried a pillow or 2 behind you to stop you from rolling onto your back & over to your left hand side ? Personally I was quite happy to take pain killers & anti-infamatory drugs esp to help me sleep, but your personal philosophy on this might vary.
when I broke my ribs a few years back (MTB 12 hr race), my riding partner was also the doc that diagnosed the broken ribs (also race manager for that race). his recommendation was to keep riding, gingerly and gently over the following weeks and just be careful. no sprinting or hard rides, just take it easy and let pain be my guide. much like everyone else has said. just listen to your body and be guided by what it says. if it hurts, back off, if it doesn't, keep going.
Building more roads to prevent congestion is like a fat man loosening his belt to prevent obesity.
- Lewis Mumford
Riding will encourage good ventilation of the lung, especially in areas close to the fractures. Collapse or under ventilation of such areas can predispose to infection/pneumonia, so keeping up exercise within reason is important... If that's not possible, adequate analgesia to allow deep breathing and coughing is a must...
I hurt my ribs water skiing a few years ago. I saw my GP and had x-rays, which showed I had cracked a rib when I fell across my ski. Unfortunately, there was no treatment except painkillers and rest. I reckon it took about 6 weeks before I could cough or laugh without too much pain, and about 12 weeks before I could comfortably resume active exercise.
Giant TCR 0
Nobody looks back on their life....and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep !!
Only thing I can suggest beyond what has already been said is: Sleep on the couch, park a pillow in front of yourself and you can't roll over. The side benefit of course is your GLW gets a good nights sleep.
London Boy 29/12/2011
Expect moderate pain for 4 weeks, then it should ease off.
There's a rib taping technique that eases pain considerably.
There's multiple viscera at risk - lungs, adrenal glands, kidneys, spleen, etc - depending on which rib broke and fracture type.
I've recently recovered from what sounds very similar to OP injury from MTB. Followed by a terrible flu which left me bedridden for days. Anyway, the combination of busted rib and an unstoppable cough is just awful. Very happy to see the back of it. After I got over the flu, still rode the roady, but laid off the MTB for a couple weeks.
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'12 Avanti Cadent 1.0 (Roadie)
'13 Specialized Secteur Disc (Commuter)
'04 Giant Yukon (MTB)
Dr_Mutley's advice is spot on - good pain relief is key. You need to be able to breathe (and cough if necessary) without pain. You can try Panadeine, but if that isn't enough go and see your doctor, if you haven't already, and get a prescription for something slightly stronger.
As already suggested, put something behind you as a bolster so you don't roll onto your side.
Thing is - I was tole that rib/cartilage damage always play up.
I broke a couple of ribs (left side) plus a bit of cartilage damage in a snow skiing accident around 10 years ago (who put that tree there!?)
Was sore for a week or two - but healed eventually. However, It still gives me some twinges every now and then, particularly if I do something to impact that area (like last week when I was swinging on monkey bars with me nieces, or rowing a boat, or shoveling sand/concrete/soil.
My hints - don't much about on kids play equipment, use boats that require rowing or do any physical landscape labour and you'll be fine!
Interesting Andy how different people recover differently from injuries. As best I can remember I cracked ribs & damaged rib cartilage on 4 or 5 separate occasions, but have never had any trouble since. Wish I could say the same about my shoulders & back
The ribs vs cartilage idea is interesting. Not sure which I have, I am assuming its a small fracture in a rib, but I'm not a doctor... I'll have to see if I can work it out based on symptoms, I'll give Dr Google a workout...
After two weeks, the pain level seems to have gone down a full notch, which is a relief! Still hurts, but at least rolling over in bed is not so much 'painful', just 'sore', if that kinda makes sense... Have avoided the pain-killers to-date - I'm not against them per se, just try to avoid them unless I really, really need them...
Might go for a short, easy spin on the weekend and see how I go...
My blog: http://cgradecyclist.blogspot.com/
I've cracked quite a lot of ribs when I was kart racing, ended up having to give the sport away as it became a re-occuring injury.
There isn't anything you can do, just time will heal them. Try not to cough or laugh too much and I'd be weary of putting yourself in a situation where you could have another accident ie. stick to the trainer until the pain has mostly resided. Depending on how much damage is done that could be as quick as 3 weeks or as long as maybe 8 weeks based on my own experience.
If you seriously HAD TO RIDE, you could look to buy a rib cage protector. They'll strap your chest up tight which would provide some support. I don't know how they work for a lady but the company who made the one I had was Tillett
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I broke 5 ribs 3 years ago in a motorcycle accident, doctors said I should take my age, multiply it by weeks and that's how long it will be painful for. Hmm 51 weeks, it's still sore 3 years later. Good luck, so long as there are no sharp edges in there you will heal quickly.
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