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Pain in the ribs from an old fracture. Will ice packs help with the pain?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
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my son broke all his ribs in 2007 and he still has pain from them. can he use ice packs to help with the pain?
Posted Thu, 21 Jun 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 9 hours later

Thanks for your query.

Yes, using ice packs will inhibit the pain moderately but does not serve any purpose in healing.

I suggest you to get the affected ribs imaged by a high resolution Xrays and find out the exact cause of pain.The causes may include non union or inflammation at the old fractures.

Planning on permanent management would be the best option here.Do go for the test and get it treated.

Please accept my answer with a review if you do not have any doubts.

Wish you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Pain in the ribs from an old fracture. Will ice packs help with the pain? 44 minutes later
So there is a possibility that the ribs never healed properly? I have heard that a broken rib can cause you trouble the rest of your life is this true? Can inflammation or non union be successfully treated?
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 9 minutes later
Hi again,

Thanks for writing back.

Yes, there are possibilities where the healing in the ribs is not complete.This is attributed to constant shearing tension in the ribs during respiration and upper limb movements.

Yes, as I said malunion or non union is commonly encountered in rib fractures hence they could cause problem in future or all the time.

The inflammation can be easily treated with anti inflammatory drugs but the non union has to be assessed well to know the needed management which may range from immobilisation to surgeries.

Wish him a speedy recovery.

Please accept my answer with a review if satisfying.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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