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Chest pain due to broken rib - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 351 Questions
User :   Hi, i am a 25 year old male, 182cm/6ft1" tall, 76kg/150lb. I woke up this morning with a pain in my chest, specifically, my upper chest. It feels like a cracked rib, but I've checked, none is to be found. The pain is bearable, only when I in/exhale fully it hurts. Should I consult a local docter in the weekends or can it wait?
Doctor :   Hiu,
User :   Hi
Doctor :   Is the pain increasing on moving the arms apart ?
User :   I've worked normally today, but it hurts when i lay on my back or on my right side
User :   no
Doctor :   is the pain continuous ?
User :   not really
User :   only when i lay down or when I in/exhale
Doctor :   ok, do you have cough or history of cough ?
User :   no
Doctor :   ok, its just a muscular pain
Doctor :   it will go off on its own
User :   some sneezes, but no pain when i went to sleep
User :   and when i woke up, it felt like a cracked rib, which i've had more than once
Doctor :   or you can fasten its recovery by applying Diclofenac gel over the affected area
User :   hehe, standard stuff
User :   just toughen it out :)
User :   thanks doc
Doctor :   i dont think its a cracked rib because , its a very pain ful condition and will get aggravated on moving the arms apart
User :   I agree, since i can't feel a broken one
User :   no problem
User :   but, last time I broke a rib, it hurt the same
User :   i saw that
User :   that is why I came back
User :   but breathing is a bit hard, when should i call the doctor here?
Doctor :   i agree , since the itercoastal muscles will get into spasm when the rib cracked the pain will be as you have now
User :   ah
Doctor :   but along with the muscle pain you will be having bone pain which worsens on abducting the arms
User :   when should it be over and when should i seek further treatment?
Doctor :   I suggest you to apply the gel for now , if it do not come down then meet a doctor
User :   yeah, I have a high threshold for pain, last time i cracked a rib i still played 60 minutes of soccer
Doctor :   you can wait for 2 to 3 days
User :   i discovered my cracked rib when i was home
Doctor :   ok, did you get an xray last time to diagnose ?
User :   no
User :   there isn't much you can do
Doctor :   how did you get that diagnosis of cracked rib ?
User :   i've noticed it myself
User :   i felt the bones
User :   and since you can't treat it, i've just gone on my way
Doctor :   a xray image is must to diagnose the cracked rib
Doctor :   you might have felt the costochondral junction as the crack
User :   well, if you feel the rib being in two, that's a diagnosis
User :   and when the week after you play soccer again and feel it snap again, it's definately broken
Doctor :   no, its a very painful condition
User :   as I told you, I have a very high threshold for pain
Doctor :   that snap could happen at the costochondral junction
User :   I've walked 2 miles on a broken calcaneus
Doctor :   no , i do not agree, the rib fracture is a very painful condition and its an emergency
User :   no it is not
User :   i've broken my collar bone 3 times, and I went to the hospital, they told me it is not an emergence
Doctor :   every rib will have a neurovascular bundle running under it , any fracture will tear the nerve and cause severe pain
User :   breaking it is better than bruising it
User :   pain wise
Doctor :   ok, I still consider an xray would be a better proof for the fracture
User :   thank you very much, maybe we'll talk again sometime
Doctor :   sure
Doctor :   you are welcome
User :   bye
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